Monday, February 20, 2006

Lubrecht Experimental Forest

I was feeling so guilty about not getting outside to exercise and have fun this weekend, that after my post yesterday I piled Allie the wonder dog and my gear into the car and headed about 45 minutes up the Blackfoot Valley for some cross country skiing at the Lubrecht Experimental Forest.
The Missoula Nordic Club has a great website which shows locations, conditions and directions to places all around the area for Nordic skiing. Lubrecht happens to be one of the few places where dogs are still allowed (I guess all that yellow snow and messing up the trails was their undoing everywhere else) and it is within easy driving distance of Missoula. They offer beginner, intermediate and difficult trails.
It was a beautiful day and the wind died down just enough to make the 3.4 mile loop (5.5km) exhilarating. I have absolutely terrible form and am slow as molasses, but I have a good time and work up a sweat every time I slap on the skinny skis. Allie had a tremendous time, running up ahead, playing in the snow, hunting for mice and voles and generally enjoying being outdoors.

The loop was a bit confusing for me, as the trails weren't quite as well marked as they could have been; at one point I thought I headed off into the wrong direction and was sure I'd be getting back to the trail head after dark. There weren't many other people and the ones I did see were mostly skate skiing and didn't stick around for a chat.

It took me about 1 hour, 45 minutes to complete the loop and I worked up a nice sweat. The loop passed through the forest, around a like, over a dam, up a nice hill and then back through the forest. Quite refreshing.
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