I tour alone regularly (yes I feel the safety conscious waving their fingers already, but I take the necessary precautions that I can). The times I tour alone are for many reasons, one of them is because I like to be quiet and get lost in the world around me. But the skin track is a social place, meeting people and sharing the obligatory questions “where you headed?” and “where you been?” It’s a great bit of comradery amongst the backcountry community. Sometimes you answer in detail, sometimes not, and sometimes you don’t know! On my last tour I got chatting in a near empty Guthega carpark and we settled into a similar rhythm, chatting on the way to Illawong. Midway up Twynam another two guys on their first overnighter join the track. As we all climbed, we got chatting about locations, access and plans for the day. I was feeling like a veteran imparting knowledge to the up and comers. Classic how the ego works. And classic the dance of knowledge exchanged on the skin track. As the climbs kick in the chat lessens and the thoughts contract back in, at the same time the land around expands. Back at the top after the first line, another crew, and suddenly there are seven of us having a yarn. Conditions, lines, plans, equipment and weather. All the core subjects. Some familiar faces too, from last year’s skin track. Funny how the open spaces can pull people together. Slowly the group disbands and skin tracks diverge, different goals, different timelines. The final lines of the day I ride alone, and on the skin home cherish the space and solitude after a day on a social skin track.
Snow Safety Australia is a NSW based information website.