|Photo by Jenn Roberts|
After my Nome plans unraveled, we decided to make it happen again, despite the lot of us being somewhat to far more decrepit than we were four years ago.
Obviously I was in the hiker camp. While the other three went cross-country skiing on Bennet Lake, I conned Jenn into joining me on an unbearably slow snowshoe slog. It was a late afternoon start in temps around 0F with a fierce wind (from which we were mostly sheltered, thankfully.) We climbed toward Montana Mountain, skirting the relics of an old tramway from the Mountain Hero mine. Jenn described mountain biking this trail in the summer, descending tight switchbacks at breakneck speeds. She said she'd never really noticed the features — thick iron cables strung across the trail, rusted mining carts, and two-story tall wooden towers that were in incredible condition for being more than a hundred years old. It was a lovely afternoon, with hints of turquoise light escaping through sucker holes in the clouds. We watched snow swirl through sunbeams as the forest thinned and views opened to the wind-swept lakes below. I am an advocate of sub-2mph travel.
|Photo by Jenn Roberts|
Eventually I was breaking trail through knee- to thigh-deep heavy powder. It was real thirsty work, but I love this type of physical activity because it's satisfyingly strenuous without too much strain on my heart or lungs. Jenn didn't seem to mind too much, but I don't think she realized that we'd slowed to something closer to one mile per hour. She'd describe a place that she was certain was a few minutes away, and we'd slog and slog while it never arrived. We'd long since lost the "trail." Finally she casually mentioned that it was 6:30 p.m. I was stunned — we'd been at this for three hours, going almost nowhere. I suggested we turn around so as to not get stuck out after dark, seeing that we'd already secured being late for dinner and possibly worrying our friends. The irresistible draw of the slog strikes again.
I couldn't even figure out why I was so stressed out; I was just so upset. My whole body was reacting negatively with a racing heart, tremors, and blurred vision. I tried to work through it with a short ride on the local Whitehorse trails. They were barely broken out — often only a tire-wide ribbon with soft and deep edges. I crashed a couple of times, which only made things worse.
Still, it was fun while it lasted.