A trip to Wolf Run

On a fine Sunday I escaped civilization with Nancy’s blessing (Nancy is the world’s most understanding wife!), and joined Tom and Marsh off for a overnight trip in the White Mountains NRA. Our destination was Wolf Run cabin, about a 60 mile drive and 23 mile ski. We arrived at the parking lot and were welcomed by nippy -20f at the trail head but things warmed up quick as the sun rose. The trail into Wolf Run is a mix of rolling hills, black spruce spruce swamp, and open tussock fields. This was also the first trip in the White Mountains were I only saw human powered transport – we passed one biker and six or so skiers. Quite impressive!

The first 5 miles or so of the Colorado Creek Trail had fresh snow machine tracks, but these turned off the main trail and headed off in a different direction. We were left to follow the some super large “fat bike” tracks, apparently running the new Surly “Larry” tire.

We later learned this biker was the legendary Jeff Oatley on a 60 mile day trip, going from the Colorado Creek trail head to the Wickersham dome trail head. Wow!
The trail winds though black spruce forest that burned circa 2005, and is quite scenic. The trail has a completely different feel now after the burn and is much more open and has better views. On the downside it is now much more exposed and can drift in.

Just before the junction with the Big Bend trail, the trail crosses a huge wind blown open field, and the views really open up, with fantastic views of the White Mountains.

The wind can really blow though this section, and it was moderately windy on the way in, and calm on the way out. Fortunately it was very sunny when we travelled though this section and now that the sun is high enough on the horizon to give significant warmth, it was quite warm. From this point on there is a gradual decent to Beaver Creek. The trail has wonderful views of the surrounding hills and mountains – this area is super scenic. The trail crosses several huge wind blow tussock fields.

The tussock fields had small sastruga that were quite fun too ski on. Sometime this area gets really immense sastruga that are almost waist high, but alas we don’t have enough snow for that currently.

We eventually reached Beaver Creek, and we quickly learned why there had been little snow machine traffic up to this point – there was not much snow and the tussock tops were quite exposed, which would make for a bumpy and rough ride. After a two miles of roughish trail we reached the cabin. Hurrah! The previous visitors had left a huge wood supply, and we had a fire going quickly, and soon the cabin was toasty warm.
Tom had a bit of a binding failure, and had to come inside with the ski still attached.

After a large dinner and most of a turtle cake, we hit the sack for a early departure.

Morning arrived quickly, and after a large breakfast of pancakes, bacon, and the remainder of the turtle cake, we were off!

Remus got an extra special treat – kibble soaked in bacon drippings. Yum, yum!

The view from the cabin in the morning was spectacular!

The ski out was relitively uneventful, though a lot warmer as the it was fairly calm and very sunny. Spring is wonderful!

Pictures follow for the photo inclined..

Snack time on the trail:

Wolf Run cabin, in the glow of the sunrise:

It was really strange to follow bike tracks for most of the ski in. I don’t believe I have ever done that before.. After a while one of my legs started getting strangely sore, which eventually realized was because I was skiing with one ski on the bike tracks, and one in the 1″ of fresh snow.. I then started switching back and forth, changing which ski was in the powder – much better!

Remus had a blast on this trip. Between running back and forth checking on the humans and checking out all the sents on the trail, he was a busy and happy dog.

I was happy to see even the super biker had to walk occasionally (but rarely – he is quite the biking juggernaut!).

The burned trees were very stark looking.

Tom took his new sled setup on this trip. It appeared
to work quite well for him, though it added a bit of drag. It worked well for Marsh too:

More photos here.

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