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February 15, 2018: The White Highway: Another Day on the Trail

My day began with me suggesting to Pete that I ski jour with Hrimmi. Although he didn’t have a lot of time, he went along with my plan. We put her saddle and bridle on her, and as well, driving reins. Pete dug out my skis and poles and I located my ski boots. (It’s been some time since I’ve skied.)

We got a lot of snow last night, and the loop had not been plowed, so conditions were ideal. Pete walked Hrimmi, holding poles in hand, and I fell in behind her. She moved out when Pete removed the front reins, which he was using for a lead line. At first she trotted, and then she moved into a somewhat fast canter. Moving

faster is rare for Hrimmi; this was her way of saying she was enjoying herself.

Pete got on her at the corner of Oceanview and Sybarite, and the two pulled me along. Hrimmi moved a bit slower with Pete on her, but it was still fun. We are going to do this some more, making (of course) equipment modifications. We are thinking that rather than use long reins that we might invest in a water ski set up with Pete riding her. This way, I can let go if she goes too fast. I definitely want to keep doing this.

Once I got home, I decided that I wanted to go cross country skiing. The conditions seemed like they would be good – and the weather conditions were ideal – temps in the high 20s, blue sky, no wind. I put Ryder’s harness on her, changed into my ski clothes, put my skis back on, grabbed my poles, and was off.

It was an amazing ski, I have to say the best ever. There was 3-4 inches of powder on the packed trail – and because it was still early, 11 a.m., no snowmobile tracks, just snow covered ruts from four-wheelers. The sky remained blue – there was low-lying cloud cover along the Talkeetna Range. The boughs of the spruce trees were laden with snow – every so often a gust of wind would send the snow on the branches flying – the white dust against the blue sky was mesmerizing.

The dog had a wonderful time once she was off lead. She went at her own pace, never getting too far ahead or falling behind.

I did follow snowmobile tracks for a short ways – there were classic ski tracks on yet another trail. I felt smug knowing that it was very wise of me to get out early because the white highway has been discovered by all the various multi-use user groups. It wasn’t hard to picture – the snowmobilers and 4-wheelers chewing up the trail and the groomer flattening it out. There is something quite nice about being on a pristine trail -- dare I say it? It’s magical. If we get any more snow, I will again get out there early.

Today I fantasized about there being a winter multi-use schedule for the White Highway – snowmobilers and 4-wheelers could alternate with bicyclists and skiers. And horseback riders would have all week and weekends, morning use. Alas, we’d have to agree to this, and it isn’t going to happen.

It was mostly a downhill trek, with one major climb, on the trail going back to Four Corners. If I was feeling stressed and hurried, it would have been difficult, but because I was so relaxed it was an easy (sideways) climb.

Coming up Murphy Road was a bit of a slog, but a beautiful one at that. I did the seven mile ski in two-and-a-half hours.

I ate lunch and then took Raudi and Tinni out on the trail. At 3 p.m. there was heat in the sun, a sign that spring is coming. Both rose to the challenge and, with Ryder, assisted me in packing down the trail.

Lastly, I took Tyra and Ryder for a walk around the loop. Saw a neighbor standing in his driveway, next to a half-barrel fire, drinking a beer. To which I say, to each their own.

Nex: 47. 2/16/18: Olympics as Metaphor in Alaska: Business as Usual

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