Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Making Memories While Cross-Country Skiing

~Article written and pictures taken by 
Linda Grace 
Publicity Clerk, Old Forge Visitor Information Center

I have had the feeling of gliding inside a snow globe, when cross-country skiing at the Thendara Golf Course on a clear blue day.  The open sky allows the sun to glitter through the tree-lined course and reflects off the white, untouched snow.  But the day that my friends and I head out, it is not a picture-perfect day.  It wasn’t too cold, but the skies were grey and less than ideal, but you don’t need a perfect day to have a great adventure.  Fun and friendship were calling and the display of the sky and landscape gave us a magical feeling.

We decided to be ambitious and cover both loops which add up to about three miles of fairly easy to moderate skiing.  We started out on the left trail heading to the upper nine. This is the easier loop of the two and it is a perfect run for beginners and families. It winds along the outer perimeter of the golf course with a few small hills. This is all open and on windy days, there is virtually nothing to block the wind. But on calm or mild days, like the one my friend and I were enjoying, the open landscape can give you a freeing sensation.

One time, I did this loop with a beginner skier.  She said that this loop was good place to start since it was groomed real well and fairly flat. She said, "The beauty and tranquil quiet...(the fact that) there is no worry an embarrassing fall or another skier running you over.  This is a perfect place for a first attempt..."

My favorite loop is on the lower nine. It is the trail that heads right (east), from the parking area. This trail is longer at about 1.75 miles with a few easy ups and downs, which provides thrills on the downhill launches. My friends and I laughed as we whooshed down the first of these hills and my dog chased playfully alongside me.  We become quiet and spell-bound while skiing among the wonderful snow covered spruce trees and then back out in the open where we could see the expansive sky and landscape. It is truly a trail that gives you the best of both worlds. 

We breathed in the fresh crisp air as we followed the trail as it overlooks the nearby Moose River and its snow-covered bridge.  We talked about summer when we paddled down the Moose River and used the bridge for a canoe/kayak carry around the rapids.  Such conversations of summer reminiscing mingle in with the many winter adventures which have been made while skiing on the golf course.  

We glided around a bend, flew down another small slope and then raced up the next hill. Sometimes, when we are in the present, we do not realize that we are making a memory that will be cherished again and again. But, somehow, I became aware that this IS one of those moments that I will hold dear.  
The Moose River Bridge

To get to the Thendara Golf course from Old Forge, drive south on Route 28 and turn right on Fifth Street. Although it is free to ski here, these ski loops are groomed by a local volunteer, and donations are welcome and appreciated.