I caught that glorious six inches of fresh powder last Sunday and stole out for a morning ski with the dogs up the old 75 Road that runs over the hump to Mineville from Mountain Spring Road. It was my first ski of the season (shame on me) and I figured it might be my only chance on the 75 Road, since they've been plowing it for the logging trucks again this year. But no plows were out on Sunday. Just me, the dogs, and a handful of snowmobiles.
In fact, the first pair came down the trail just as I was putting my skis on, which made me feel kind of smug. When I head up there after a good snowfall, particularly on a weekend, I try to time it so that a few sleds have come by already to lay down a nice track for the cross-country folks. Perfect!
As I passed the turn-off for Nichols Pond and headed up to that last flat stretch before the road starts descending, I sank into my usual fantasy of finding a way for more people to enjoy the incredibly gorgeous landscape I was skiing through. On maps the area is called the Westport Hills, and an environmentalist friend of mine has said that it's one of the most ecologically diverse areas in the Adirondacks.
I can believe it, but that drives a stake through my fantasy, which is to put together a consortium to buy some of this land and harden the wonderful trails that criss-cross the hills for four-wheelers and sleds. My idea was that this would encourage the people who ride them to come here and spend their money while enjoying the great outdoors. By providing hardened and maintained trails, we could take the pressure off some of the areas where illegal ATV and snowmobile use is causing severe erosion. You can see such erosion, for example, near the bottom of the Stacy Brook trail, just above where the old bridge used to be.
So my fantasy doesn't look to be coming true any time soon. On the other hand, that's okay. I'll just keep going up there all alone--except for the dogs, that is-and just enough snowmobiles to lay down a nice track.
A certain local writer will be giving a talk on faith and reason at the Wadhams Free Library on Wednesday, January 21, at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free. Tomatoes and cabbages will be available at the door. I ask you, is nothing sacred?