Thursday, February 23, 2017

Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!

After two years of scant snowfall in Homer, warm temperatures and poor winter sport conditions, many folks are reveling in the snow.  At the same time, we have been complaining about the snow, like last week when Homer got dumped with 16" of wet, heavy stuff in a day. The plows are dashing about town and our backs are aching from shoveling. Sometimes we disclaim the bellyaching with "I'm not complaining," as if saying something bad about the weather will make the snow go away. Really, we don't want it to go away. We love snow!  As I came off the snowshoe trail this afternoon, a lady was heading onto the trail with her skis. This stranger gave me a big smile and said effusively, "Aren't we lucky?!"  And thinking about snow makes me chuckle at the thought of a bumper sticker I saw in town last week:  Snow makes me horny.

Miles of bike path in Anchorage become a multi-use winter sport path in the winter
Last week I was in Anchorage for a conference at the Hotel Captain Cook, which is a favorite of mine because it is only a couple blocks from miles and miles of bike paths along the shore. I'd never been in Anchorage when the snow on the path was good, so I didn't realize quite how amazing it is:  the bike path is groomed (it seemed like daily when I was there) for cross-country skiing, with a single track and skate track. How cool is that?  I could have brought my XC skis to Anchorage, walked out of my hotel and skied to my heart's content.  I didn't have skis, so instead I walked.  Which was still cool, to hang out with mom's pulling their kiddo's in sleds, fat-tire bikers, walkers, runners and of course the skiiers.

The Homestead Trail with lots of fluffy snow

Sunshine and skiing--what more could one want?!
Upon returning to Homer (having missed the 16" of snow--my poor husband having to shovel it all by himself!), I headed up Baycrest to Roger's Loop, a 5 minute drive from town. It is my favorite trail for skiing for it's convenience for a quick spin around the trails when I don't have much time. It has been 3 years since there's been enough snow to ski here--good snow.  That lack of snow is why the Sea to Ski run-bike-ski race has been cancelled the past couple years.  As you can see--it's gorgeous! (Snow makes me horny!).

There is indeed a trail hidden under that dimple in the snow

My hard work pays off in a nicely stomped trail
As I'd skiied the Homestead Loop I noticed the snowshoe trail hadn't been opened up, having been snowed over. It was awaiting a hardy snowshoer with the conditioning to stomp down over a foot of snow. I was feeling ambitious and helpful, so got out my snowshoes over the weekend and headed to the Homestead snowshoe trail, which roughly follows the summer Homestead Trail route. Whew! That got my heart rate up and the sweat pouring! My legs were quaking with fatigue and although I'd hoped to stomp the whole loop, I didn't make it. I figured the next person out would be able to take it a little further.

Sunshine and warmth
Today I was able to make the whole loop. There was yet more fresh snow; I've snowshoed three times this week and it has been fresh snow to break trail each time. Today the temperatures soared to 37 degrees, rivers of melting snow ran down the roads, and on the trail it felt like and sounded like it was raining from all the snow melting off the trees (be sure to turn the volume up when you watch the video below so you can hear the melting snow!).

Spring sports start in Homer next week. We're making our guesses as to how long it will be before the soccer, softball and baseball teams are playing outside (a month, at least). But then this is 'normal', and the past two years were a fluke, so we're back to being the snowy north, for now!