Sunday, February 24, 2013

Cabin Creek Cross-Country Skiing 2-19-13

Younger son had the day off school on a Tuesday and I had just come off a 60-hour work week.  The weather didn't look too iffy, in fact it turned out rather nice.  What could be better than a day of cross-country skiing?

Off we went eastbound over Snoqualmie Pass to I-90 Exit 63, the Cabin Creek Sno-Park.  This is a popular cross-country ski area that usually gets crowded on the weekends.  Today, there were only a handful of cars in the lot.

The Cabin Creek Nordic Ski Area has a network of groomed trails ranging from beginner to expert.  The ski area is maintained by the Kongsberger Ski Club and the trails are groomed by Washington State Parks.  Kongsberger Ski Club regularly holds races here.

Today younger son and I did the easy road trail out and back for two laps for a total of six miles.  We had clouds and peeks at blue skies.  The weather was warm for this time of the year, maybe mid to high 30s.  The snow varied from soft to crusty depending on where the sun hit or didn't hit.

We also had taken the opportunity to outfit ourselves in new skis and boots from the big winter sale at REI.  I had been skiing for over 20 years on a pair of Epoke 1000 skis with Rottefella three-pin bindings and a pair of made-in-Italy leather boots that were about a half-size too small.  I plan to mount NNN-BC bindings on the Epokes because it's still a fantastic ski on and off track. 

I picked up a pair of Fischer Jupiter Control skis that for the price will make a pretty good track ski.  In fact, they worked out just fine for in the tracks and I even was able to skate on them in the skating lane.  The boots are Madshus CT100 and fit my EEEE foot comfortably the whole time.  I'm set now for casual days in the tracks.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Bob Heirman Wildlife Preserve 2-18-13

It was the last day of the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) over the long President's Day weekend.  I was holding on to my third place in the Snohomish County bird count with a good chance for second place if I could score more species here at Bob Heirman Wildlife Preserve at Thomas' Eddy, maybe even a Trumpeter Swan.  This is a gem of a Snohomish County park located on the flood plain of the Snohomish River set aside as a wildlife preserve.

When I arrived here on a President's Day Monday, I was the second car in the lot.  I had the whole 340 acres practically all to myself.  The main trail, a wide gravel path, takes a straight shot down from the upland lot directly across the floodplain meadow to the Snohomish River.  I veered left on a path leading to Shadow Lake, one of two oxbow lakes within the park.  Returning back to the main trail, looking right to the other smaller oxbow lake, Robins Pond, I spotted a male Common Merganser, a beautiful duck, almost all white, with a dark green head and bright red bill that I often see on swift moving rivers, not quiet ponds.  Duly noted and a new one to my GBBC list.

Where the main trail encounters the river, the trail divides in two opposite directions, a lesser used trail following the levee upriver and the other more heavily used following the levee downriver.  I followed the lesser trail for a short way then doubled back and took the trail leading downriver.

All in all a nice day.  I added a few more birds to my GBBC list, no Trumpeter Swans, but I did hold on to my third place Snohomish County bird count in the end.

The main trail

 Shadow Lake

 Snohomish River

 Map of Bob Heirman Wildlife Preserve