Hey, You, Get off my McLeod…and skiing in June!

A rare rainy weekend here in Colorado. The girlfriend and I wisely decided that maybe backpacking at 10k-11k when it is snowing and high 30s/low 40s may not be the best idea. (And up to half a foot of snow at that!).

A nice weekend instead to catch up, buy someone a nice light pack at the local used sporting good store (less than 3 lbs with a real frame!) and to bother the world wide web with my inane words from what I did LAST weekend.

National Trails Day was last week. I believe in giving back and like to the equivalent of one week of volunteer work a year (good..but can always be better. ) National Trails Day is an especially good day there are plenty of projects to choose from, there is frankly good schwag and a local brew pub provides that wonderful post trail work recovery drink of beer! Plus, it gave d-low and I a chance to sign up our better halves without getting them too upset.

The chosen project was a continuation of a multiuse trail worked on last year at Betasso Preserve. Unlike last year, they shuttled all the workers to site and it made for a much easier day for all involved.

At the site, the rolling hills were green and abundant with many early season wildflowers.

We hiked about 2 miles to the worksite on the trail we helped to construct last Fall. Sweet!

 

The day went well. Lots of good company, nice views and some good cloud cover to keep things cool.

 

 

I’m always amazed at how after a whole day of trail work, you can see the results. A nice little legacy that I hope to continue to use in the years ahead.

D-low is a bit aggro in this photo….

We hiked back, enjoyed some delicious Oskar Blues beer and promised our better halves we’d only drag them on trail work once a year. (But, since I am the volunteer equipment director [1] for the Blue River Century..guess who is working an aid station that weekend? )

[1] I own a pickup truck is what that means!

 

On Sunday came the ski for Mt. Toll. My buddy Mark and I have been talking about doing this classic Spring ski all winter. The heavier snowfall in the Indian Peaks lent itself to an early June ski (yes!). We were going to go two weeks ago, but was afraid the snow dump that week made for avalanche conditions. So, we went last week instead…and boy was it great!

It is an equipment intensive trip: Teleskis, poles, iceaxe, helmet..and carrying it all up a closed road via bike! The 6am start at the trailhead (4am wakeup!) also made for an interesting day.


I do not suggest biking up with all this gear at 10k feet!

After biking up the closed road, we threw on skis and was amazed at the amount of snow at the relatively lower elevation of 10500′ or so in the trees.

Though, anywhere exposed to the sun (like Mitchell Lake) showed spring was on its way.

 

We continued to make our way up and glad we had skis rather than postholing in the snow!


That’s Mt. Toll to the left. The ‘ramp’ down is skiable..but not by me!

We made it to the bench, ditched our skis and climbed up the summit and enjoyed the views. The glissade down was awesome! At the bench, I threw on my skis and away I went.

The snow conditions and the angle of the snow frankly made the skiing just a notch above my ability level..but it was a great place to practice with wide field (so I can do my Mack truck-like turns!) and really enjoy the scenery around us.

Half-way down the slope!

 

 

We made it back to Blue Lake and I pulled out a Fat Tire I packed in. Mmm..beer.

 

Made it back to Lake Mitchell, went through the really now-mushy snow filled with hordes of new snowshoe tracks and then biked DOWN to the waiting car. IT was fun…and many of the other skiers/snowshowers we saw on the closed road all had the Gee! I wish we thought of that idea!” look.

We went to a local brew pub and enjoyed a pitcher of beer.

A great last ski until December. Bring on the backpacking!

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