Fri, Jan 21 2005 - Cross Country Skiing/Snowshoeing Wknd I (View Original Event Details)|
|Participants:||Jesse Allen, Dave Kulansky, Stacey Kittner, Chris Bynion, Ellen Worthing, chanath ather|
Our weekend got off to a good start with a prompt arrival of everyone at the carpool and Ellen's generous offer to drive all of us in her van, which greatly reduced the number of cars. We were able to get all our gear, food and all, in the back, and then headed off to Canaan Valley. Our drive was uneventful, though we were a bit baffled by the partially constructed superhighway which appears to be designed to connect the thriving metropolises of Wardenville and East Moorefield, neither of which seemed to be striking destinations to our apparently uneducated eyes. We did tune into the radio on our way in and were thrilled to hear of the impending storm that was scheduled to dump as much as a foot of snow on the region starting early Saturday morning, causing cancellations of the local pot pie dinner (which made us all hungry listening to it) and several basketball games. The cabin was quite pleasant when we arrived and the heat was already on, though we were surprised that Chanath and Stacey, who had left at the same time as us, but from the much closer Vienna Metro station, were not there. They arrived just a few minutes later having apparently had slow service at a pizza place where they stopped for dinner when the traffic got annoyingly thick. Well, at least the traffic had thinned out after they got their dinner!
We stayed up for a short while to discuss plans for the next day, and then headed off to sleep. Since the cabin was designed to take ten and there were only six of us, we had quite a bit of space and no one had to share a bed, though Chris did opt to sleep on the couch.
The projected early morning start to the snow lived up to promise, though we were fortunate that the storm was nowhere near as bad for us as predicted and vented most of its strength on the Northeast. I got up early (as usual) and took a very pleasant stroll down the local road to enjoy the falling snow, then came back and got a breakfast of pancakes, maple syrup, and coffee going while others packed their lunches for the day. Much thanks to Dave for being such a self-starter and getting everyone else into the lunch packing and saving us that much more time. Breakfast did get off to a slow start when I failed to realize that "6" was a low setting on the stovetop and "1" was high, so the first batch of pancakes were artfully slow cooked.
Quite unintentionally, this was the weekend of the hot pepper. I brought a couple of food experiments to see what they were like, including a sweet chipotle scone mix and habanero hot chocolate. Our hot chocolate conoisseur, Stacey, was quite curious about the latter and we all tried a few sips and found it quite intriguing. It leaves quite a pleasant pepper aftertaste, or at least that's my judgement which is, after all, a little biased when it comes to hot food. But the entire batch went into thermoses for the day and not a drop was left after lunch!
Packed and ready to go, we all piled into Ellen's van again, with Chris and Chanath generously offering to sit in the back in between the packs on the floor. The van struggled to get up the snowy road as it was a good 1,000-foot climb from our cabin in Harman up to Canaan Valley. But it was the little engine that could, even if we were not breaking speed records on the way up. We stopped at the Highland Inn where Diane and Sam greeted us (I have been renting skis with them for the past several years, and we rented a cabin from them last year for two of our three ski trips, so the Maryland Outdoor Club is known and liked by them). We got our skis and boots and then headed up to Whitegrass for the day to enjoy their groomed trails.
The snowfall made the trails quite pleasant and passable. At first we opted for an easy slope climbing the hills, but part way up decided to step up the difficulty and climbed up a moderate slope trail that was steeper, but much shorter. Further on, we faced an opportunity to take the hard
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