I hope everyone's
Christmas was a good one and everyone got what they wanted. I suppose those
that were asking for the weather forecast for the Midwest to change were
left wondering what they did wrong in the past year to deserve what we have
as a forecast right now, but unfortunately that is the way the cookie
crumbles sometimes. I am not too worried about us right now. We will take it
on the chin and the current fair to very good conditions will largely become
poor Friday as some rain and warm temps hit, but right now it looks like
some lake effect snow could start up early Saturday morning and continue
into Sunday and we could be in pretty good shape in a short time.
Unfortunately the same cannot be said for other areas of the Midwest, even
many of the lake snow belts as the way it looks right now, the lake snows
could be confined mainly to the Keweenaw.
Who knows, the forecast could always change and this
nasty rain storm could turn into a major snowstorm, so there is still some
room for hope.
Most of this entry will be centered around the Christmas
activities as we did not do much ahead of the holiday and then left town
around midday on Thursday and were in southern WI for the weekend, returning
In all of my years living up here, I don't think I have
ever seen as much snow down from door to door on our trip. We have had a
handful of trips where there has been snow down all the way from here to S.
WI, but this year we left with just around a foot or so of snow on the
ground and encountered those type totals all the way into central WI and
then the totals dropped off a bit into S. WI, but still around a half a foot
or more in that neck of the woods. There has also been years when we left
and encountered no snow on the ground as soon as we left the lake snow
belts. So that makes this pending thaw and rain even more sad to see, in
that conditions are about as good as I have seen them in a decade and now
they will take a pretty solid hit.
The trip down was good, although poor Grace is at a
really tough age to be taking a trip that takes that long in the car. She is
old enough that she does not want to sit still for very long, but too young
to just sit and watch a movie or play a game. So after about 2 hours, she is
climbing the walls and wanting to get out of her car seat. We do stop when
she gets crabby and will let her stretch her legs and get a snack and pray
that she will take some nice long naps while we are driving as well.
We made it safe and sound and that is what is most
important. All of my brothers and sister as well as my nephew and niece were
there, so it was great to have the whole family together and share the
holiday. Grace sure did make out like a bandit. We had way more stuff in the
truck on the way home than when we came down. The big gift to her from her
aunt and uncles was a
tricycle. She is still a bit too small for her feet to reach the
peddles, but certainly not too small to be pushed
around on it. Hopefully come late spring and summer, she will be big
enough to reach the peddles, or we may have to rig something up to the ATV,
as that pushing stuff sure can wear you out!
She got lots of other good stuff and even grasped the
concept of unwrapping
the presents and enjoyed that (not my glasses in that last shot!). She
just loves books and here she is checking
out a few new ones for her private library.
The two an a half days we were there just flew by and
before we knew it, we were all packed up and on the road to the great white
north again. The trip back was even better than the trip down as we left
early and traffic was light the whole way. Plus, she only had one melt down
and then slept for a nice chunk of the trip. We even decided to just keep
going and not stop for lunch until she was awake and fussing. We ended up
making it to Twin Lakes, which was way further than the stop in Rhinelander
we had planned. So I put some gas in the truck, grabbed some snacks and hit
the road and she did well the rest of the 45 minutes home.
It is always so nice to get home, unload the truck and
just chill. Unfortunately I had work I had to do yesterday when we got home,
so I did that while Nora tended to Grace and unpacked as much as she could.
We then got a pizza, chilled and opened the presents that we got for
One of the presents that Grace go from Santa while we were gone
was a nice wooden sled. We got home too late and were all too tired to play
with it yesterday, but today was the perfect day for a
sled ride, with sunshine and temps in the 20's. So we put Grace in the
sled, bundled her up and took our afternoon walk in the woods with the pups.
That neighbor that has been plowing out the road to his camp is still at it
and looks like he might have intentions to do it all winter, so we used that
path for our walk and it was
perfect. Grace had a
total blast the entire time and I think we have a new favorite activity.
That is until she gets one of those motorized sled contraptions next
The woods were beautiful and the weather perfect. It is
pretty rare to get sunshine up here and combine it with temps in the 20's.
It seems like it is either brutally cold or a thaw is underway, so we all
enjoyed our time in the woods. We passed by Burt's
Pond and spotted some
tracks going across it. Looked like coyote tracks to me.
