So,I arrived at the park restaurant bldg at 12:30 with my “talking” skis. Set off on the Esk trail:nobody had been down it. I weaved my way around horse tracks and droppings breaking a trail where it seemed best. By the time I arrived at the junction with Lime Kln the horses were gone and I broke trail on the left side of the trail to the lookout, hoping that some other nut, I mean enthusiast had come up the Chick, so I could do the loop. No joy, but I was buzzed by a small flock of chickadees who were certain that I had some food for them,landing on my hat and ski pole handles down the hill, and part way back on the inbound trail.
There is 4 to 6 inches of snow in the forest. Breaking trail was ok, “forest bathing”, until snow started clumping under my skis sporadically. By the time I climbed the last uphill bit to where the outgoing and incoming trails are proximate I switched over to my outgoing track back to the parking lot.
Beautiful sunny day with negligible wind, absolute silence and skiing Oct 31/23, the earliest start ever: magnificent.