44 miles RT
Elevation gain: 1200 feet

Ahh, skiing to Trinity. I dreamed about it for three years before actually doing it. Daunted by the distance, I devised ways to carry a minimum amount of weight. I dreamed that the trip would bring spiritual enlightenment. Even the name – Trinity – has a religious sound to it (either that or a Leon Uris novel).

Arriving in Trinity, I was rewarded with signs of life in the buildings at the old former mining settlement. A cat jumped from a snowbank onto the metal roof of one of the buildings. Surely this meant that someone – the Guru of Trinity, perhaps? – was nearby.

Sure enough, a guy with a beard shuffled out of a building. "How'd you get up here?" he scowled.

I looked down at my skis. I guess the Guru of Trinity was not into the obvious.

But I was. "I skied," I said. "Man, so you are out here all winter?" I was almost cooing. "This is Paradise!"

Unfortunately for me, the Guru of Trinity wasn't buying any of this.

"Yeah, I thought it was ok, once. A long time ago."

That was it. My Guru did not offer any spiritual tidbit. No reflection on the beauty of the day or the wonder of life. He just wanted to piss and moan about his problems.

And he had problems. The radio reception was crappy and all he could get was Rush Limbaugh. (Ok, so maybe he had the right to complain.) It was cold and lonely up there all alone. (Duh, what did he think it would be?) And on the weekends the snowmobilers buzzed him all day long. (Wait, I thought he wanted company.)

Disillusioned, I said goodbye to the Guru of Trinity and put my skis to work. Only 21 miles to go, or 22. It was there, of course, that I had any chance of true insight. The learning comes not so much from the Guru, even a bitchy one, as from the silence of the trail.

Update: My grouchy Guru of Trinity has long been replaced by wonderful people who, over the years, have served as caretakers for the former mining settlement there.

To get there: From the Fish Lake Sno-Park head straight north on what the Forest Service calls Route 2, then 2A and 2B, all the way to Trinity.

Note that this is not for the first-time A.S.S. man or woman. Trinity is something you train for (and in my case, dream about). Then you wait for the right conditions: A day when the groomer goes at least most of the 21 miles up to Trinity, when the snow is crisp and the miles melt away easily, and – although I need not repeat this – on a weekday (see, ahem, ASS Rule #1).

Story: One time on my way up to Trinity I came across a wrecked Snowmobile about 7 or 8 miles into the trip. Plastic pieces were strewn about, along with what seemed like transmission oil and drops of blood. On my return there were a couple of Forest Service guys and State Troopers looking things over. It turns out that the day before a woman on a snowmobile had hit a downed tree at maybe 60 mph. She died on impact. As we milled around, a trooper bent down and picked a bone fragment out of the snow. "Damn," he said. "Once that sled got going she never had a chance."

Skiing at the Home of the Guru at Trinity (only 22 miles to go...) (photo courtesy of Rob Whitten)

Rob on the way back from Trinity and still smiling

Chikamin Creek, eight miles from the car and a nice turnaround for a shorter outing.