Unfortunately, Mother Nature was not very generous to us skiers, boarders, sledders and snowshoers in December. Finally, on Jan. 1, there seemed to be enough snow to go cross-country skiing. However, I was indecisive. I wasn’t sure how the coverage would be until I got on the ski trail, so I considered my other option — skating at the Tupper Lake Civic Center. I wanted to exercise for at least an hour, and not knowing how well my ankles would endure skating for an hour, skiing was my choice. Once dressed in layers I gathered my skis, poles, and waist pack, which contained my camera and water bottle, and headed to the Tupper Lake Golf Club to check out their groomed cross-country ski trails.
The wind picked up as I neared the golf course. The trailhead and registration station are right next to the parking lot to the left of the pro shop, so in a couple of minutes I was tucked in the corridor of trees, well protected from the wind.
It took no time for me to warm up! The trail actually had more snow coverage than I anticipated and I was thrilled! I noticed Tiki torches along the trail — I can’t wait to see them glowing during one of the full moon events. They will certainly aid people in finding their way and add to the ambiance. This section of the trail was recently added. It is wide and flat for awhile before it goes down a small incline, across a bridge, up an incline, back onto the golf course and then back into the woods to another intersection, where you can go to the firepit or to Cranberry Pond.
Left or right?
My plan was to do the Cranberry Pond Loop, so once again I crossed a bridge, skied through the woods and came to a Y. At the Y you can go either left or right to do the Cranberry Pond Loop. No matter which way you go, you will go up one hill and down another. Also, no matter which way you go on this trail you can access other trails.
The great map
The trails are well marked with signage including well-made maps with each trail indicated by a different color. A number is on the map, showing you exactly where you are.
I really got into just enjoying the solitude and beauty around me. There are remnants of foliage, colored leaves and golden bushes topped with a small layer of snow and a small bubbling brook not yet iced over due to our higher-than-normal temperatures. I heard only the sounds of my skis and poles and the wind rustling the trees. My thoughts were of how much I was enjoying this moment in time and feeling blessed to live in such a beautiful area. I saw footprints of small creatures here and there — how I would have loved to see a rabbit, but I only saw their tracks.
At the Y I went right, and in no time at all I made a left up a hill to remain on the Cranberry Loop. The hill was not a hard climb, but I did use the herringbone technique for a short distance. To do the herringbone, point the tips of your skis out to each side in a V-shape and press the inside edges of each ski into the snow as you climb.
Now...down the hill!
Once at the top of the hill, I again headed left across a flat area for a short distance. Upon reaching the top of the next hill, I mentally and physically prepared myself. I am a downhill skier but I am not as confident about going down hills on my cross-country skis, so I moved my skis into the snowplow position. I really didn't want to fall! I pushed off and slowly went down the hill, once I was down the steepest section I gained courage, pulled my skis together and got into a tuck!
On my way out I encountered a friendly dog, followed by his owner Nathan Shaheen and his companion Katelyn Dorey. I took their photo and a photo of their dog, Colden, as I did not want him to feel neglected. We had a good laugh as he was not as cooperative as they were. It took many shots to finally get his face; he was too busy checking out the woods. Lynn King Malerba then came gliding my way, smiling from ear to ear. She said she grabbed the last hour or so of daylight to get out and have some fun!
Firepit area looks inviting!
Upon leaving I chose to take a different route so I could check out the firepit area. The firepit area is right near the pond but sheltered by surrounding trees. The open area has a fire pit, grill, picnic table, stack of wood, Tiki torches, and a few logs so skiers can sit and relax with a favorite beverage and snack. It is a perfect winter picnic area!
Perfect start to the new year!
I skied past Cranberry Pond and could see Big Tupper, also known as the Adirondack Club and Resort. I can't wait until the ski area opens for the season so I can ski some of my favorite trails! I skied toward the golf course and headed across the course and to the left to extend my outing. I took my time enjoying the views and last bit of daylight and thought to myself, this is a perfect way to begin 2016!