04 December 2006

Cross Country Skiing begins

Last week I skied into my elk kill site to see how things were going. The bones are gone with the exception of the skull--which is picked clean. All that remains of the entrails is the fiber that was in the grassbag--even the stomach lining has been eaten. The birds have quit visiting the kill site, but the coyotes are still coming by to mark it.

I've also skied around some of the trails at the Mill Creek (aka "Mt Haggin") area since last week. It's nice that the club officers seem to have given up their long campaign against dogs. The club lost a lot of members and support over that failed policy. The ski area is on state game range (bought with hunting license money) and Fish, Wildlife & Parks has consistently told the club it may not ban dogs. The campaign was carried on mainly by a couple of anally-fixated groomers (dog tracks mess up the beautiful trails etc).

It was a little cold this morning -- about 0 deg F when I set out at sunup -- and still had not reached 10 deg F when I finished my loop. Back in Butte, the weather felt balmy and maybe it is above freezing by now.

The Mill Cr trails tend to be very wide highways and overgroomed (the snow is practically packed into ice). The skate skiiers love that, of course, but I prefer narrower more intimate trails--such as the ones at Moulton, just north of Butte. Also, Moulton is only a few miles from my house, whereas Mill Cr is over 20. But Mill Cr will have to do until we get a little more snow in the Butte area.

There are still some elk hanging around the ski area. I was surprised, and thought the cold weather (20 or so below) would have sent them all to winter range in German Gulch and at Mt Fleecer etc. There are also moose, of course--though from the tracks it looks as if the snowmachines have been seriously harassing them in their willow bottom refugia. Damned motorized recreation--the 90% of riders who follow no rules give the 10% of riders who are good & ethical a bad name.

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