Sunday, May 4, 2008

Aims Finds Snow!

Ok, its getting ridiculous now. Aims has found more snow to ski on up in Eustis, Maine. And not just a little bit of snow, but from the looks of it, a nice pile of the stuff! I don't even know where Eustis is, but suffice it to say you go past Sugarloaf, past Flagstaff Lake and its up there somewhere before you hit Canada. Phew, thats a drive! Here is his story and photographic proof.

For ten years I've wanted to make a spring trip to Eustis, Maine to catch the snowline before it recedes into Canada and this year I finally did.
The picture was taken at the north end of the Kibby Range, off Gold Brook Rd, near Chain of Lakes in northwest, Maine, elevation 3000 feet.

Things were disappointing as I pulled into spring-like Eustis late Friday afternoon. The only snow was a tiny pocket next to somebody's barn and I thought perhaps I'd just wasted a tank of gas. But, I kept driving further north on route 27 and soon I could see snow high up on the western hills, and in isolated patches in darker woods beside the road.

Sadly, the two woods roads I'd identified in advance from topo maps were a bust. Both started out fine, but one soon left its shady Hemlock grove and began a long, snowless climb through deciduous trees and the other turned out to require a ford of the swift (and cold-looking) North Branch of the Dead River. Missing out on that second trail was particularly disappointing because the snow-covered road on the other side climbed gently up into a long shady valley. Next year bring a boat, I vowed.

Finally, as I was about to give up and settle for my two short excursions, a long drive for just 12 minutes of skiing, I noticed a dirt logging road that climbed my side of the valley. Early mud season was underway and I've already switched the minivan to summer tires, but I thought I'd see if there was snow up there. Fortunately the road was firm and after climbing steadily for four miles, at about 2300' it swung around the north end of the ridge. And there, just waiting, was beautiful white snow! Recent logging had left a perfect ski playground, too.

Friday, by the time I'd found the Kibby snow fields, it was nearing sunset so I could ski for less than an hour. But early Saturday morning, before the rain began, I followed skidder tracks halfway up the mountain, bushwhacked through open Hemlock woods to the summit, and had a wonderful, winding descent.

As you can see from the picture, a couple of inches of fresh snow had fallen at the end of Tuesday's rain and conditions were clean and white and perfect.


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