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Schweitzer Nordics #434

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Schweitzer Nordics #434


Dec 26, 2011… Schweitzer Nordics…hike # 434          

It was overcast and looked like snow…and it was cold. The traffic headed up the mountain was heavy. Up top, the middle free parking lot was full, and they bussing people up from the lower one. The paid lot closest to the village was charging today and we paid- it was well worth it.  The perfect snow enticed so many to take advantage of these two busiest weeks of the year. Everybody was happy. There was no wind.

‘People watched’ for a while in the village…lots of little ones. So many people. Headed up the cattrack and it was nerve wracking with so many skiers coming down. We stayed as close to the side as we could.  Went all the way up to Stella this time this time for something different. I wasn’t crazy about this idea because I didn’t know how we were going to get down the steep Zip Down run. The six pak lift was very busy, with just about every chair filled. People watched again for a while then began to ski down a short distance till we said…no way. Took off the skis, strapped them to Jim’s pack and we walked down the side, again staying out of the way. The bottoms of my over boots are dangerously slippery and I could barely walk. We wrapped some straps around my feet for more traction. That worked for a while but then they began to slide off…luckily I saw it happen and managed to retrieve them. Then almost down, I did slip and fall down. It hurt.

Finally down to Wolf Ridge, where we put the skis back on, did the loop, ate lunch and had hot chocolate. Skied our way back to Cloudwalker and the rest of the trails. I could not believe how many people we met today on the X-C trails…more than we ever have. We usually see no one. Again it was tricky staying out of the way, and at one point as I was skiing slowly down on the side, a guy skied down fast passing on the left side of me, and scared the you know what out of me. I and yelled loudly ‘Ahhh, you scared me’! He said ‘oh, I’m sorry’ three times as he whizzed past. I turned around and looked at Jim and he just shook his head. He thought that if yelled to warn me, I might make a move more to the left and the guy would have crashed into me. A short time after this, Jim fell.

As we approached the last and steepest hill on this run, I prepared myself to do it well and not fall. It began well but then I picked up speed and while in the snowplow position was going way too fast. I could not stop no matter how I did the stopping V-position. Then I got wobbly, lost control and fell down hard. This one really hurt my back and shoulder. I took one ski off and got myself up. I can’t keep falling this much…next week I might just go back to snowshoes. Jim came down very cautiously sideways…this is where he fell last week. Got ourselves back to the village where night skiing was in progress…it was now dark at 4:00. Winter at this time of year at the 48th parallel, darkness begins at 3:30.

This was the last hike of the year…a total of 434 hikes this year and 380 miles. Not as high as other years…we missed twice in 2011. Total miles in 8½ years… 3,885 miles.

Left home                    9:30

Got to Schweitzer        10:00

Started up                   10:30

Got to truck                 4:00     

Total miles hiked          8 miles

Total hiking time           5 hours, 30 minutes


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Author info

Betsy Fulling Betsy Fulling In 2002, after a bout with cancer and wanting her energy back, Betsy Fulling began hiking with her husband Jim. Regardless of the weather they go into the high country every week - in eight years, she has only missed five times.

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hiking, Schweitzer Mountain, Wolf Ridge, Stella, Zip Down, Cloud Walker

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