Thursday, February 9, 2012

Skiing in the Moonlight, well, sort of...

Vespi and I were so ready for the Snowmoon.
We had seen the trails all aglow the night before and were super stoked to get ourselves some night skiing - no headlamp required.



Well, the joke was on us.
I left my headlamp off during the first traverse of our ascent...and instead of a beautiful Snowmoon rising, the sky just got darker and darker. The clouds failed to dissipate and the dark red moon was barely visible in October-like sky. It was eeiry. I even started to get a little bit of the heeby jeebies. The snow covered ground was still visible amidst the naked trrees in the forest, but there was no glow, no stars.
Just pitch black night.
Of course, none of this matters to Vespi.
She follows her nose, left and right across the trail, seeking out things that were not here the last time. No matter where we are, she knows. She has somehow been here before. She can sniff out trail signs, electrical boxes, snowshoes and porcupines, of course.
But we kept meandering around, following some imaginary route that I have actually never done in the winter before. Except for one section where I as sliding sideways down the hill - which would have been great if my skins were OFF - it went pretty smoothly. And by smooth, I mean that the surface under our feet was so glittery and shiny, it was almost...blue.
Eventually, I decided that we had skinned up enough vertical to ski down in pitch black. This is strange, because I talked to some folks who skied Pico last night, and they never turned their headlamps on at all. Anyway, we found shelter from the blistering wind behind a conveniently located slat wall :) where I changed from my softshell jacket into my snazzy new Mittegelli Shell from the Mammut Eiger Extreme line. Sah-weet!
After our private schuss down the mountain, I let Vespi have the priviledge of leading us back to the access trail.
Note to self: Do Not Follow Dog through the Woods in the Dark.
While she did eventually get us back to the trail, she did so by ducking under low-lying limbs, following animal tracks through pine trees and a large snowmaking pipe to nowhere in particular. She managed to make a 15 minute traverse into a 45 minute expedition. BUT, she did suceed in finding the freshest, lightest, most untracked snow available :). Hmm, maybe I should follow Vespi more often.
May You Find the Spirit of the Mountains Within You,
FemaleSkiBum & Vespoli

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