Friday, June 9, 2017

snowshoeing 'round the mountain

Memorial Day rolled around, mostly sunny and warmer, and we suddenly remembered that we have snowshoes!  We have old-school Atlas snowshoes that don't get a whole lot of use: when it's winter, we prefer to ski, and then in the last several years the snow has melted quickly in the spring so we've been able to segue easily into hiking.  Not so this year unless we want to battle the hordes of people in the now-dry foothills and the lower Wasatch Front hiking trails - where we like to go, there's still a lot of snow.

Gorgeous sky over Gunsight

Where we liked to go on Memorial Day was up to Alta.  We were curious to see if there were lots of people skiing at Snowbird (fewer than we expected) and we were curious to see how much snow is still up there (quite a lot, really).  We parked by the Albion Lodge - not yet open for summer, although the bathrooms are available - strapped on our snowshoes and headed up the bunny slope.  Note:  the bunny slopes never seem steep unless you're walking up them.

Skiing dude heading out

We weren't the only ones out and about at Alta.  We saw tons of songbirds, numerous potguts, at least nine skiers, a guy driving a sno-cat, a couple of hikers and one fat-biker (the bike was fat, not the cyclist).  There were guys hard at work on the lifts too, doing maintenance on the Sugarloaf chairs, which surprised us a little, being a holiday.  A fair number of trees had been taken down near Alf's, getting ready to put in the new lift.  The Cecret lift has been dismantled: the top and bottom were still there but all the towers have been taken down and the chairs and cables are gone.  It looked like they were getting ready to do the same to poor Supreme.

In-progress lift removal

After giving a couple of hikers directions to Cecret Lake, we continued up past the top terminus of the former Cecret chair, slogging past some cabins and topping out in the trees under Devil's Apron.  It was fun traipsing around in there.  When we ski it, I'm not paying much attention to my surroundings since I have to concentrate on the skiing, but walking on snowshoes allowed me to gawk around.  Mostly - I did slip a couple of times on some steeper sections, the soft spring corn snow sliding away underfoot.

Still looks like winter up in the Apron

We did a lollipop, looping through the upper trees and returning down Sunnyside the way we came.  There were more people heading out when we got back to the truck just over two hours and approximately four miles later: walking up the Summer Road, toting sleds up and a couple of young guys packing salt and a big shovel.  We asked them what the salt was for: building a jump.  Memorial Day mayhem at Alta!

Slip-sliding away

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