Buchanan Pass Trail, 12/01/2002

The gate into the Peaceful Valley Campground was closed so we parked off the side of the entrance road about 100 feet from Hwy 72. We started skiing up the road to the Peaceful Valley Campground at 10:42. It was a nice sunny cool day. Just before the campground we turned left onto the bypass trail which goes approximately 1 mile through the forest to the west side of Camp Dick and the trailhead of the Buchanan Pass Trail. There was plenty of snow, with very few exposed rocks, more snow than we had ever seen on this trail in early December. At the end of the bypass trail, we began skiing up the Buchanan Pass Trail. Near the start of this trail there was about 50 ft of rocky terrain before the snow covered the trail well. We skied 4.4 miles to the Indian Peaks Wilderness boundary, getting there at about 13:40. By this time it was snowing with a strong cold wind from the west, which we expected since the forecast was for scattered snow showers. We took a few pictures at the wilderness boundary, then headed back. The cold and the wind didn't make us want to stop and eat something. We decided to return on the 4WD road for the sake of variety and to get back faster. This turned out to be a good decision because the snow on this road was well packed by snowmobiles which made the skiing easier and faster. We didn't pass a snowmobile once all the way back. There were a few nice downhill runs on this road. At one point we stopped and sat on a wooden fence along the road to have some water. We took the bypass trail again at the Buchanan Pass Trailhead, which was quite fun with several thrilling downhill runs. Returned to the truck at about 15:30. This was a very nice cross country ski trip with surprisingly plenty of snow for this time of year. It took a total of 4 hours and 48 minutes to cover the 11.2 mile roundtrip distance.