Friday, March 4, 2011
Snowmobile excursion to Spicer, Union and Utica
Camp Connell, CA. -- Twenty years ago my friends Ralph Coley and Alan Christie would cross country ski from Highway 4, high in the mountains above where I live, into a trio of reservoirs miles off the highway.
Their annual adventure included hours of slogging along, often in bad weather, sub-freezing temperatures and camping in the cold wet snow. I was tempted, but declined, preferring the comfort of a lodge's roaring fire.
Today, courtesy of my neighbor Bill Minkel's snowmobiles, I retraced their trip in about 30 minutes in reasonable comfort. Our biggest hazard was sunburn.
Sorry Alan and Ralph, but it was a lot easier this way.
(Notice the stop sign which normally stands eight feet above the ground.)
Bill and I met at his house, had a cup of good coffee, hooked up the trailer for the trip up the mountain. The hardest work of the day, with one minor exception, was getting the trailer free from its bed of snow.
Bill managed to flip his machine on its side, but the snow was soft and it was not a big deal.
The forest roads into the reservoirs are not plowed, but they are groomed like a ski slope to make access easier for snowmobiles. We wandered around in the frozen wilderness all day and saw six other people, plus forest service folk digging out directional signs.
No cross country skiers were anywhere to be seen.
Lunch included a nice white wine from Indian Rock winery in Murphys, and a view to die for.