If you ski frequently enough, or fish often enough, or pursue any passion with regularity, like manna from heaven, exceptional results are bound to fall into your lap eventually, whether you plan for it or not. Rocket and I pulled into the ski trails parking lot on Friday with a loose plan to give her two or three miles on West Morrell or Cottonwood, followed by Rocket enjoying a dog nap in the car for an hour or so while I made a lap around the trail system. As I got out of the car, Lynn was just finishing up walking Nina out on the road and informed me that Cottonwood Lakes had been groomed earlier and there wasn't a mark on it. That's nothing short of miraculous for a Friday, but it had been another in a series of below-zero nights, so I suppose the sledheads were all in hiding at the Chicken Coop where it would be warm with access to TV and plenty of liquid refreshment, accompanied by a never-ending supply of arterially challenging food.
Cottonwood Lakes sounded pretty inviting, but I didn't realize just how inviting it actually was until I wandered over and got onto it with skis.
11 on a scale of 10 doesn't do it justice. Just soft enough to give it that nice forgiving feel, but firm enough for long, sweet gliding. In fact, since it had been so cold for several days I'd brought my classic skis along, assuming that the trails would still be slow and abrasive. But, this was nicely ground, fine-grained old snow, and the only thing that might have improved the experience would have been skate skis. Classic was sweet, though, with or without classic grooves to ski in and my skis were tracking beautifully.
The farther out we got the more sucked in we were and pretty quickly the original plan for the afternoon was out the window. We ski out there infrequently, so it was relatively new to her, and for a dog there is nothing better than fresh territory full of new sights and smells. She was happy, which made me happy and with skiing that good I couldn't see any justifiable reason for turning around at the gun range. So, we didn't. We kept going all the way to Mountain Creek where I realized that what would be an easy cruise back for me was going to be a grunt for a middle-aged dog. Sure enough, about half way back she started to lag on the downhills and by the time we dropped into Morrell Creek I was waiting for her to catch up at the bottom. We'd gone far enough for her, maybe even a little too far, but she wasn't holding a grudge. When we got back to the car her tail was still wagging and she still had interest in the overflow of smells in the parking lot, which is always a good sign that we haven't completely overdone it and fallen off the edge.
Sometimes you plan meticulously and make your own luck and sometimes things just drop out of the sky and plop at your feet. On Friday, it was pure, unadulterated luck.
A few dog tracks don't hurt anything.