Sunday, January 6, 2013

Wind Farms, Stars & Bars, and oh so Sweet William

I wanted to get the most of my Sunday morning and wanted to be wrapped up around noon so I decided to save some gas and lift fees and earn a few turns instead.  I got a surgical strikes worth of gear primed Saturday night so I could just jet early Sunday.

very much digging the Flylow Oven Mitts so far

I hit the road early and then hit it again about 10 mins later after having to loop back because I forgot my boots.  TRAINED.  Not many people out and about early on a Sunday morning.  In fact it was just me and this guy driving a yellow truck flying a huge confederate flag, with a large Mike's Hard Lemonade decal on the tailgate.  It was amazing.

I'm sure he'd love to chat about how its all about State's Rights over an ice cold Mike's HARD

I wasn't really sure what to expect upon arrival.  This area isn't very far lost quite yet but as I drove up the access road things got pretty funny pretty fast.  Like Jersey barriers blocking the road funny.  Not really sure what the point is, you can just drive up the condo driveway and still get right to the top of that road and the base of the resort anyway.  I wasn't really sure what the safest place to park was going to be, luckily there were two cars who had beaten me there so I just lined up next to them.

I didn't waste much time in the parking lot.  I'm not really sure what the mentality is with this area...the bank has some pretty large signage on the old lodge that basically amounts to 'no recreation on the premises' but it was pretty apparent later in the day that it gets used in some way shape or form by many of the condo owners and other folks skinning up quite a bit and nobody seemed to be trying to be sneaky.  It kind of seems like nothing is really being enforced its more of a if something happens you were trespassing sooooo thanks for stopping by type policy.

There was a decent enough little skin track set and a dusting of new snow at the base (which turned into about 2in by the summit).  Early on I was feeling it but I just needed to get warmed up.  I got into a groove and was moving fairly well.  I layered ok, I was overheating just a bit but I was able to open up some vents and take my mitts off and found a good middle ground.  The skin up took about 45-50mins but I could probably do it faster.  I was taking a few pics and double checking the map to make sure I wasn't going a stupid way and making it longer than it needed to be.

 the little bit of fresh got deeper with more vert

skin track toward the top

The new Groton wind farm is on the ridge just off the back of the mountain and it was really cool to see the turbines so up close.  Several of them were turning and it was cool to hear what they sound like from that distance.  I would say it sounds like hearing a jet liner at cruising altitude from the ground.  Just a somewhat subtle whirring engine sound...kind of soothing in a way.  None of my pics really did it justice, they were much closer than the pics really show.

I made a pretty good transition at the top and kept my temps pretty well regulated.  I'm getting more and more efficient with changing over and its a bit easier when you don't have all that much gear.  It was weird to see how fast things deteriorate and how quickly nature takes things back once they aren't being maintained.  The patrol hut was pretty busted and the double looked pretty ragged.  It was cool seeing the old signs and remembering back to when we road here for a few years.

I had planned on 1.5 laps so first run I went over and got on the pitch just above the old triple.  There are some glades over there but I was a bit worried about coverage and being solo I didn't want to venture in there and get grabbed by something but they looked fairly decent looking in from the edge.  Another 8-12 and I'll be back for sure.  I decided to just hop on one of the trails over by the glades, no one had gone over that way and I was getting some fresh turns.  The puckerbrush has fairly well taken over many of the runs there now.  This trail wasn't too bad.  Just keep your speed and your hands up.  A bit more snow and many of the runs will be much more manageable.  It was a great run despite getting whipped a bit and I stopped at about even elevation with the top of the triple and transitioned to head back up to the summit.

At this point I had passed a group of 4 right before my first summit and I passed another group of 2 as they were about to summit on my first descent.  For my second full run to the bottom I decided I would head over to the trail we probably spent most of our time on when we rode here regularly.  I don't know where everyone else was riding but the traverse was untouched.  Apparently having a few years here and knowing the lay of the land is paying off.  The traverse was pretty annoying in untouched deep snow but I got over there without too much issue.

The top of this run were probably my best turns this year.  Almost knee deep, barely any puckerbrush and a nice pitch for about 200yds.  Unfortunately the last and steepest pitch of the first part of the run was really over grown with some serious over your head face whippers.  That part was a bit touch and go but I plowed through and things opened up once again for the last few pitches down.  There were a few other spots where it was a bit overgrown but if you stayed to the edges you could avoid most of it and the snow was deep and the pitch was good.  It was a great run all in all and with a bit of trimming it could be a classic 'must-get' when its deep.

I AM EXCITE for more days like this in the coming weeks...


  1. Anonymous1/06/2013

    wicked jealous! Is it worth it for me or should we go someplace more established for my first AT adventure?


  2. I guess it would be a decent first outing. Never that far from the car / civilization etc. A bit easier to get several varied laps. But I wouldn't get too hung up on the first time, just get in there wherever there is.

  3. You hiked up a closed mountain and illegally skied on untouched trails through brush taller than you and didn't film it? Why do you even own a gopro?

    (other than to take 3 hours of video of a kitchen at thanxmas)

  4. my laptop has a real hard time handling HD footage nowadays. So taking any is kind of a waste cause I won't want to deal with editing it anyway unfortunately.

    But if my dedicated readers are screaming for vids thats a good motivator...

    1. haha. well, 1 guy who occasionally reads and forgets you even have a blog half the time thinks a video of this would be cool. is that good enough?