Tuesday, January 27, 2009

In search of snow...

Well, we had to drive two hours north to my friend Clay's cabin to find good snow to play in but it was definitely worth it. I like living up Hatcher Pass because I don't have to haul my snowmachine anywhere to ride, I usually just walk outside and go. Since we had 45 degree weather and four days of rain all we have is a lot of ice with about 2" of new snow on top of it. Not much fun to ride in. Clay and I drove up to the cabin Saturday morning and spent the day riding on the east side of the Parks Highway. We rode over the mountains closest to the highway and into a big valley that is the head of about three or four rivers. The area was huge and the riding would have been great except it got cloudy and the light got really flat. Riding in flat light is about the same as riding in complete blackness. You are on a canvass of complete white and you can't tell if you are going up or down and can't tell if you are about to ride over a ledge or into a cornice. It causes a feeling of vertigo. On the way out we ended up having to cross a huge (about a mile across) patch of alders. If you haven't ever experienced being in the middle of an alder thicket I'd have to compare it to maybe being in a field of corn or a bamboo forest. Maybe not quite that extreme but close. Going into it I saw what I thought was a nice line through it but once inside I lost that line and Clay decided he didn't care for my trail finding abilities. Once out of the alders we played our way back to the cabin and called it a night. Sunday morning didn't start out looking too promising as my head and stomach were none too happy with how much I drank the night before. Had it not been for the fact that we drove two hours to get there I'd have gone home and gone to bed. Every time Clay said "You don't look so good Ty" I'd just get up off the ground and hope I didn't really look as bad as he made it sound. However I knew I did. Since I didn't want to be the one to ruin a good trip I toughed it out and about two hours into it I started to feel almost human. It only took getting stuck once to really start sweating everything out of my system. After my head stopped spinning I was really glad I went. We spent Sunday on the West side of the Parks Highway playing in the foothills of Denali. The snow was really good and the day was great. We found a bunch of ravines to play in and every ravine seemed to have a beaver pond in it. Beaver ponds are great to play in because the dams and lodges make great jumps. We may have disrupted sleep for a bunch of beavers but I'm sure they will survive. Hopefully we will get a ton of snow in the next few weeks but if we don't I expect Clay and I will be making another trip to the cabin in the near future.

Since Clay didn't have a camera most of these pictures are of him...

The Cabin

Clay making his way through the trees

Clay playing under the power line

On the way up the mountains on the east side of the highway

Trying to find paths between the alder thickets

Crown Royal in a Mason Jar; it was much more appealing Saturday night

Playing in the foothills of Denali

Looking up the Ohio Creek Valley

The sun tried to find it's way through the clouds

Clay as we debate which direction we should head

The only picture I have of my sled is when I got stuck. I didn't quite make this incline, but the digging out did help cure my hangover...

The terrain is endless, with a little more snow to hide the alders this would be heavenly

Dozer, Clay's retarded yellow lab

Waking of the beaver

Trying to find a way to the creek bottom

The river banks were a little too steep to get down so we'll have to try a little harder next time...

1 comment:

Gran said...

Glad you're finally getting to ride some. Beautiful scenery pictures.