Tag Archive | cross country

Return to Pipe Creek

It might not seem intuitive to most that Dad would return to Pipe Creek Snow Park after his last adventure there, but if one word describes Dad, it is persistent.  If Dad decides he is going to enjoy himself; by golly,  he is going to enjoy himself, even if it kills him.  Pipe Creek was no exception.

This time, Dad left Mongo at home.  Mongo’s back had been acting up, and though his condition has been slowly improving as he loses his holiday pounds, Dad decided to give him a rest.

Instead for this trip, Dad decided to drag Kimi and her friend Reed along.  Dad rode his bike and met them at REI.  Kimi ran there, and Reed drove so the crew could all get back home safely.  Reed and Kimi rented X-C skis and boots.  Dad had all his gear at home ready to go.  The kids were good sports to humor ol’ Dad.

The next day dawned with a steely grey palette.

Keechelus Lake

Keechelus Lake

Dad deftly piloted the truck through Snoqualmie pass and over into Central Washington State.  As the team left the pass they opted to stop in Gunnar’s Cafe to grab a bite before heading to Blewitt pass.  As they hopped out of the truck, their attention was drawn to some additional hopping over near the sidewalk.

Mountain Quail

Mountain Quail

They had surprised a pair of mountain quail in the parking lot.  There was lots of scrambling on both sides as Kimi tried to get a picture and the quail tried to get away from Kimi.

The skiing as Pipe Creek was similar to the last rip.  The snow was heavy again, and there was a little less cover then last time.  Kimi and Reed valiantly followed Dad down the trail.  Reed picked it up quickly and was soon doing better than Dad.  Kimi took a little longer,

Kimi is an excellent downhill skier and carves the best turns int he family.  But as Dad was learning, X-C skiing was done with the skiis flat on the snow.  No Edging Allowed.  Reed picked this up quickly.  Dad learned by watching Reed.  Kimi had a tough time transitioning from carved turns to skidded turns, but came along nicely by the time they finished up the day.

Back at the car, the exhausted group piled in and headed for a local tourist destination, the tiny mining hamlet of Liberty, WA.


Pipe Creek Skiing

Dad was fail once again.  Not that “fail” is all that foreign a concept to Dad.  Dad is definitely not afraid to “fail”.  Dad’s theory on “fail” is similar to Thomas Edison’s thoughts on life, if you try enough times, the successes will outweigh the failures. So Dad soldiers on, knowing that good things will come in the end.

This time Dad’s “fail” had been showing up a few seconds too late to buy his Snow Pass.  To use the Snow Parks in Washington state, one has to buy a Snow Pass.  Dad had decided to take Mongo cross country skiing on Saturday at the last minute.  Now he had waited just a smidgen too long to get in line for the snow pass, and there was a tourist had jumped in front of him, asking how to go hiking in the snow.  On a weekend morning, every second counts on the way to the mountains, because multitudes of other outdoors people are heading there also.

The ranger was trying to answer the man’s question of hiking in the snow. but apparently the tourist’s English was a bit limited in the realm of the winter sports vocabulary, and the very idea of snow shoes was completely foreign to him.   This was causing the ranger to have a difficult time conveying the concept across the cultural divide.

There was nothing else to do but wait.  Dad had just seen the new Star Wars movie the night before at Cinerama, so he engaged in some Jedi calming routines while he waited.  But despite his best efforts with the force, his right foot was still tapping.

The ranger’s descriptions of snow shoes grew to include big sweeping elliptical arm movements.  Their conversations was starting to look like a very awkward ballet, that might go on forever.

Eventually, the winter tourist departed in the general direction of REI’s rental counter, but by this time, Dad figured his chances of getting to a nearby snow park and back before dark were shot.  He approached the counter.

“I’d like a Snow Pass”, he droned to the ranger.

“For today”, asked the ranger.  “You know, they’re only good for one day, and it’s kinda late to get started for today.”, he added cautiously.

“No.  Tomorrow will be fine”, moaned Dad.

“Okey dokey.  We’ll fix you right up”, chirped the ranger.

Dad took his snow pass and headed home.


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