March 14, 2011

Ship Creek without a Paddle

Arctic Valley to Indian Ski Trail:  mountains and streams, sun and snow, skiing and friends.

Oh yea, pain and suffering.

MK, TK, BettyJ, Geno, Kruser, Doc and yours truly started our 20-mile trek with an ignominious track which failed to meet expectations of a pleasant alternative to the main trail.  With some effort, we completed the alternative track, and made our way to the valley floor on the hard fast track of Ship Creek Trail. 

'Wrongway BettyJ' went right instead of left (not a political statement) at the 5-Mile/Ship Creek Trail unmarked Y.  She kept her bearings and meandered back to the Ship Creek Trail to Indian, and we soon regrouped.
Then, BettyJ proceeded to demonstrate her prowess for freeheel skiing steep narrow trails.  While some flailed, and others walked and carried skis, she skied fast and controlled. 

Up Ship Creek we skied through forests of spruce and birch, hemlock and cottonwood toward its source in the alpine country.  Trail was smooth and skies were clear.  And ice was thick... enough. 

We had not seen snowfall in nearly four weeks, but trail conditions in the valley were excellent, and we found a nice ski track along the creek.  We were happy.
Team Outtabounds (minus TK)
Our entire party of seven were riding Fischer Outtabounds, terrific skis for the Arctic Valley-to-Indian traverse.  Our varied binding system and boot combinations all worked reasonably well, but the telemark boots/3-pin bindings with cables worked best on the steeper, icy trails. 

The Indian Creek Trail was like a luge run, icy with banked turns and very challenging in a few places.  Geno ripped it with gusto and led us to the end of the trail.  And, we all survived another A-to-I tour and very happily made it to the Indian Trailhead.
Photocredits:  TK & Kruser

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