Gold Run Adventure II

Gold Run Nordic Center - Preston Loop - The Climb

This last weekend did not turn out as we had planned, but that is okay; we had a great weekend anyway. We are referring to it as the Gold Run Adventure II. On Saturday, the plan had been to ski at Frisco Nordic Center; we have never been there, and were eager to explore the trail system. However, we had encountered three issues: a) There was no parking anywhere b) There was going to be a fat tire bike race on the trails later that afternoon c) The grooming on the trails was already pretty tore up. After vulturing the parking areas a few time, we had decided to go back to Gold Run Nordic Center. We had had such a great time during our first ski tip there that we were eager to go back, although our original plan was to ski there on Sunday. Oh well.

As I (Stella) mentioned in a prior post, Larry and I have very different preferences for cross-country skiing terrain. He relishes the challenge and struggle associated with skiing up steep hills. I, however, prefer to ski on level terrain with gentle slopes because it allows me to stride and glide for miles and miles. Well, Larry had really wanted to go back up the Peabody Placer trail so that we could complete the Preston Loop, and let me tell ya – it was exhausting! It takes an awful lot to wear me out, but at the end of the day, I completely was exhausted.

The Climb - Preston Loop - Gold Run Nordic Center

We had started out on the Gold Run trail, which connects to the Peabody Placer trail. That trail is a part of the shared-use trail system, and during our first time at Gold Run, we had taken the Peabody Placer Trail all the way up to Jumbo Lookout. Unlike last time, there were a lot of people (and pups) on the trail. However, once we had reached the trailhead to begin the Preston Loop, we only had only seen one or two people… and for a good reason that we had yet to discover. I really had no clue what the Preston Loop was going to be like. Larry had just said that the trail going up was steep for just a small part of it, and then was all downhill after the climb.

Taking a break as we climb the Preston Loop - Gold Run Nordic Center

So… we climbed, and climbed, and climbed. Every so often when we took a short breather, Larry would say, “not much further, we are almost there.” I would roll my eyes, and just keep climbing; frustration had begun to build inside of me. By the third time he had said that, my patience had worn out, as the complaints began to roll from my lips. When we had finally reached the top of the steep climb, I was dismayed and upset to find that the remainder of the trail to get to the looping point (the trail circles around a set of trees) still incorporated some mild uphill terrain. And to make matters even worse, the rest of the trail to get back “down” to starting point of the Preston Loop trailhead, also was not all downhill.

I was in an unhappy situation because I had not been mentally prepared for the challenge that I had encountered with the Preston Loop, combined with my stamina not being at it’s typical level that day. So by that point, my complaining had turned into pouting, because hours had passed, and I knew that there wasn’t going to be much time left to ski on the lower level trails that I loved so dearly. Three hours and ten minutes later, we were back at the lodge; the total trek to and from the Preston Loop was a little over seven miles, and those were the most difficult seven miles I have ever skied, which explains why there were so few people on that particular trail.

The Preston Loop trail is a very densely forested area, with trees lining both sides. And because it is so heavily forested, it provides a great deal of shade from the sun. We had started out the day in an open area where the sun was beaming right down on us, so we had gotten really warm. But once we started on the Preston Loop, we cooled down a great deal. Keep this in mind so that you bring/wear appropriate layers to accommodate for that.

Additionally, many portions of the skating lanes on the Preston Loop are not level – they slant to the drop off side/edge of the trail. That makes it challenging when either skiing up or down in the skating lane. Fortunately, because we now both have metal-edged skis, we are no longer restricted to solely skiing within the classic tracks. However, venturing out into the skating lanes on the Preston Loop trail was difficult because of the slant, and if you are not careful, you’ll drop off the edge and go tumbling straight down into the trees.

Once we were back in the lodge, I sat in front of the fireplace and debated if I had enough energy to ski a few miles on ‘my type’ of trails. It was already after three o’clock, and my stamina was not at its usual level, but I certainly wanted to give it a shot! So, we started out on the Silver Star trail, and I could already tell that I wasn’t going to be able to complete it. Instead, we turned around and skied Bronco Dave, Sunset and a portion of the Buffalo Flats trails. We were very slow, and I had to force myself to keep going on; it truly had been a battle of wills. But, I just could not do anymore, and Larry was tired, too….if not more tired than I was.

The total miles skied was a little over nine miles, which is not as many as we have skied on other days. However, how often do you gain over one thousand feet of elevation while nordic skiing? For us – that was a first, and a wrap to the Gold Run Adventure II.

Preston Loop @ GRNC

After an amazing dinner at Windy City Pizza that night, we had decided to do a snowshoe trek on Sunday. Naturally, I didn’t sleep well and woke up exhausted, and it was snowing quite heavily. So again, a change of plans! After a light breakfast a local cafe in Silverthorne, we had headed back home so we could rest up for work on Monday, and await our next big adventure: Turpin Meadow Ranch, a dude ranch in Jackson Hole Wyoming. Turpin Meadow Ranch offers year-round outdoor activities, including maintaining their own nordic trail system. We will be staying in a cabin where we can ski and/or snowshoe right out our front door. Stay tuned for the post about that epic adventure!

Stella out on the Preston Loop at the Gold Run Nordic Center

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