The Golf Course trails are in great shape this season!
More and more snow
Lost in the excitement of the famous Ross's Gull -- which attracted droves of birders to Tupper Lake this winter, was the improved skiing conditions on the local trails thanks to our building snow pack.
In fact, on one of my trips to see the gull, I brought along my cross-country skis. Wren and I checked a few places along the lake for the gull - and chatted with other birders who hadn't seen it. The sought-after bird had seemingly vanished earlier that afternoon. So, we called off the search for the gull and headed to the Tupper Lake Groom XC Ski Center trails instead. Not a bad consolation.
In fact, it was a great plan. We may not have found the gull on this trip, but we discovered trails that were in amazing skiing condition.
One of the things I like the most about these golf course trails is that they blend two of my favorite aspects of skiing. First, I love skiing at centers like Mt. Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid where I can work on my technique and move along at a fast pace. But then, I also like taking Wren exploring on smaller trails which wind through the woods where we can investigate the winter landscape of animal tracks and winter scenes together.
The Tupper Lake XC ski trails offer us a combination of both these facets of skiing. I get to take Wren -- friendly and well-behaved dogs are welcome -- and together we get to enjoy the groomed trails!
On the day we gave up on the gull search, the tracks were fast and smooth and I glided along easily while Wren raced me. I can seldom challenge her except while skiing and she enjoys it when I do. The start of the trails previously followed the contour of the golf course - which skiers can still take if they wish - but the system is now improved by beginning in the woods where there is less cold wind and less subsequent snow drifting.
The golf course loop then reaches the Cranberry Pond Trail and begins to wind its way into the woods where it links with Little Logger. Once away from Cranberry Pond, the trails generally begin to climb no matter which way you choose to go, but that offers the benefit of allowing you a fast and fun descent after you have worked hard on your way to the top of the hills.
That's all well and good for me, but poor Wren still has to run to keep up, while I can dash downhill, double-poling if I begin to slow. But she excitedly races ahead of me anticipating each hill as I test the supremacy of her speed. On our first trip we did just that, and after climbing up Little Logger Loop we dropped down one hill after another. No worries, I slow down now and then in order to avoid overworking Wren.
A different, slower-paced trip
After the fun we had on that afternoon, I've been looking for a chance to return to the Tupper Lake trails. So, when an appointment brought us back to town, I planned ahead and packed my skis and camera. This outing was different than the first - we took our time, stopped more, and snapped photos of the snow lying heavy beneath the trees and upon the boughs of the conifers. The sunny day had made the snow sticky and slow anyway, so it was a good chance for a leisurely ski.
Once again, I have to say these trails are great because they are conducive to both speed and exploration, and this day was more about the latter. Here and there we stopped to consider the tracks of snowshoe hare, red squirrel, or red fox. I admired the view of Cranberry Pond against the white clouds and blue sky, while Wren nosed her way through the white snow which stuck to her black face like crystalline sugar.
And then we climbed the hills to let us race our way to the bottom. We also saw several other skiers out on our second day - everyone was happy with our recent snow and they were clearly enjoying the opportunity to play in it. We returned to the parking area perhaps a little less tired than our first trip on the trails this season, but no less happy. We'll certainly be heading back.
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