I was contemplating a ski on Skogan pass today, but kept right on going when I reached the village turn-off. After 4 days of being ill, my lungs protested the 625-metre elevation gain. I opted to continue on to PLPP, and a good choice it was. The temperature was a little cooler and the wind wasn’t blowing so fiercely.
I decided a 270-metre elevation gain would suffice for today, by sking my all-time favourite loop including Whiskey Jack, Tyrwhitt, Elk pass, Fox creek and Boulton creek. It’s hard to believe I haven’t skied this loop yet. On the other hand, there’s been so much else to choose from, and I know that conditions for the remainder of the winter will be excellent in the south end of PLPP. Goat creek, Ribbon creek, you never know how many opportunities you’ll get.
There’s been about 4 – 10 cm of snow on the trails depending on elevation, but the tracks were in great shape with the exception of lower Whiskey Jack where there were a few pine needles.
I hope my younger days of recklessness and revelry(which ended a couple years ago) haven’t precluded my chances of getting to heaven. If that isn’t asking enough, then I’d like to go one step beyond just ordinary heaven, and ask to spend eternity in xc ski heaven. I think today’s ski trip was a taste of what it’ll be like.
I used to look at the climb up Whiskey Jack as a bit of an annoyance, but with age comes enlightenment and perspective, and I now look forward to it. It’s no longer just a conduit to the ultimate goal of reaching Tyrwhitt with all its enchanting vistas. I’m appreciative of the fact that I have the ability to ski up this magnificent trail with such wonderful snow.
The rewards along Tyrwhitt are worth ten times the effort that it took to get there: The beautiful meadows with their fluffy pillows of snow, in stark contrast to the deep dark forest where the bears are sleeping only metres away in their dens(I hope they’re sleeping!). Surrounding mountains shining in the distance. The moose who occasionally makes an appearance. Skiing beside the tracks of a grey wolf who also used the ski trail as the path of least resistance, as she searches out her next meal. Some of the last unspoiled wilderness on this earth. We truly are the luckiest beings on the planet to have this at our doorstep.
I always linger too long while up here. I can only use one pole because my camera is in the other hand most of the time. I stopped at the picnic table for a snack and took the snow temperature. The thermometer indicated -6°C. The Swix VR45 was giving excellent grip. At 4 pm I finally reached the top of Elk pass. The sun would be setting in 35 minutes, but I know that on good conditions it only takes 30 minutes to get back to the Boulton creek trailhead.
Elk pass to the Fox creek junction is about 4.4k of downhill, broken only by a few brief instants where you need to go up a small incline. Fox creek was in excellent shape with good tracks. You know you’re having fun when you can double-pole the entire distance of Fox and Boulton creeks, while dodging spruce and pine and negotiating tight turns that overlook the freezing waters of said creeks.
As I was making the last turn to the parking lot, I saw it: New corduroy. I did some scouting and saw that it was heading up Packers. I would expect the north end trails are being groomed as I write this.