Finally, an opportunity to do a ski day with Five Winds. As with recent days, we experienced nice blue skies, but bitterly cold temperatures, accompanied by a strong northwest wind. The club was skiing the east side of their area with groups departing from various points, all finishing at the Nine Mile Marina.
Our group had eight of us skiing together. We left the bus at the Southwood Road just south of Torrance. The plan was to explore the ponds and ridges between here and the marina. Like yesterday everything was locked up tight. Many of the marshes looked somewhat hazardous though, with the recent flooding now appearing as solid clear ice. Most of the recent snowfall was blown off exposed areas, creating skating rink conditions on many of the lakes and ponds.
My plan was to eventually cross Nine Mile Lake and follow the pond systems southeasterly to the marina, however by the time we reached the stream out of Island Lake I could see lots of open water. This looked too dangerous, and time consuming to try and navigate around, so a different route would need to be taken. It was already lunch time so we found a sheltered spot to stop and eat, and relax in the bright sunlight.
The afternoon route had long flat stretches, and with the strong wind at our backs, our pace quickened substantially. This afforded us the opportunity to explore some other ponds along the way and take a route through Otter and Little Otter Lakes. While navigatiing down a steep slope towards a pond northwest of Otter Lake an otter appeared out on the ice infront of us. Before I could get a picture or video it ran/slid quickly down to the far end of the pond and out of sight. Another photo op missed.
We came apon another group’s tracks on Otter Lake, the first sign of anyone else all day. It appeared this group was skiing in the opposite direction as us, most likely having started out at the marina. We continued skiing towards the marina eventually arriving just before 4:30PM. The last kilometre was a rough one, but we all made it without incident … well almost. Two of us had equipment failures. One of us with a pair of Solomon 69 skis had a foot and a half of the metal edge come out of the ski, while one of my Alpina skis had a cracked metal edge (just like my pair of Rossignal BC 90’s) So much for well made skiis!
Other than that it was a great day with a great group of explorers.
A link to pictures, videos, and a map of the route