Willoughby News

March 29, 2011

A few days ago started bringing equipment home, a little strange with more than two feet of snow blanketing trails and some really wonderful skiing still ahead. Even at home the yard is filled with piles of snow. Trying to boil sap, get ready for new chickens and build a greenhouse after the first winter with a snow blower (and no plow!) has meant some unforeseen adjustments … and eight foot piles of snow. With a plow the snow was pushed well out of the way, with a snow blower the snow went from one spot in the way to another spot in the way and all winter the piles just got higher.
As for winter up at Willoughby, it seems to have been choreographed with great skill … no serious meltdowns or washouts, no ice storms with trees down everywhere, just lots of powder. In January, with all that wonderful powder and no ice or even a firm base, the differentials in my machine stopped engaging with each other so climbing over every hill became a period of breath stopping anxiety. It was then I had some second thoughts about lasting the whole winter, especially after the electric winch burned up and I was using comealongs to muscle the machinery up hills. A few strategically placed trees on hills may show webbing and chain scars for decades! Finally with a simple adjustment of tension on a lever that took barely moments to complete, the rest of the year became a day at the beach. And this year, finally a full parking lot on weekends became almost normal.
So, this being the final Willoughby News this season I’d like to take a quick look at what I hope is ahead for the next winter season. First, the paperwork that will give skiing and groomed trails a place in Willoughby State Forest is coming together so that next winter there will be some relevant and enabling structure in the management plan.
Regarding the Connector, once it could be groomed effectively without fear of damage to equipment or skiers having to deal with open water the skier traffic climbed sharply, people realized that in addition to being a really nice trail the Connector also tied together the two out-and-backs into a functional loop. Making the trail workable with my equipment was in large part the result of the state stepping in with both manpower and resources. And it sounds as though there may be  further help from Forest, Parks & Recreation this summer making the trail groomable from the beginning next year. This will require resources well beyond my reach!

Other considerations; better signage including maybe a seasonal sign for the parking lot, and perhaps a  portajohn somewhere  on sight. And, a complete surprise to me, some youthful bright light came up with the following:
In many ways I never advanced beyond ink and pen … and I bear no guilt or feelings of inadequacy. Any Facebook, web pages, twitter and so forth that is connected to WSF will be clean of my smudgy prints. But, just maybe next fall there might be a new ski trail … that will bare my prints!
As fast as winter came and went the green of summer will come and go, we will slide through the rustling sounds of fall and soon the cool of winter will be in our faces again, so don’t forget about Willoughby State Forest.
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