Grace has always been very adventuresome and even the new
sled ride got a little slow for her by the end. At one point I looked down
at her to see her leaning
way back in the sled to see everything upside down. Something tells me
that not long after she gets that motorized sled, she will be asking me to
build her some jumps! I think mom is just going to have to start looking the
other way when that happens.
We got back to the cabin after our walk and it was just
too nice to go inside right away, so we decided to hook up Huck to the sled
and see how he would do as a sled dog. I had bought a harness soon after
ordering the sled and was hoping he would not mind pulling her around. So we
got things all hooked up, I also put a leash on Huck just incase he saw a
squirrel or something and decided to take Grace on a ride through the woods
at mach 3.
I called him over and went to put on his harness and it was the
most amazing thing I have ever seen. It was like he knew what was coming as
he stood there patiently (something that just about never happens with these
two dogs) and let me struggle with the harness. After I got the harness
figured out, he then stood there very nicely and let me hook the sled and
leash up and once hooked up, he was the perfect gentleman. Even with Millie
egging him on to play and rough house, all he did was pull when I asked him
to and was very careful to not pull too fast or hard. It was as if he had
been trained his whole life to pull that sled with Grace in it, but in
reality had never seen any of the elements involved until today. I think we
may have a champion
baby sled puller here and I look forward to lots of walks and maybe even
some skis in the woods with that setup. For those of you worrying, I will
always keep him on a leash or the sled tethered to me to avoid an incident
like the two of them dashing through the snow...then across a frozen Burt's
After her pull by Huck, Grace decide she would take a
turn at pulling the sled, so we let her
pull it around the parking area for a while. If that were not enough
exercise, she then wanted to push
it around the driveway. Last weekend she went for a dogsled ride and the
musher stood on the back of the sled and I have no doubt that she remembered
that and wanted to copy it. She is very perceptive and loves to do things
that others do. The only bad moment came when we had to go inside. She just
did not want to go in and had a bit of a meltdown when we came in and got
her undressed. It did not last long and she found something else to make her
happy, but she sure does love the outdoors!
So here we are, sitting and relaxing and enjoying the
"between the holidays" period. Nora has off the entire week and I
sure wish I had the same, but at least I am able to work out of the house,
so even though I have to work, I get to be with everyone. I hope everyone
has a safe and wonderful New Year and I will talk to you all again next
Good night from the Keweenaw..
|This business directly sponsors
Here we are, the entry before
Christmas. Wow, I don't know about all of you, but December has just flown
by. Seems like just a day or two ago I was waiting for the first of the
month to come around so that the snowmobile season would open. I guess I
have been having just too much fun, or perhaps been very busy. Actually, I
think it is a combination of the two.
It was another week of leash walks for the pups and I.
The verdict is still out on Millie. She seems to be doing better, but every
once in a while still seems to favor her leg, so we'll see. I think that
even though her "quiet time" is suppose to end tomorrow, we will
continue to take it easy this week and see how things go. At any rate, no
pictures of our afternoon adventures from this week, as they were just leash
walks down the road.
I did get in two rides this week. I rode Friday afternoon
and Saturday, with Skylar and his band of merry men. On Friday I tossed
"greenie" into the back of the truck and drove down to the bug bar
(Mosquito) to hook up with the others. I got there around 2 and the others
were well fed and watered and ready to ride, so I just tossed on the rest of
my gear, unloaded the sled and away we went.
It's funny how you can get out into the bush and ride for
several hours, have a total blast, never cross your own tracks twice, but
never travel more than around 5-7 miles from your starting point. Skylar was
our fearless leader and took us to several different play spots. One was a
field where the group all got busy carving
the powder up. Here is a shot of Skylar
leaning it over. After about 20 minutes we had just about every square
inch of the field tracked up, so we moved on to the next play spot.
The snow was very good down there, with about a 16"
base of snow covered by another foot or so of powder. We found our way
through some logging roads, into some hill climbing spots and even a beaver
dam crossing. One in our group, Scott, decided he would do some beaver
hunting, but forgot the adage that cat's
can't swim. After pulling his sled out, we resumed the riding and had
much fun exploring logging
roads covered in fresh snow. Here is a
shot of our group at one of our rest spots. Gotta love the fresh powder
on the hoods in mid-December.
