Jan 31, 2011…Schweitzer Nordic Trails…
hike # 389
Another frigid day but the sun was out and the sky was bluebird blue. I bundled up…two pair long johns, 1 polartec jacket, down vest and light precip. Three layers on my head. I considered the heavier and warmer pants that are eons old but when I put them on I could barely move so as much as I wanted to give them a try I reverted back to my old standby comfy snow pants. This I would live to regret. Face mask went on almost immediately for the cold…no wind to speak of luckily. Down mittens with two HotHands in each were a must today. It is nice to be able to park near the village now…had we known they don’t charge for parking during the week we would have done it sooner.
Not too crowed today, and not too many little kids to watch before we headed over to the snowshoe trails which lead to the cross country trails. No sooner had we begun when we saw the Nordic trail patrol lady! So funny that now that we have our passes, we see her all the time, and we met her again later on in the day on skies up above. One woman snowshoer headed on the trail ahead of us but we quickly passed her and hoped we could dodge her. I knew she wouldn’t go up the steep part because she had no poles…no way.
Went on the usual runs, including the steep and harder way up to Picnic Point. Took lots of pics, for as long as I could stand my hands being out in the cold. By the time we were headed up Cloudwalker to Wolf Ridge, I began to get very cold, especially my butt. Instead of doing the Wolf loop we walked up the steep run again to the 6-pak chair Stella. It took 45 minutes and when we got up to the top, they were just shutting down, an hour earlier today. While walking up, we took advantage of the beautiful clear day to get some great shots of the Selkirk’s, Seven Sisters Range, and some of the Cabinet Range…we could see forever. My fingers got really cold but I couldn’t pass up these shots.
Finally heading back to the village, I began to get seriously cold, and we were losing sunshine. Every time we came to a patch of sun, I would have to stop and turn my back to it to warm up my legs and backside, which were beginning to get tingly and numb. My right foot also got so cold that I had to keep wiggling my toes as I walked. Getting back to the village as quickly as possible was the plan. The sun was just about completely behind the mountain by now. I was very uncomfortable, and to add to the discomfort, my breath on the face mask was freeing up so it felt like there was an ice cube strapped to my nose. Brrrrr…..
I knew it wouldn’t be that much fun today but I didn’t think it would be this bad. The bottom line is that we probably stayed out a bit too long for such a cold and bitter day and I need warmer pants and a spare or two extra face masks, both of which were ordered the next day.
Left home 9:50Started up 10:30
Headed up run to ‘Stella’ 2:15
Got to ‘Stella’ 3:00Got to truck 3:50
Total miles hiked 7-8 miles
Total hiking time 5 hours, 20 minutes