posted: December 29th, 2008 | by:Bert
©Bert Gildart: “Is this what you mean by being natural?” remonstrated my granddaughter, Halle, who had just taken another fall. “Do you want me to stay this way forever?”
“Just for a moment,” I said; “just for a moment. But remember, don’t look at me. Makes the picture look unnatural.”
“Well, hurry,” she said, “and get your picture. This is not comfortable.”
“Now,” laughed my daughter Angie, “you see what Dad made me do growing up.”
“You had it rough,” said Will, chiming in with a supporting voice for me. “You had it rough.”
CHILDREN QUICKLY PICK IT UP
Halle (age 7) was trying her best to be a good sport and she was doing a great job on this her first experience with x-country skies. The terrain wasn’t all that easy either. Some straight stretches, sure, but a number of hills, too.
But the fact of the matter is that x-country skiing is one of the easier outdoor skills to master and that young children can pick up quickly.
And although Halle took a number of falls shortly after first putting on her skis, as the day wore on, she became very proficient, making x-country skiing a wonderful family sport — particularly when Glacier National Park provides the backdrop.
“Just kick and glide,” Will advised daughter Halle. “Just kick and glide.”
“Like this?” said Halle.
“Yup, you’ve got it.”
Our outing began with an eight-mile drive around beautiful McDonald Lake, quickly concluding at the Lake McDonald Lodge parking lot. Beyond that point the famed Going-to-The-Sun Road remains unplowed, and here is where our x-country family adventure began.
After a few more quick lessons about keeping skis together we began swooshing down the road, toward Lake McDonald Ranger Station, about a mile away.
And here, along the road, is where Halle took her first falls. Initially, her skis would cross, and when she’d try and get back up, she tried doing so from awkward positions. But quickly she realized that you’ve got to have your skis beneath your bottom before trying to pole yourself back up.
But those skills were learned within the first mile, after which time we left the unplowed road, crossed a bridge over McDonald Creek, and then picked up a trail that coursed another mile. This time, however, our route passed through a winter wonderland of Douglas fir trees heavily laden following several days of continuous snow.
Here, the trail climbed and then it descended sharply, dropping down onto McDonald Creek, which was mostly frozen.
A little farther the trail veered sharply toward Sacred Dancing Cascade, a series of falls which added further to the concept of a “winter wonderland.” Shortly thereafter the trail descended onto a short footbridge, which we crossed. Then it climbed a small hill and rejoined the unplowed Sun Road.
CLICK PHOTOS FOR LARGER VERSION
Others had skied the road, and because the road now contained a well-worn track the going was easy, though slick, making it easy to cross skies and take a few more falls.
WOULD YOU DO IT AGAIN?
But this was a first-time experience, and the bottom line remained the question of fun.
“Did you have a good time?”
“Yes I did.”
“Would you do it again?”
“Yes!” exclaimed Halle most emphatically , making us all think that this could be one of those great family sports that is relatively cheap to get in to and that takes advantage of the beauty of the northern woods, something we often tend to take for granted.
TWO YEARS AGO — “TRAILER TRASH” ‘CAUSE HE’S LIKE US
BOOKS AND BOOKLETS TO HELP YOU EXPLORE GNP (BY US, OF COURSE)
(You can, of course, order these books from Amazon or from Globe Pequot, but you can also order them from us — if we’re here.)