Frum Outdoorsman: Rare but Possible

The wanderings and adventures of an orthodox Jew

Cross country skiing yesterday

Posted by Frum Hiker on February 26, 2008

The sky burst into a brilliant layering of orange, green and purple, I was sweating profusely despite the fact the temperature was dropping pretty quickly. A slight breeze fluttered some leaves that had failed to fall with autumn. My skis gently glided along the ridge, I was looking out over a vast valley and the setting sun as making the mountains to my east look completely pink, they were amazing and I felt lucky to have gotten to this thin trail with a cliff on one side and a sharp drop on the other. I pushed up the hill and gilded with each ski until the snow cover was barely enough to ski, small forzen and rotten leaves poked through the ice encrusted surface and threaten to slow down my ascent. I wanted to ski to the top of the pass in order to catch the suns last rays- which I knew would be beautiful and clear judging from the bright blue sky and pink mountains to the east.

I stopped at the crest of a treeless hill and looked out upon the valley I was looking at before, this time my view was not obstructed by trees and I could see Mount Greylock the highest point in Massachusetts, just under 3500 feet marred with radio towers at the top, but still a breathtaking sight. I braced myself for a steep hill and knew I would probably fall, and when I didn’t I let out a whoop that echoed off the forest.

Instead of going to my car, I decided to ski up Petersburg Pass on the New York-Mass border. I skid up a trail that had not been skis on, I skid over crusty snowshoe tracks and broke the frozen snow that got deeper and more fluffy as I gained elevation. I liked looking back and seeing my two narrow tracks in the deepening snow. I also liked that all was silent, no one was around and that I would get to ski under the moonlight.

I skid until a sign said 1 mile to the Taconic Crest Trail, a trail I have hiked and biked many times, being that it is rather close to my house and affords amazing views at every ridge. I do have a place in my heart for ridge trails, I guess that is one of my things that I dislike about east coast hiking in that most trails are not on ridges and rather you must hike straight up and straight down just for the view.

I started hiking up sideways with my skis attached until I came to the top. I davened mincha as the sun disappeared amidst a flurry of colors and rays. It was great, I then took off my skis and just sat on a rock and waited for the moon as I contemplated life and the woods.


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