The plan for Saturday was for the group to ride north,
cross the bridge and come play in my neck of the woods, but it started to
snow pretty hard while we were riding in the greater Toivola area Friday and
continued to come down pretty hard all the while we ate dinner at the
Parkview in Twin Lakes. So I told the gang that I would just leave my sled
in the truck and we would access the situation Saturday morning to see where
the best riding would be. As I headed home from Twin Lakes, the snow kept up
at a decent pace and I figured it would probably taper off somewhere between
Painesdale and Houghton. Usually when the convergent bands form that make
the heavier snow, they are not too wide, about 20-30 miles. So I continued
northeast up towards Houghton and to my surprise it did not taper off before
getting to Houghton. In fact, as I crossed the bridge and then climbed the
hill to Quincy hill behind Hancock, the snow got even heavier. So heavy that
I could only drive about 25 miles an hour and had to almost guess where the
road was at that speed. I started to think that maybe the fairly heavy snows
to the south of the bridge were not the main band and that the main band was
actually north of the bridge. Well, a few miles up the road, the snows
tapered off significantly and from around the airport to my house it just
After I got home, we did get some bursts of heavier snow
and they were enough to give us around 3" of new snow overnight Friday,
but I wiped about 2" off my truck in Twin Lakes while eating dinner and
figured that just a few more hours of that would lead to some decent powder
for the next day. So we touched base on Saturday and it was decided that I
would head south again, where the better snow had fallen the night before.
We decided to meet up at the Wildlife Refuge Cabins as I knew that Dave and
Lori would let me unload there and keep my truck parked in their lot while
we rode. As luck would have it, Dave was not doing any too special, so he
joined our group and got to even be the tour guide for the day!
Dave knows tons of places to ride between South Range and
Twin Lakes and I don't think that I have seen too many of the same places
twice while riding with him. He took us to some really neat hill climb
places and every logging road we hit was untouched in at least a week, some
probably never ridden for the season. I was lucky enough to ride directly
behind him on a few of the runs and the sled just floated across the fresh
snow that sat on the foot and a half of base. We did get to a few play areas
where you could take small jumps or pop a wheelie as Dave
demonstrates here. In one of the play spots I pulled a wheelie that
ended up with a rather ugly dismount. Thankfully neither rider or sled were
injured. I believe that some pictures and even a video were taken of my
miscue, so perhaps they will show up on the site in the next few days to
We rode into the early afternoon and then Dave and I
broke off to attend to other things on our social calendars. The rest of the
group I am sure put more miles on as they had to all go home today. I have
to admit I am a bit sore today. Perhaps a little from my little wheelie
incident, but I think more from just tossing the sled around all day. My
arms are what is most sore and that is understandable as these are muscles
that I have not asked to perform like that for almost 2 years. I sure as
heck did not ride like that all of last year. So I am sore, but it is that
soreness that is sort of a good one. Plus it will only cause my muscles to
strengthen and get me back into shape for the rest of the season. I know
that there are those that swear by weight training, but to me, there is no
better way to get into shape for riding that to ride and I plan to get into
great riding shape this season!
While I was out riding my sled, Gracie was our riding a
sled of a different kind yesterday. Nora heard that they were giving dog
sled rides in Calumet as part of a promotion for the Copper Dog 150 dog sled
race to happen up here in March. All I can say is that as much fun as I had
riding yesterday, I sure wish that I could have been there to see Grace ride
the dog sled. She loves adventure and is pretty much fearless. In fact the
more scary something is, the more she seems to enjoy it. I suppose that is
good and bad, but it sure is fun to watch her get all excited about
something rather than scared.
Growing up around Huck and Millie, Grace has sure come to
love animals. She just loves to see other dogs and interact with them, so
when they got to the staging area for the dog sled rides, Grace just had to
go say hi to the sled dogs. Of course Nora asked the dogs owners if it was
OK and they said absolutely, that the dogs love attention. I really do not
have a clever description for this next picture, other than to say it speaks
for it's self and is
priceless. Here she is giving
one of the dogs a belly rub.
They had a nice track set up in the park at Calumet to
take people on a short ride and Nora said that Grace had a total blast being
pulled around the track by the team of sled dogs. Here is an action shot of Grace
and her aunt riding in the sled. Every time I see those last two
pictures, I can't help but get a grin ear to ear and chuckle. I think we
might have to get some harnesses for Huck and Millie!
