Sunday, February 08, 2009

Heiberg Forest, Tully

Yesterday morning, Cliff and I packed up for a XC Ski outing to Heiberg Forest (a part of the SUNY ESF campus) in Tully. I have visited Heiberg before but only in the summer, and only the 1-mile nature trail. I recently bought the book Snow Trails: Cross-Country Ski and Snowshoe in Central and Western NY, and they had an extensive trail map for Heiberg so I thought, "What the heck? It's not that far." I was only worried that the trails would be "unbroken" and I didn't want Cliff struggling through the drifts. I figured if we couldn't find a broken trail, we'd just head over to Highland Forest and ski there.

No fears, it seems many skiers and snowshoers had come through before us. There were a few snowmobile trails as well which were nice to follow, and although we occassionally heard them, they never came close enough for us to smell the gas or have to move off the trails. Just off the thin packed ski trails though, the snow was deep. I mean... DEEP. A few places I jabbed my ski pole down and the snow almost went up to the handle. Other places Cliff quickly learned to stay on the trail unless he wanted to sink LOL.

Farther in the forest, the snow wasn't as deep and Cliff wasn't as scared to venture off for a good sniff.

Temps were lovely, low 30's but unlike our warmer venture at Bear Swamp last week, the snow didn't stick to my skis. It was nice just to wear a sweater.

Snowmobile paths along an unplowed road through the forest:

It was an absolutely gorgeous winter wonderland. Gorgeous. The forests were secluded and ethereal, and the vistas we saw skiing along the meadow edges were breathtaking.

Okay... I fell several times. SEVERAL. And the snow was so deep off the thin packed trail, that when I fell... I seriously had a very hard time getting up. Once it took me close to 5 minutes because I fell with my head facing down a hill and my legs all up a kimble and I couldn't get myself scooted around and up. And once, I fell and was able to get my skis off, but the drift I had fallen in was so deep my feet couldn't touch the ground to get purchase to heave myself out. Cliff, being the Lassie that he is, just stood and watched me with this, "What the heck are you doing?" look on his face. I couldn't even cajole him to come over close so I could use his body to pull myself up. No way. Uh uh. He stood on the packed trail a few feet away and let me figure it out myself LOL.

A pond, frozen over:

How to ski with a greyhound: Belt the retractable leash around your waist and look like an idiot. Works, though:

Home, james!!

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