Friday, February 1, 2008

Finally we can see clearly now

Wednesday, and finally we can see more than 50 ft in front of us. We were told if you cannot see Two Top, you shouldn't go there. Well today we could see the mountains from town, so we headed up there early, as the weather seems to change at will around here.

We headed up and the trails were awesome. Along the way there was a running river, with the snowbanks next to the running water, was really serene.
We kept on going hitting some freshly groomed trails, and some deep snow

Just before reaching the summit the weather got a little windy and wind blown snow again reduced visibility. We finally made it to the top and what an awesome sight to behold. The view was obscured by clouds and sporatic snow, but the trees were amazing! The snow ghosts of Two Top!

Really breathtaking isn't it? It was like another world up there. After spending some time up on Two Top, we headed down to a local sheep ranch that had a restaruant, but they were closed so we rode another 30 miles back to town and ate in one of the local establishments. Here was the view from our table..

We headed back out after lunch and came across these guys on the trail who had just taken a buffalo. Evidently they are allowed to take them with a permit.

We continued down the trail and ran into yet another herd of buffalo. (minus 1 evidently)
amazing how close they let you get.

After taking a detour into the deeper powder we found another trail and heading down that way I saw smoke in the distance ahead. I thought oh no a forest fire! I rounded the corner and saw this snowmobile engulfed in flames!

After the fire died down, we went on, having to bring snowmobiles back on the last day by 5:00 pm. we were traveling down the trail and ran into a group of snowmobilers, and a single buffalo. Evidently some kids on snowmobiles spooked him, and he got separated from the herd. As we were talking he kept walking toward us geting closer until he was like five feet from the front of my snowmobile!!

That pretty much covers the highlights. Hope you enjoy the pictures, and when you see me I'll have more.
This is more proof that "The Point of the Journey, is not to arrive"!

Different Day Same Snow

Tuesday Morning, and it is still lightly snowing. Not as bad as yesterday. Normally you love snow, but it really puts a damper on what you can see in the mountains. Today was our first day of "free ride" riding without a guide. Armed with GPS, extra gear, and maps we left from the hotel, and almost immediately ran into another group of buffalo. Some other snowmobilers came from the opposite direction saying the trail was blocked by the rest of the herd, so we turned around and went in another direction.

The trails were much better in the treed areas, with less wind to blow the snow. The main trees around are called LodgePole Pine. Here is a sample of the trees.

Here is sample from an area that got burned in a fire in 1988. Devastating hardly describes it, but there was a lot of new growth so that was optimistic.

The LodgePole Pine (Pinus Contorta, Subspecies Latifolia) native to Rocky Mountains, Yukon to Colorado. Evidently they have 2 types of seeds, one which opens as they mature, and one that needs exposure to high temperatures (such as a forest fire) in order to open and release their seeds. Kind of natures way of taking care of itself. Enough science lesson for today :-)

After doing a couple of smaller loops, we headed out to try another, which would give us a little more mileage. We encountered more snow, and more snow. We got into the woods but it still did not let up.

After heading into the woods we got to the point where you could start seeing some of the "ghost trees" appearing, but the winds were blowing so bad we turned back. When we got back to town the snow let up and the town was cleaning up the snow. We were able to watch the massive snowblowers cleaning up the streets.