Sunday, February 15, 2009

Souris River skiing

Today I went skiing with my friend Rod and his dog, Buddy. Usually skiing in North Dakota isn't that good due to a lack of snow. This year is different with all the snow that has fallen.

Sunday's weather was good with high clouds, little wind, 8 degrees F, and good fresh snow.

We went skiing at the golf course west of town. Four people had just finished skiing when we arrived. Other than a couple we met at the end of our skiing, these were the only skiers we saw. A trail went around much of the golf course's perimeter and we followed it once. It ended up being a little over a mile long. The trail wasn't flat but it still had less up/down than where I ski in Montana.

On the second go around we left the trail to cross a bridge then go down to the Souris River.

Railroad bridge across the Souris River.

Buddy has a thing about bridges and wouldn't cross over the bridge until Rod and I skied over it. To avoid using the bridge Buddy would go down and up the river banks to cross the river.

The skis I used were ones I had given to my brother a few years ago along with a pair of mismatched poles.  The skis were ones that need wax - which I didn't have with me - so I found downhills to be fast and uphills an effort to not slip backwards.

The skis also were a pain to clip into so I walked sideways down the riverbank to the river while Rod un-clipped and walked down. The snow was still soft and Rod sank deep into the snow on some of his steps.

On the river we were sheltered from the light breeze and this made the skiing even better. The only thing we had to watch out for was the occasional snowmobile that came by. The snowmobiles ruined some of our ski tracks and on our return I had to make new tracks part of the time.

Buddy was in Heaven as he was able to get out and run. And run. Buddy is a yellow Lab and enjoyed the weather. He ran back and forth across the river checking out the tall grass/weeds for signs of wildlife and found none. He also 'marked' numerous trees and branches and I was surprised he could still pee at the end of our journey. Occasionally he would drop to the ground and slide and bury his head in the snow both to eat some snow for liquid and to cool off.

We came to a small coffer dam, and while the river had a thick layer of ice, we discovered some open water below the small dam. We also found the open water strongly smelled like a sewer. Buddy got too close to the water and briefly fell in the water when the snow and ice sank and he got part of his legs wet. We checked him and found him to be fine and so we continued on.

Buddy had lots of energy but a few miles from the end of our trip he was tiring and no longer ran as fast and far. Both Rod and I knew how Buddy felt as we were starting to droop also. I have skied farther in Montana so I put my being tired to my lack of exercise since I arrived in North Dakota.

We spent almost three hours out and about and skiing and had a great time. 6.2 miles total.

The loop is the golf course and the line is the river. The double line shows our return to the pickup from the river after we had done one complete circle of the golf course in a clockwise fashion.

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