Monday, March 7, 2011

Ah, the joys of speaking too soon...

I'm a weather weenie. If it's in the sky, follows the jet stream, involves the systematic upheaval of conflicting air masses, dumps precipitation of any variety, amount with or without winds - then I'm interested.

So, you'd think I would know better than to assume the x-c ski season is over because of a recent melt coupled with fairly dry conditions. I was very wrong... For, this past weekend, we enjoyed a full day of steady rains...and then an overnight snow "event" that brought us - by our reckoning - about 15-20 centimetres of snow. Not just any snow, but that wonderful perfect combination of tacky moist and shredded coconut fluff. I know the snow was like that because I shovelled half of it off our driveway while Adam shovelled the other half. But, even as I was dutifully tossing shovel after shovel of the stuff I couldn't help but wonder whether I had unduly, prematurely, jumping-the-gun-style ended my xc- ski season. I had skied 60.4 kilometres this season, a respectable amount I thought. It wouldn't break my heart if I couldn't ski any more...

Then, today, the sun was bright, the winds brisk but quite bearable at this time of the year and the opportunity to ski presented itself in what would prove to be a near perfect storm of awesomeness; for, not only did we receive a really good amount of great snow but we had a new way of getting to the wetlands. It would involve a much shorter distance an earlier start point and, best of all, the chance to ski over top of Hunt Club where we could laugh uproariously at all the people stuck in traffic.

You aren't stuck in traffic - you are traffic.

Yes, it is hubris. No, I don't care.

There is a disused rail bed behind our house. No trains use that rail, well, with the very occasional exception of the odd train car slowly chugging along there for no easily discernible reason. In the ten some odd years we've lived here I think I can count on one hand the number of times I have actually seen a train car (note the singular noun) use the rail. The entrance to this rail bed is a good 400 metres from our door. It would be even closer but for the number of fences to negotiate. But, no matter, if it gets us out skiing, then so what. Besides, a little variety isn't always such a horrible thing, is it?

So, we gathered our skis and poles, suited up and left the house. Within about five minutes and with no car traffic to contend with, we were up on the raised rail bed. We snapped into our skis and were on our merry way on what was, essentially, undisturbed snow.

The rail line itself does continue north and become the one the OTrain uses but we weren't going anywhere near that far. In fact, we were on the rail line for about 600 metres before having to shuffle down, along a line of low growing trees and bushes and then through a wide hole in the pagewire fence. Once there, voila, we were in the Sawmill Creek Constructed Wetlands...and we didn't have to contend with morons who can't understand how a traffic light works or that pedestrians have the right of way when that illuminated little man light is showing or even the copious amounts of road salt the city still seems to think is necessary.

We must have been the first ones in the wetlands since this latest Major Snowfall (note the proper noun status here) because Adam was breaking a lot of the trail. During our venture, we even saw a rat scurrying around and just underneath the snow itself.

We made to the Walkley transit station, had our requisite water break and then turned around and headed back. Once more, we took advantage of the rail bed and ended right back where we started.

So, today, I added another 6 kilometres to my I-thought-I-was-done total and now stand at 66.4. However, today, and I really mean it this time, I'm putting my skis, boots, poles and gaitors away. Seriously. No, I mean it, seriously.

Now, if y'all will excuse me, I had some dental work done today and my jaw's just a little bit sore.


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