Sunday, April 24, 2011

Bogus Basin Storm Tour

Its been a foggy, snowy/rainy drizzly week and this weekend was no different.  Even with precipitation everyday, there is just a slight accumulation of frozen, or not so frozen slush on the snow surface.  Even so, once you get away from the roads and the houses, and if properly dressed the backcountry traveling is sublime.  Today, with no time pressures I took a pull behind toboggan out to the Bogus Basin Warming hut, climbing up from Ice Lakes Lodge, approximately following the usual groomed ski trail, except that the trail has not been groomed for over three weeks and has been reabsorbed into the continuum of the backcountry by the regular deposits of precipitation and remolding by wind.  The snowmobile would never make it this far back in these conditions, so my only choice was to retrieve the propane tank, heater, stove ring,  and tea bags by foot - or leave it to good luck that the awakening bears would take no interest in the tea (or molding garbage) and that vandals would bypass the unlocked hut in the muddy months before the kit could be retrieved by 4 wheeler.

On the way up, I followed a very clear and distinguished set of bear tracks - a set that I believe weee left by some sleepy ursine staggering downhill hoping to find some food at lower elevations.  As I climbed more that once I crossed bear tracks heading down the Serena Creek Canyon towards the American River.  These tracks varied from one day old to several days old, as the snow had already begun to fill them in.

Along with the bear tracks were coyote tracks, and rabbit tracks.  The wind was blowing the wet snow/sleet at me the whole way, but I felt happy, and comfortable.  The deep snowpack will long be clinging to these mountainsides, but tomorrow I am to depart for Oakland and "The Green" - escaping this infernal drizzle for some tree and flower pollen.

Yesterday, I accomplished a similar chore at another warming hut, but with whimpy nordic skis on, and a fuller toboggan load, the uneven and at times steep terrain became very hard to negotiate with my awkward cargo in these sloppy conditions. Anyone watching would have been in stitches as the sled repeatedly  capsized bringing me to a sudden stop.  Today the work was going much better, with a differently loaded toboggan, and much sturdier ski equipment, the return trip down the mountain was a breeze, with my heavily burdened, but secure toboggan obediently following close behind my parallel tracks.  I did not want the trip down to end, but in short order I was back at the banks of the swollen Serena Creek and back to the parked car awaiting me patiently.

Ski into Bogus Basin to retrieve the warming hut propan tank, heater, and hot plate.  No groomer has been up here for weeks so its a quiet tour, breaking trail.  Lots of bear and coyote tracks

1 comment:

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