Today, was a powder skiing day. The morning started with a giant pinky moon setting over a pinky mountain.
And a fuzzy frosty morning gave way to a crystal February day. We had fresh snow and it was calling.
Some people think that the east is famous for long lines and crowded ski areas but with a little imagination we can turn the hills into great runs. I looked at the topo map and aerial photo and considered a few places and settled on going over to the south side of Skatutakee. My companion was my ever ready son, Swift the third. I feel fortunate that I can sort of keep up with him in adventures, but he does push me. He was excited because he had just gotten some new skis that he was bursting out of his skin to try.
We got to the trail head and put on our skins. Those are furry imitation seals skins that you paste on the bottom of your skis to go up hill. They are a genius invention transforming the cross country skiing experience from an uncoordinated flail to a confident uphill trudge. We clipped on the skis and climbed about 700 vertical feet following the trail from the old Dublin Road to the top of the mountain. The only tracks in view were a ski track from a traveler who made a similar run yesterday. As we climbed, we noted a number of great potential skiing lines through the trees. We saw the one our predecessor had taken.
Soon we were on top of the mountain. It took about45 minute of straight climbing. Not bad. We ripped off the skins and stowed them in our packs and prepared for the run down. The top of the mountain is all junipers, blueberry
bushes, scrubby pine, thick spruce and tortured hardwood trees. We started down and crunched through this crumbly forest ducking and bobbing until the woods opened up to maple and oak forest.
The snow was just right and our skis floated through it easily. The trees were tight but the snow was forgiving and maneuverable. A little way down from the top we skied through giant old maples from an old pasture sugarbush.
The deep unbroken snow lay before us in every direction. Swift, the nimble, bombed through them like they weren’t there and
I, the stiff and tentative, picked my path through careful not to commit too much speed to a collision. I might think too much about the way it could hurt.
At the bottom we had all our fingers and toes.
Swift, the third suggested that we climb up the mountain again. Hmm, I thought it might be a better idea to go to lunch.
The Harrisville Store is right down the road and up in a little village that is known as the most photographed and painted village in New Hampshire. It sits up at the top of a hill overlooking a brick village where water from the local hills is directed in a series of falls squeeze power out of the runoff.
The Harrisville Store has had a long history and it almost came to an end a few years ago.
But the community got together in an act of vision and self awareness and decided it was really important Community center. The store was on its last legs when the community reached out found a guardian angel –Laura– who turned the place around.
If you travel in Northern Italy you can stop in any little town and get amazing colorful, local, tasty food. The Harrisville store is like that. It has a vibe that just makes you want to hang out on a Sunday afternoon.
So we skiers pulled in and ordered our stuff. I started with this coffeecake which they sell by the pound. I got 90 cents worth and it might be the best 90 cents I’ve spent on food in the past several years.
We sat down next to Blake from Peterborough. “Blake, What brings you up here?” “Oh I just like to come up on a nice Sunday to get out of town and hang out”. See?
Anyway, this little town there shouldn’t be enough people to justify a nice store like this. Amazingly, it is often really busy.
To find the Harrisville store, look at a map, find Harrisville. Go to the top of the hill look to your left (west.) There it is! But don’t turn into the parking area. Go up to the little yarn shop and make a u-ee and come back. It is safer and the only legal way to turn in there.
After lunch, Swifty went back for a few more runs. And I went home and took a nap with the sun streaming through my window and the pellet stove on full.