Saturday, February 5, 2011

Gooseberry Ski

Noelle Skis Gooseberry

Today Noelle and I headed out to Gooseberry Falls State Park for another cross country ski. For all the time I've spent in the park, this was my first time skiing there. Conditions were okay. They weren't great due to the warm temperatures and resulting soft, sticky snow, but it was nice to get out and explore a bit.

We started out by heading up to the highway bridge. We crossed the Gooseberry River on the pedestrian walkway and headed upstream. We got close to Fifth Falls in a hurry. It's a lot faster skiing to them than to hike to them. We initially bypassed the falls heading to the far northwestern part of the park. The trails were freshly groomed and the downhills were nice, though a bit slow due to the snow conditions.

We soon started to follow the river downstream to the footbridge which crosses it just above Fifth Falls. The falls were, of course, frozen. The water level was much lower than it had been on our previous trip to the falls and I decided to take the opportunity to explore the ice caves there a bit.
Eric in Ice Cave

I entered the largest of the caves and it went further back than I had expected. The floor of the cave was covered in ice and was slanted uphill a bit from the entrance. I had a really difficult time getting traction on the ice with my ski boots and my exploration was thus a bit shorter than I would have liked. There were some really interesting frost formations on the ceiling of the cave though.
Noelle Thinks I'm Crazy!
Noelle though I was crazy for going to the ice cave!

From the river we headed downhill back to the visitor center. This part of our trip went awfully fast.

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