Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Skiing Breckenridge New Nordic World

The boys slept in this morning, i.e. when I made the wakeup call at 7:30, they requested another 30 minutes. They did get going shortly after eight. Joe was doing his morning toilette when I suddenly heard him call my name. There was something in the tone of his voice that made me think "emergency." Being afraid of mayhem or illness I was relieved to be greeted by I flood of water emanating from the overflowing toilet bowl when I opened the door. Joe had attempted to undo a blocked toilet using the brush, with no effect. Furthermore, the valve was stuck open and water was still flowing from the tank. I made him turn off the valve and had him use the bathroom rug to mop up the water, wringing it into the shower.
Part of becoming a man ...
I do hold him in high esteem to have done this unpleasant job with only as much as some gagging noises. A call to the rental agency got maintenance and housekeeping on its way. The whole thing ended up being a minor annoyance over what I had thought might be the stomach flu or a severed artery.

The boys were gone and I followed soon. I had called the Nordic Ski Center to inquire about grooming on the New Nordic World trails. I was told that the pisten bully was just on its way. So I went and checked out Mellie at the kennel and headed for the Peaks Trail parking lot, also the trail head for Gluteus maximus and minimus, the connectors for the Heavens Gate and Elk Dance trails. I started with two locals who were doing a quick run with their friendly golden retriever. I left them behind and began ascending Gluteus maximus. After about 100 m (which seemed to also involve an ascent of 100 m) I decided I would be in way over my head following this trail. I ate crow, took off my skis and slid back down to the intersection with Gluteus minimus, a narrow single track combined classic and snowshoe trail. I decided to keep walking. Some returning skiers reassured me that Gluteus minimus would soon join the maximus to terminate at Heaven's Gate. I am pretty sure I know why they call it Heaven's Gate, it's up-up-up. On top of a pass I spotted Hallelujah Hut, indeed a sight to behold.
You gotta be kidding? Up that way?

At the hut, I also joined my friends of the golden retriever and then took a break. A woman with four dogs came towards me and we chatted for a little while. It turned out that she was from Minnesota, too, but came frequently to her second home in this area.
Trying to get Mellie back into the backpack at Hallelujah Hut

After a short rest I kept climbing, made it past the cut-off (I did not have the taste for the full Elk Dance loop with, what the MN woman called the "nasty (down)hill." Some more climbing and I reached the intersection between the return legs of Elk Dance and Heaven's Gate loops.
Up, up, up, to the Heavens' Gate
Only now I fully appreciated the extent of my climb, the downhill seemed to go on for ever. I again carried my skis on the short Gluteus minimus stretch and did the final downhill towards the parking lot. In hindsight it might have been a better option for me to park at the Otter Slide parking lot I could have skated the entire way and avoided the parking competition from the (illegally) parking downhill skiers and boarders.

I returned Mellie, who by now seemed to feel quite at home at the Dog House and also knows the routine. I took a quick dip in pool and hot tub and received a picture message from James, who with Joe and Matt had hiked up half an hour to the very top of Peak 8 to do some more off trail skiing. Looks like that boy is taking after his dad!
James and Joe on top of Peak 8--and the world!

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