Not The Same Thing

It was just yesterday that I was skiing back in to finish breaking out the Nugget Creek Trail loop and experiencing the ecstasy of finally getting far out away from the day-to-day rhythm I had fallen into. It was just yesterday that Equinox and I walked down to the trail and began the three-quarter of a mile ski on the Dunbar Trail to get to the trailhead of the Nugget Creek Trail.

After traversing the first section of trail we ascended the mile long climb to the old mining camp turned hunters cabin known as “Club Chuck”. What took forty minutes to break out the day before took half the time to travel the same miles and a half. The next step was the loop, a fantastic cross-country trail that is just wonderful to experience with the beginning being an arduous climb that leaves you gasping for air as you round the top and begin the flat to gentle down hill portion of the loop.

Fallen trees here and there forcing me to deviate my chosen course around the trunks and continue on an every changing scene. The basic trail remains the same but the line I take is totally different from last year due to the changing of the topography and fallen tree debris buried just below the foot of fresh snow. After breaking trail for the afternoon I was able to casually glide along the Dunbar Trail back to the trail head completely exhausted and get home in time to get ready for work.

That was yesterday, and today has changed the entire landscape of my home to a place I can barely recognize. The temperature had risen well above freezing and it began raining. Starting in the morning and continuing into the day, the rain and warm temperatures managed to melt the snow to practically nothing. This rain froze the roads creating about a two inch thick layer of unbroken ice on the roadways. On top of the ice is a standing layer of water and quite possibly the most dangerous road conditions I’ve ever experienced. I actually attempted to drive my car to the store but after sliding down the quarter-mile hill to the mail box pullout with no traction at all, I turned the car around and gently worked the car back to the cabin and resigned myself to being confined to the area for the next couple of days.

I have heard only a handful of cars drive by, mostly large utility vehicles from the electric company trying to upend fallen trees around power lines and little to my knowledge I would soon fall prey to the falling trees and lose power for the night until morning, and temperatures in the house reaching into the low thirties.

The snow is melting away before my eyes, dirt and mud exposes itself in the translucent layer of snow that still remains in front of my door. With every drop of rain that violently crashes into my fading world I watch the snow slowly melt into the ground, I feel an insecurity growing inside of me leaving me on edge. The rain causes the snow to slide off of the roof creating an enormous thud as it slams with reckless abandon into the ground. In a fit I lace up my boots and throw on a jacket, I need to get out of the cabin and burn off some cabin fever. Gently walking down the sie of the road I run into several other people who live in the area doing exactly the same thing. We talked about how long we’d be stuck at home and where the worst part of the roads are. We laughed at our situation and tried to find the lighthearted side of if rather than complain about the inconvenience. We discussed what the rain and warmer weather is doing to the trails and how the dogs that are used to be running their brains out skijoring or mushing are handling the sedentary aspect of the situation.

After spending a bit of time I was very curious to see for myself what has become of the trails, so I walked down to the trail and into the trees. What I saw left me feeling empty inside with what was before me, the lovely trail was gone. Gone was the carefully groomed mushing trail I’ve been skiing on for the last month, replaced with slush and standing water. We carefully stepped down to the Dunbar to inspect the ice on the ponds and the rest of the trail. More of the same faced me there, with a thin layer of snow that is slowly giving way to bare ice and standing water.

Turning around I head back to the cabin feeling like I’ve been a witness to some tragic event that has just taken place  My dog is indifferent, bouncing through the slush and puddles blissfully unaware of what these conditions mean for us. Back at the cabin I make use of the extra time to be home by baking some bread and picking up here and there. I still love this moment and everything that’s taking place, this is an experience that offers a new perception of this world I live in, even with the loss of my precious trails. It’s not the end of the world, the snow will survive to prosper another day and in just a short time the weather will return to me a wonderful frozen world of familiarity and I will be back on the trails of my reality in no time.


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