The crust hadn't set up many places yet. I knew there was some in the Russian Lakes Area from a trip I was on the weekend prior. This trip was a mix of crust on groomed trails, variable off-trail crust, and great crust on Lower Russian Lake. Not perfect conditions, but it was great to start enjoying the short crust season!
I skied through the Russian River Campground to the Russian Lakes Trail, onto Lower Russian Lake, up Russian River, into clearings East of the river, to the Russian River Falls Trail, and explored the campground. I left at 9:30 and returned to the trailhead at 4. I also checked out a trail leading East from the campground. It may have been a Forest Service Road. My route was 19.3 miles with 1400' of elevation gain.
My original plan was to ski to Pothole Lake over Skilak Lake & River, but there was barely any snow on the ground. These were the conditions I found off Skilak Lake Road.
A little bit of glaciation on the Russian Lakes Trail.
Bumpy crust with brush just under the surface. It didn't freeze really hard the night before, and the crust wasn't firm enough for optimal skiing.
Prescribed burn area to provide moose with denser vegetation for browsing in the future.
Luckily the USFS public-use cabins are nicer than this shack.
I think I'll walk across.
Great Crust-Skiing on Lower Russian Lake!
In hopes that there would be skiing up-river I crossed a couple meager snow bridges.
Where's the snow?
I found a nice crust stash East of the river & lake.
Snow coverage on the lake was getting thin.
The Barber Cabin is sweet! I should stay here some weekend.
Russian River Falls Trail
Deck at the falls
On the way back from the falls, I encountered a small brown bear on the trail coming in my direction. He quickly turned around and ran off. Bear spray might not be a bad thing to carry crust-skiing.
I explored the campground at the end of the day. The grooming made the skiing very enjoyable. Nice place to trail-ski near Cooper Landing.