I let Bob know that if there were any Snowshoe Raid controls left on the course today, I could go out to pick them up. A couple of volunteers worked on it over the weekend. As of today, there were 8 controls remaining in the northwest quadrant of the map.
Snow kept falling for 24+ hours after the race so I knew it was going to be an adventure. Even the drive up to the north end of Pretty River was magical.
I planned a large counterclockwise loop starting with 52. Here's the map again - click to make it bigger.
It was an absolutely spectacular day.
The trees look so amazing because they are coated with ice beneath all the new snow. There will be a lot of damage from these storms.
The forest was beautiful.
The view toward the sky was like a work of art.
Although the forest was lovely to look at, it wasn't conducive to bushwhacking - and I needed to do a lot of that. There was so much snow that it sometimes felt like I was swimming through the white stuff. In many places, visibility was nil.
Just like Saturday, my gloves got soaked from all the snow. Next time I would bring a 3rd pair of gloves in my pack. I had a 2nd pair but wanted to keep them in reserve until they were absolutely necessary - which they never were. But my fingers got chilly because I had to untie the knots on the flags with bare hands then shove them back into frozen gloves.
Bushwhacking wasn't just wet. Because the branches and shrubs were bent low and often frozen together or to the ground, moving foward sometimes felt like breaking out of a jail cell. Many times I had to change course to find a way through.
But it all worked out eventually. This is 54. My route was 52-54-53-51-56-35-43-57.
I have one confession. Between deep snow and thick vegetation, I got pushed west on my way to 53 then I headed for a hilltop that seemed to be in the wrong direction - but damn, it was definitely a hilltop and that's exactly what I was looking for. Of course I was in the wrong place. Worried about my cold hands, I was tempted to bail to the snowmobile trail and continue to the next control but I didn't want to leave Bob with one control to pick up. So I pulled out the Avenza app and relocated the electronic way. (I'm so ashamed.) That was the only time I cheated!
I had only visited one of the 8 controls during the race so today's route had a completely different feel from Saturday. I was breaking trail most of the time since the racers' tracks were seldom visible.
Once I started climbing the escarpment, my hands warmed up so it was a nice finish in the sunshine. What a beautiful and totally exhausting outing!