One more time

It’s about 50 miles from here to Leominster State Forest. Gas is $3.40 a gallon. I was there yesterday. But I can’t stop thinking about going back today.

When a coworker told me that the backcountry skiing at Wachusett was still viable after our first warm-weather rainstorm of the season last weekend, I immediately thought of Leominster. I love the park year-round for skiing, trail running, and mountain biking. And, in summer, a nice after-sport swim. Last year at this time I went there to meet my sister-in-law for mountain biking expecting mud but found there was still enough snow for skiing. Fortunately, I had skis on hand. Strangely, I skied in bike shorts. I loved every minute of it.

Wanting to repeat history, I crossed my fingers and put my skis in the car yesterday, when the temperatures were going above 40. I watched the snow levels in yards along the way closely, noting its depth increasing and bare spots becoming more rare as I drove through Princeton and Sterling. My bet was that the trails in the well-used park would be packed solid and less likely to have melted.

My calculated gamble paid off in spades. Leominster had plenty of snow. Thanks to the snowmobilers who aren’t supposed to use the park, the trails had been packed and were still solidly covered… mostly. The sun was warm on my back while the air coming off the snow cooled me. The skiing was awesome, with this caveat: the rainstorm had knocked a lot of small branches down. I had to decide, upon descending a fast, hard-packed hill, if I wanted to risk hitting a branch on the way down and get yanked out of my skis.

the hills were fun, but the branches littering them worried me

There were only about 90 minutes to ski before I had to head back to reality. It wasn’t enough time to dally in the sun and explore all of the trails I’ve come to know. But there’s another spring storm coming at the end of the week that will further erode the snow on the trails … things were dicey enough when I descended one of the fun big hills only to skid to a stop before hitting this stream. Should I have tried jumping it? Hmmm… that may be reason enough to go back and try again!!

I may try jumping this stream rather than let it interrupt my downhill glide ... next time

Out where Wolf Den Road meets Hell’s Highway — just before the hill that’s a real glute-hammer — I found this gorgeous sight: icicles on branches spanning a gurgling brook, the intersection of winter and spring. Bittersweet? I don’t know. I’ll think about it when I’m back there in a month or so on my bike.

a sign that the skiing will soon be over for the season

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One Response to “One more time”

  1. Giulietta Nardone Says:

    Been meaning to hike in LSF Alison. thanks for the reminder. Will get there as soon as it warms up enough for my ever cold toes.

    Sounds like you had a lot of fun on your skiis!

    j.

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