Summary: Easy ski trip, South side of Calgary.
Distance of trip: 5-6 km (est)
Time taken: 2hr
How to get to the set in point: South on Elbow Drive which terminates at the Voltier's Flats parking lot
Skiing partners: Terry C.
Weather Conditions: Clear sunny, little wind -20 Deg C
Trip rating: Good, Very nice for a trip in the city.
"Map is from a trail post on in the park.
"Map is from a trail post on in the park.
Today was the first time in close to 20 years that I've gone Cross country skiing. Feels like I've missed out for that time.
Earlier this week I'd gone over to a friends house, so he could go with me and buy some skis for me. However when I got there he handed me his and said 'they are yours'. He used to ski all the time when it was just a matter of going out his back door. However since moving to Calgary 7 years ago he has never gone out.
I mentioned the skis to a co-worker, and we made plans to head out Sunday for a short trip. the location would be Fish Creek Park. Terry hopes to bring his 14 yr old son. So there will be three of us. It could be an embarasing day, It's been a long time since I've been on Cross country skis.
The run today is in Fish Creek park. This is a park that is inside the city limits. It is a pretty large park, running down to the Bow river.
The day is a crisp -21 Deg C. Bright Blue skies. The parking lot is almost empty when I arive. There are 4 or 5 cars in the lot. I'm 10 minutes late, and no sign of Terry. I briefly wonder if he and his son assumed I was a no show and took off without me. However as I'm changing into my ski shoes Terry pulls up. He is alone though, so it will just be the two of us.
I finish changing, incuding taking off the ski boots, putting on a fleese underware, and a shell over top, my fleese pull over, and my jacket. Topping that off with my toque and mitts I should be nice and warm.
Today putting on the skis. I managed to break them. My boot was not all the way in the binding, and when I snapped it down the side of the binding blew off. sigh. The clip still held down a bit, and we were only doing and in town run so we set off anyway to see how it would go.
Niether of us really know the park, It has been years since Terry was last here, and I've only seen the lower end of it. Today we head down to the creek, off to explore. For once Clagary has enough snow to actually ski, although not a lot, There seems to be a good base and a few inches of relatively new stuff. Tracks have been made over the last few days as it has been falling.
We quickly come to the creek, and make the decision to go up the creek. Good. this is the first time I've gone that way and that makes it much more interesting. We follow the trail parallel to the creek for a few hundred meters. the ski seems to be doing okay, although there is a fair bit of slop in it. My heal does not always come down nicely on the ski, and ski seems to wander a bit. But not bad, it seems to be holding up. We discuss it a bit, and I comment I can always walk out if it breaks, so onward we go.
The creek is mostly frozen, and we have no problem skiing on it. It is nice and flat, no foot prints in the snow just the trail from previous skiiers. Some one has cleared off small section of the creek. Perhaps for a ice skatting rink. After passing over this we come to what looks to be a small beaver dam, or just some piled logs.
Here I stop to take a picture of the open water, and Terry just out ahead. A older couple is on the trail up on the bank debating weither to come down onto the river or not. The wife is adimate that she is not going down and risking falling through the ice. I make a comment that the creek is only a few inches deep, and her husband points out that no one else seems to be having problems. I'm not sure if they went or not. As we continued on, Terry muttered somthing about the frustration of dealing with people that will not do somthing due to irrational fear. I could not agree more.
The houses overlooking Fish Creek park high on the banks look like they would have a fantastic view out the back yard. One day, maybe. On this stretch I start to loose my ski from time to time. The binding just can not hold it on well any more. I'm trying not to really kick the ski up, just working along at a shuffle.
We come to a bridge with what looks to be an easy way up. We decide to head back. We are about 3km out as the wolf runs on the trail. As Terry crests the ramp up to the trail he calls out that there is a deer in front of us. I try to get a good picture of him. Backing over the bridge we realize that there is infact two deers there. Very well camoflaged in the the bushes. In fact after taking several pictures we see the third deer. We had skiied right past these guys. The picture on the left is looking back the way we came from the bridge, there are two deer in this picture(botom, right quarter of picture). To the lower right is a picture of one of them, taken from a different angle (and zoomed).
Going back along the path, we deel with the mix of ski trail and foot prints. Still pretty good going for the skis though. Terry spots a dead duck on the side of the trail, guess he should have flown back earlier, food for the cyotes now.
Taking a corner after coming down off one of the many arching foot bridges, by binding finally give out. The pressure on it from taking the corner is to much and it explodes sending the lever flying into the trees.
however there is still a 'knob' there and I can hold the ski with it as long as I don't lift my leg, and we go more or less strait. the last km or so continues to go well. I have to walk once in a while, but that's okay. I'm impressed with how much faster it is to ski though.
Back at the car, I take off the toque and notice the hoar-frost on it from my breath. A Ghost white coating on the fibers, reminds me of the pictures I've seen of the old backcontry skiers with frost on their beards. I'm warm and strip off my jacket so I can remoe my fleese, I watch a swirl of steam rise from it. Maybe I did get a bit of a work out today, a very pleasent one. I'll be getting the ski fixed ASAP, so I can get back out again.
One last picture of the two deer.
Copyright Myrl Tanton 2005