Tuesday, November 19, 2013

November I Remember

November. It's that choking, wheezing, coughing fit, damn-it-I-knew-it-I-should-have-plugged-the-block-heater-in-last-night-please-start-you-goddamn-piece-of-junk-hunk; winter.

Sometimes it just seems to purr to life, but most the years I've lived up here, November has not been a glorious time, especially in her early part. Some years I think, snow up high, accessible on weekends, helps to soothe the pain of the oft hard and frozen but yet snow-less low-lands where we dwell.
Well, we got snow, up high, and a whole heap of it. In 24 hours Hatcher Pass saw a near record dump two weeks ago. Lizzy and I, along with an assortment of other idiots, tried to get the goods as they accumulated that sloppy Sunday. The road to Hatchers was a mess though, thick, doughy snow, heavy and wet on top of glop mixed with car raisinettes. I barely kept the Suby from turning into a raisin too, and we instead tried to ski from down low, but only the hardy (see Jack) managed to penetrate the impenetrable alders and climb into the whiteout.
Skiers and snow revelers rejoiced though. Good skiing would be had when the fresh blanket settled its tired bones and stopped sliding.
For those who skied the mid-week window, they were the lucky few. On Thursday came the warm, the wind, and the rain.
Hatchers was glossed with a 1/4 inch crust from parking lot to ridge line.
47.75 inches of blower pow, 0.25 inches of thin crust. Tragedy.

The snow fell in far more moderate portions over Anchorage, and Hillside picked up 7 inches, more than enough to put in some excellent skate skiing, and snow biking - did I fail to mention that I got one of those? Ya, I had a melt down about life goals, ski training, fun and enjoyment, yadda-yadda. More on that topic some other time.

Welcome sight. Near full moon and a snowy forest in Far North.

After the warm up, clear, cold, high pressure moved in.

No need for a head lamp night skiing at Independence Mine with Lizzy on Thursday night.

Dan and I investigated the rain crust near Independence on Friday. We made two laps and found OK turns on steep enough, sheltered terrain, but were unimpressed. It was good to get out. Wax-based classic skiing on Archangel Road was the winning ticket for the weekend. Swix V05 Polar is my favorite kick wax.

If dogs could talk, Lana would tell Dan: "Told you so." Despite there being more or less 4 feet of snow, she did not like this stream crossing. Guess we know why. I helped by taking pics.

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