It was like the old days. Before kids, before Henry, when Mariann and I would spend a couple days every week cross-country skiing on trails around southwest Montana. We were “researching” a ski guide. She made the maps, I wrote the words. We’d comb through maps and word-of-mouth reports to find trails we thought might be good for skiing. We found and skied some gems, but we also skied some trails that should never see a pair a long, skinny boards.
Swan Creek is one of those trails that just isn’t great for skiing. Snowshoes, yes. it was different than we remembered it — I’m fairly sure we skied without problem ten years ago. But we had a blast and created some new cross- country ski techniques that will make the world a better place.
The first mile is a on a road through the campground. That was all well and good. Since snowmobiles and horses use that section, we veered off into the campground, then along the creek. After reaching the trailhead, we followed the narrow, windy trail up-valley, sidestepping in several places. Then we came to a boulder field, where there was no getting off the trail– even to sidestep or herringbone. No problem, we pushed our ankles into the side of the trail/trough and climbed right up, creating the “Outside-Ankle Technique.”
We didn’t get very far, maybe 2.5 miles from where we parked, but we were laughing the whole time.