Spring Snowmobiling

You Gotta Love Computers! After all, they make our lives easier in so many ways. However, the very thing which makes them ‘wonderful’ also makes them the worst thing invented by man. For, when they do not work, you lose a portion of your life!

So, what does that have to do with Elk Lake? Just this: For those of you who wonder why I have been so delinquent in updating Elk Lake News, blame it on the computer. As I sit typing away on my backup machine, I have to have two computers running just to accomplish what I typically do on my normal machine. However, I am bound and determined to get back on track - working computer or no.

This is the time of year when snow gets a little ‘old’. Don’t take me wrong. I LOVE to snowmobile, and spring snowmobiling - in a year like this one - doesn’t get any better. However, there comes a time when the rest of the world is waking up from its long winter nap and yet the winter giant in my backyard wasn’t even showing signs of stirring this April. THAT is when winter takes on a less-than-delightful prospective.

Nonetheless, one cannot let the gorgeous white snow still piled high outside their door get them down. So. . .how do we overcome the need for green? Go play in the white! And, that is just what we did.

The snow was incredible! Without doubt the smoothest, whitest, most luxurious snow of the season. The only bad part - this is APRIL!

Only twice in seven winters have I seen such abundant snow and such excellent coverage. However, this year takes the prize for the most snow in April. In fact, based on pictures from that other ‘fine year’, I believe this year takes all the prizes, all around. Regardless - it is quite the sight to see miles and miles of pristine snow in every direction. It reminded me of the winter fairy-land-dreams of perfect snow I had as a child.

The snow was abundant and so were the moose. In fact, along this one exposed ridge where, with the sun’s help, the dirt was beginning to overtake the snow, there were over 30 moose! We have seen up to 35 moose just riding down Elk Lake Road in the winter. However, this was a first. If you look closely you will see at least 11 moose in this one shot. Amazing!

Typically Elk Lake Road has the least snow coverage. The wind moves things around out there in the valley often resulting in exposed sage brush and even bare patches on the road. However, today was not the day for bare patches. Yes, the sage is beginning to snow - that is a good thing in April! However, the road had full coverage when we road in.

Did you notice the hawk taking off from the fence post to the right? While I did not get many bird photos, they are returning - in spite of the snow.

For those of you who have traveled into the back country - perhaps by ATV or snowmobile or even by foot or horseback - around Elk Lake, that is Brimstone in the distance. Yep, in the summer those are sagebrush covered hills in the foreground too!

Although this ride produced no wolves - nor signs of wolves - we did spot two coyotes. However they did not stick around long. This one appears to perhaps have been chased by snowmobiles. Either that or he has a hot date!

While the majority of the moose were hanging out on the ground exposed by the sun’s warm rays, we spotted a few more in the ‘likely’ spots. This one is feeding at the head of Elk Springs Creek.

And this pair are close to where Elk Lake Road crosses Elk Springs Creek.

Looking to the west along the North Side Centennial Road, you’d think no one lived around here. However, even during the winter this road received little use. Nonetheless, that much untracked snow so close to the snowmobile meca is a pretty sight! Except for a moose, I don’t think anyone has been near this road in awhile.

Of course the North Side road isn’t the only place where the snow has piled thick and deep, changing the scenery in various ways. After the last big snowstorm (yes, the one in April), our back door handle dropped to knee height and the door itself became a few feet shorter.

I believe in an earlier photo I showed the top of the picnic table by Cabin 4 exposed by about a foot. Well, this time of year, theoretically, the snow is supposed to be going away. However, as this photo shows, at least for a brief time after that April snowstorm, the picnic table was nearly completely covered (it is that dark rectangle to the right of the cabin’s porch).

Even the south end of the lake is looking far too much like winter - at least for those I know are anxiously awaiting the ice’s departure. From my viewpoint, that is going to be awhile!

And the cornice is quite impressive, too!

So. . .I must admit there is next to nothing I do not absolutely adore about Elk Lake. In my opinion there really isn’t a better place on planet Earth. And, I thoroughly enjoyed taking a spring snowmobile ride after a big snowstorm. But, to be totally honest, there is a little piece of me that wishes this snow came in March leaving April looking a little more ‘springy’. Be that as it may - there really is “No Place Like Home,” and I, for one, am always thankful I can call Elk Lake HOME!

Lady of the Lake

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