Monday, January 27

Light Pollution: A Kentucky Skiing Adventure

Composed yesterday, but not posted due to technical difficulties.

The story goes that the hunter chases the wolf across the sky.  Orion is the constellation I most often identify, and almost always start out looking for on starry nights.

Early in the day yesterday I took off on my cross country skis.  We had about six inches this morning as snow kept falling from the sky.  I took a whirl around the partially complete mountain bike trail.  It was a fun time out.  Mandy came later after she finally couldn't take it anymore.  She caught up with me as I sat trying to clip back into my bindings after walking a while through the snow with my skis over my shoulder.  The trail isn't finished.

Last evening we got back in near sunset after Bean's birthday party (she's just turned 7) and the kids wanted to go out sledding.  I dragged the skis out once again.  They're relics from our life in Colorado.  I'd never have bought them while living here.  There's just never enough snow.

I wanted to bring them when we moved because I knew the few opportunities we'd have would be worth it.  We'd turn a few heads for sure.

"Why they got them boards strapped to their feet?"

Anyway, the kids and I made a circuit around the pond behind the house.  I ventured out on the ice.  At one point I was twenty feet from shore and there was absolutely no cracking.  It was seriously frozen.  In my defense I gradually progressed onto the ice where I knew the water is no more than waist deep.  At the first son of cracking I would have retreated to land.  There was never any cracking.

We stopped in to see my grandparents at their cabin as dusk settled over the woods.  Mamaw made us some hot chocolate.  Once we'd warmed up we took off back toward home by starlight.

The kids detoured to the house and I dropped into the front yard for a good solid glide through the dark.  Over the icy road and then I took off across the fields toward Buzzard's Roost.  Orion stood on top of the summit looking down and bathing the blanketed fields in pale silver light.  

I skied around the original Chainring homestead under the stars.  It was sublime, being out in the middle of a snow covered field (actually the one depicted in my header foto, but in reverse) under the night sky.  And so I had to mentally edit out the suburbs that have infiltrated the fields I once had to myself?  There's still enough space to get out and see the stars.

I took full advantage of the conditions.  I was hoping to get out onto a ridgetop and ski this afternoon but the temps are into the low 40s and the snow has turned to slush.  And so I have to keep my eyes peeled for the next cold snowy spell and maybe we can go ski Hatton Ridge or the Short Creek Rim, or Tunnel Ridge Road of Chimney Top Road.

And I'm sure Jefe has groomed his mountain bike trails for skiing.  There's always that.

We actually know another guy in the county with XC skis.  There may even be more that we just don't know about.  The high country of southeastern Kentucky or Virginia or North Carolina is close enough for some skiing fun.

I'm thinking as I work on building new trails to keep in mind the rare skiing opportunities we have.  Why not?

1 comment:

  1. Good on ya for strapping the boards to your feet. It's interesting to ski in non-traditional areas like Kentucky or Tennessee. Something we don't get to do too often.