Thursday, February 7, 2008

I Have Found Heaven

For a cross-country skiier, few things are as delightful as good snow, well-groomed trails, some people on the trail (but not too many) and a convenient location. I have found cross-country skiier heaven, or at least something very close to it!

There are 3 complete cross-country ski trail systems around Homer: one is by our kids' school, the McNeil Canyon trails, then there are trails at Lookout Mountain, and more heading out of town towards Anchor Point. All are impeccably groomed for both skating and classical, with a nice mix of hills and flat. There is no fee to ski and no pay post. It has been years since I've ski skated because in Gaylord where we lived there were no trails groomed for skating unless you count golf courses and downhill ski areas, which are not my type of skiing. Now Aurora never wants to classical again since we got her skate skis for her birthday and she has skate skis with the XC ski club at school.

The very best part of skiing here (besides 3 great trail systems and awesome grooming) is the views. Depending on which trail we're on there are stunning views of the mountains across Kachemak Bay, the bay itself, Mount Redoubt towering above Cook Inlet as well as expanses of tundra and what in the summer is unhikeable bogland. There is a labyrinth of trails so there's plenty of variety and we can take short loops for a quick ski or long loops for a trek.

On top of the great trails, there are also groomed and marked snowshoeing trails, which I have dreamed of, but never seen. There are people out on the trails, but not so many as to feel crowded. Some people have old wooden skis with cable bindings while others have the flashiest new gear. Everyone just comes as they are and are comfortable being out there.

The only thing more I could ask for is lighted trails, because the reason it took me this long to discover them is because it got light so late and dark so early and the window of opportunity each day was slim. With lengthening days and 2 weeks of sunshine we finally discovered more trails.

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