On December 30, several of our FART teammates and future FARTS arrived at the North Pole in CDA for New Years, and some good training!
Kelley, Jeni, Morgen, Andy, Liz, and Zeb all made it through the lightly falling blizzard just as Dave finished his 3 hours of shoveling, and settled in for the New Year’s Eve festivities. Andy and Austin went up to Schweitzer for a magnificent day of skiing, and Jeni and Dave got out for a great bike ride.
On the 31st, we spent much of the day prepping for the party, except for a nice 4 mile run on the local “skating rink” we call a road. It was a stretch of black ice that the Detroit Red Wings would have been proud of! Andy and Jeni each had received new ‘Stabilicers” that are like little studded tires for your running shoes, and fared better than the rest of us, who would have preferred skates!
New Year’s Day dawned bright(ish) and clear(ish) and after the traditional “Dave Skillet,” Dave, Andy, Morgen, Jeni and Lizzie geared up for a day of outdoor adventure, while Lisa, Zeb and Kelley got ready to do the Loop.
Now, for our outdoor adventure, we didn’t choose just any trek… it was a balmy 29 degrees and just after noon as we headed out.
First we biked to Farragut from FARTquarters through 8 – 12 inches of new, soft snow on top of the black ice, which made for some interesting biking, let me tell you! It took over 30 minutes to ride the 4 miles (mostly downhill!) to the park, where we met up with Michelle and Corey Haustein, who are going to be a huge part of Adventure Week 2009, and are both Ironmen and XTERRA athletes.
After the biking, we had decided to do some snowshoeing, which was new to several members, but didn’t even slow them down!
We started out into the park using the established trails to begin with, and then making s cross-country hike to the head of the Highpoint trail.
It was very interesting to snowshoe along trails that we run and bike so often during the rest of the year: your normal landmarks are muted, and distances are thrown off, but the snow makes everything look like a real winter wonderland!
At the edge of the park, we decided to make our way to Scout rocks, which we had been to countless times on foot, but never in four to five feet of snow! We were warned that if we continued, there were no more directional signs, and no groomed trails, which suited us perfectly, and off we went.
The trail, if you can call it that, is mostly uphill to the rocks for about 3/4 of a mile, and the fact that we were walking was more than made up for the fact that the snow laden branches were now at face level.
Once we got to the base of the rocks, we started our way up the near vertical cliff, covered in feet of snow, with crevasses, roots, and boulders hidden underneath! It was awesome!
After a fairly strenuous climb, we reached the summit, and paused for a few minutes to enjoy a Jet Boiled snack, just as the weather began to change for the worse… the weather report was warning us of an approaching cold front, with accompanying snow, and since darkness was just over an hour away, we decided that no matter how well we were prepared (and we all had substantial packs and safety gear), it was time to get off the mountain.
We dead reckoned our way off the mountain, eventually meeting up with our original trail, and making it back to the ranger station just as darkness arrived!
The FART Support team arrived shortly after, and except for being a bike rack short, all was good… Dave and Morgen volunteered to do the ride back home, and thankfully, it had been plowed, so it wasn’t a bad ride.
Dave cooked up a pasta and lamb chop dinner, the hot tub was on, and by 10:00 p.m., everyone was pretty much asleep!
This morning dawned snowy, with almost 12 inches having fallen, providing Andy and Austin another great day of skiing as the Missoula crew headed home, and Dave started shoveling!
With the weekend coming up, we hope to get in at least one more snowshoe day (hopefully with Lisa this time!) and Austin might get another ski trip.
All in all, a great weekend!
Michelle, Corey, Zeb and Liz will all be great assets for the FART and FARTlette teams next summer… Liz was the surprise of the weekend, as she really held her end up through a couple of tough outings!
Looking forward to getting out and doing some cc skiing as well as snowshoeing… might even combine it with biking, and make it a little winter triathlon next week!
Love having the team in town! I only wish the rest of you could have been here! Thanks to Jeni for the great photos!