So that was the excitement up here this week. I do have
some exciting news for the upcoming ride in. I was contacted by the Ariens
Company and they wanted to donate a prize to the ride in for the silent
auction. It is going to be a model number 921017, Platinum Series, 24"
two stage snow thrower. The retail value on it is $1,299. So anyone coming
to the ride in and in need of a new snow thrower. If you can hold off until
Feb 4th and 5th, you could take this baby home with you. I can vouch for the
quality of the products that Ariens makes. I have a 24" 2 stage machine
that has moved 2000+ feet of snow in the past 10 years I have had it and it
has been trouble free. Come to think of it, I think that is the ONLY machine
I can say I have owned that has been trouble free since the day I brought it
home! Anyway, I am thrilled to have this prize as part of the list of great
prizes being collected for the event. I know we have some other great prizes
already collected like skis, DVD's, riding gear and gift certificates to
restaurant and lodging up here.
I guess that about covers it. Since this will be the last
entry before Christmas, I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. Hope
Santa brings you everything on your list!
Good night from the Keweenaw..
Well, it's been
another week of wintry weather up here, although not as wintry this weekend
as I had hoped and certainly not as wintry as areas to our south. My congratulations
to the folks that were hammered across MN, WI and now lower MI. We did get
some snow from the storm. About an inch and a half during the day yesterday
and then about three and a half overnight and some pretty good snow squalls
are going on right now and if it keeps up we should get at least several
more inches of snow by daybreak.
The new snow continues to pack down the older snow, so
the depth has not increased a ton since a week ago, but we are developing a
great base and if you know where to look, you can find some pretty deep snow
up this way.
I do not have any pictures from the pups adventures with
me, because we did not take any adventures. Millie started really limping on
her right rear wheel last weekend, so we did not do much on Monday at all
and then took her in to see the Dr on Tuesday. The "so far" good
news is that the Dr did not seem to believe that she had blown a knee out or
that she was having problems with her hip. He seemed to think that she just
sprained her knee and gave us some anti-inflammatory medicine for her to
take and also said to take just a couple of short one mile leashed walks a
day. So that is what we have been doing all week, just taking short walks
down the road on the leashes and nothing exciting. So far it looks like it
is working as she is not favoring in too much anymore and really does seem
to be on the road to recovery.
Up until this point, they both got around so well, I was
hoping that no joint problems would surface with them. Poor Burt and Baileys
were orthopedic nightmares and did not even get past their first birthdays
before having to go under the knife for elbow problems. The Dr did say that
we should give the medicine and do the short leashed walks for 2 weeks and
if at the end of that period she was not any better, then x-rays would be
needed. He also said that if she is doing good at the end of 2 weeks, but
then starts to limp again, she will need x-rays. So there is reason to be
optimistic as she is doing better, but we will not know anything for sure
for a while longer.
I did get out for a ride yesterday. A friend from the
site (Keith) was coming up from the Chicago area and had room on his trailer
and was gracious enough to bring the new ride from Rt!2 Arctic Cat with him.
It worked out well, because initially I was going to meet someone from Rt12
about half way between here and Chicago last week, but then was able to work
out having Keith bring it up and as luck would have it, the owner of Rt12
lived only about 10 minutes from Keith, so Rt12 and I did not have to make
the long drives to get the sled up here.
In the Keweenaw area, there are two spots where the snow
is deepest right now. One is in the immediate Calumet area and the other is
in the higher terrain along highway 26 from around Painesdale to just a bit
south of Twin Lakes. Since it is not a lot of fun to ride around the village
of Calumet all day, it was decided to meet up at Twin Lakes for the ride
yesterday. So I drove down in the morning and hooked up with Keith, Kris,
Mike and another, who I have forgotten the name of, sorry!
When I got there, Keith had already fired up his sled and
the new M and had them warming up, so we pulled it out of his trailer and
there I was able to feast my eyes on the
new ride- courtesy of Rt
Arctic Cat in Arlington Heights IL. I have to admit that when I saw the
bring lime green in the AC marketing material last spring, I was a little hesitant
to go that route, but then heard from a few that it looked better in person
and went ahead. I am glad that I did, because it does look better in person
and has already really grown on me and I actually love the color now. It
would be best that I not use it to rob any banks, but it sure will make it
easy to pick out in a group of sleds! Another cool thing is that this model
already came with the hand guards, a handle bar bag, tunnel bag, under the
hood goggle holder and ice scratchers. The scratchers, goggle bag and handle
bar bag all would have been things I would have added to the sled right away
and the tunnel bag is nice as it can hold a ton of stuff. So my sincerest
thanks to the boys at Rt12 for setting me up again this year and to Keith
for bring the sled with him. If you really and truly appreciate things, you
are not a spoiled brat, right?
