Friday, February 19, 2021

The Deep Freeze finally breaks; Covid vaccination a bright spot

A beautiful ridgeline ski

Mark's tele-path down the steep powerline slope

We carved up the powerline right of way

It's always a treat to see the massive Red Mountain, highest point in the Scapegoat Wilderness (Gordon Whirry photo)

The wind-sculpted Cadotte Creek bottom (Gordon Whirry photo)

We're just coming out of a two-week deep freeze and we got out for a short trip in the Cadotte Creek country just west of the Continental Divide near Lincoln.

The cold streak, in contrast with an otherwise mild winter, was brutal.

This explains the two week gap in postings.

We hunkered down at home during a stretch of 8 sub-zero days with temperatures as in the minus 30s, with winds that drove them into the minus 50s.

The brightest point during that stretch is that I got my second and final Covid-19 vaccination on Feb. 15.

My reaction to the first, Jan. 25 shot was nil.  I thought I would be home free for the second, but that afternoon I developed a mild headache, and then yesterday during the ski trip I became thoroughly fatigued, something that has spilled over into today.

The temperatures on the trip were in the teens to start and it was very windy, a surprise for the west side of the Divide.  Things warmed up under a bluebird sky, but we got hammered by the wind.  There was plenty of snow, but it was a tad odd.  At about eight inches down there was an icy layer that made tele-turning tricky.  Maybe it was the fatigue, but I didn't enjoy the snow much.

We parked at the Cadotte Creek Road pullout on Montana 200 and went right from the car to the nearest ridgeline to the west.  We gained nearly 700 feet and then skied across the top until we reached the powerline.  

There were terrific views in all directions.  We were particularly impressed by the 9,411 feet Red Mountain that was blanketed in snow.

Mark Hertenstein decided to head us down the powerline, a steep pitch that I estimated at at least 25 degrees, enough to make me worry about avalanche.

At the bottom of that pitch we skied out toward Cadotte Creek Road and out.

Montana Highway 200 back to Great Falls was pretty windblown with ground blizzard conditions, but the views of the Rocky Mountain Front were outstanding against the deep azure sky.

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