We had learned our lesson the previous day, no boring trails. My Dad and Tyson traced out a route on the map: up Gorman Lodge trail, slog across Long Pond Rd, and then back down the blue rated Lodge to Lodge trail. Isaac nodded in approval of a blue trail.
The morning low was above freezing. My Dad glide waxed everyone’s skis before we started out. Initially the trail meandered up and down by the lake. Then it climbed up into the hills. Near where it leveled off, we entered a more recently logged area. We could see across the valley to the Chairback ridge. Along most of the trail, the widespread logging had left a monotonous cover of 20 year old birch and conifers. But occasionally it exposed views where there wouldn’t have been any naturally.
We skied the Long Pond Road quickly, only meeting snowmobiles at the very beginning. Then we ducked into the woods for a short ungroomed link to the Lodge to Lodge trail. The snow that had been solid ice the day before was now softening into mash potatoes under the warm sun. Soon, we arrived at the Lodge to Lodge trail. “We’re at the blue trail now, Isaac. Lunch first and then we can have fun skiing down hill” Mom told Isaac. Isaac grinned, happy the climb and traverse were over. Tyson declared he didn’t need a jacket for lunch, and Isaac plunked himself down on the snow.
We climbed a short way to the top of the Lodge to Lodge trail and then started skiing down. Isaac double polled as fast as he could to zoom down the hill, but the sticky snow slowed him to a stop. The next drop was shallower, but Isaac tried again. Same result. Tyson traced the topo lines on the map, searching for steeper terrain. Tyson’s feet were starting to hurt and he wanted to hurry back to the lodge. “There’s a stream up ahead,” he told Isaac, “There should be a downhill right before the stream.” Isaac wasn’t fazed. A nebulous future downhill didn’t fix the sticky snow here.
Tyson balanced on one foot, resting the other when he stopped. His stops grew less and less frequent and he left Isaac and my Dad farther and farther behind. My Mom and I shuttled back and forth between a grumpy Isaac in back complaining about the sticky snow and “this isn’t a blue trail” and Tyson up front grimacing at his feet.
Shortly before we rejoined the Gorman trail, Isaac devolved into screaming and Tyson looked likely to follow. So we sent Tyson back on his own and we pulled out the hot chocolate for Isaac. Isaac was too frustrated to sip the hot beverage carefully. He slipped and spilled the cup twice. Even though he was frustrated, his legs still worked, and my Dad still had patience to ski with him. So we worked our way back with Isaac doing his best to be a miserable grump and my Dad doing his best to be impervious.
Back at the cabin, Tyson rested his feet and napped. Isaac sat on my lap on the porch to listen to the birds and stories of sailing. Then he too napped and the rest of us enjoyed some quiet time with our books, a bottle of wine, and chocolate. By dinner time, everyone was cheerful again.
Continued on the following day.