Anyway, we all got geared up and ready to ride and hit
the trail. Kris was our leader for most of the day and knew a spot just up
the trail from Twin Lakes where we could jump off and head into the bush. It
is still a little thin to just be going anywhere off trail, but as long as
you know the route you are going to be on is free from land mines, then you
have have a bunch of fun off trail, which is what we did. Here we are taking
a little break at our first pit stop. After the quick break, we got back
to riding and reached a little creek crossing. Here is Kris
our fearless leader checking to make sure we could pass through without
Before we started out, I had explained to the others that
it was still early in the season and I was on a brand new ride, so I was
just going to take it easy while riding. I was true to my words for at least
the first 7 miles or so and then figured the sled was pretty well broken in
and decided to let
lose a bit. Another two feet and I would have had that hill, but you
know that maneuver was part of a practice session that Keith and I were
having. We hear that in the 2014 Winter Olympics they are going to have a synchronized
snowmobiling event, so we were just getting in a little practicing for that.
Look at this form
folks, we have a real shot at the gold if we can just keep in sync like
that through our whole routine. Sochi here we come!
Of course they do have a singles event and Keith spent
part of the afternoon practicing
for that. Here is a shot of Kris
heading up the hill.
After about 2 1/2 hours of playing in the woods, we popped out
in scenic Toivola and headed over to see Don and Donna at the Mosquito Inn.
It was my first visit in the place since they had taken over and I really
like the subtle changes they have made to the place. It is much brighter
inside and with Don and Donna being such friendly persons, the place just
seems to have a much more cheery atmosphere to it. We all sat down, had a
few sodas and enjoyed a great lunch. I sure am glad that they have done what
they did to the place and will look forward to future stops there to warm up
and grab a bite to eat.
Back out into the cold we went for a few more hours of
riding. It is amazing how less agile one gets on a snowmobile after filling
their belly with 3 diet cokes, an order of nachos and a cheeseburger. My
mind was telling my body things that it just did not seem to want to do. No
serious problems were encountered, but I did feel a little more sluggish on
the afternoon part of the ride. It also seemed chillier than when we rode in
the morning, I guess sitting right next to the woodstove in the Skeeter can
have that effect. In any case, I do not have any more pictures to share with
you from the ride yesterday. I can report that we all made it back safe and
sound and that the little bit of trail we rode on was in mid-season form.
Flat as a pancake and plenty of base.
I have not been out on the trails up this way since last
Sunday, but have made some drive-by's in the truck and it looks like our
base is also pretty good and the trails have all been groomed. The only thin
spot I know of for sure is where they just finished the re-route last
Tuesday. That is from just south of Mohawk down towards Calumet for about a
mile and a half. There is snow down and a base that is building, but it is
still thin, at least for what we are used to up here. The snow mat under the
lift bridge between Houghton and Hancock is not down yet, but the last day
for the bridge tenders was Friday, so it can be placed when ever the cities
can get to it. Plus you can cross the bridge just fine without the snow mat.
When I first started coming up here to ride, they never put the snow mat
down. So I guess what I am saying is that one should not really be
frightened of crossing the bridge right now and hopefully the mat will be
placed this week.
Not much else going on up here. I have been moving snow
on a nearly daily basis. Not tons of it, but a couple of inches a day. It
all adds up. I'd say that we are at about average or even slightly better
than average snow conditions for this time of the year. In most years, the
first part of December is always a little touch and go and then things
really start to get going the second half of the month and into January.
Right now it looks like some LES will continue to fall for the next two days
or so, then a break, but perhaps some more light system snow and LES for the
end of the week, with temps plenty cold. So our conditions will only improve
in the next week to ten day, not get worse.
I almost started writing the journal today without a
single picture of Gracie. However, just as I was going up stairs to start
writing, Nora gave her a banana to snack on. She took it and promptly headed
over to sit down with
her two buddies to eat it. By the time I had gotten upstairs into the
loft where my office is, she had made
herself comfortable with her good friend Huckelberry.
Before I sign off, I can announce that the Super 8 Hotel
in Houghton and the Best Western in Hancock are offering lodging specials
for anyone attending the Ride-In. So folks planning to stay there need to
mention they are up for the ride-in to receive the discount. Guess that
about covers it.
Good night from the Keweenaw..
It sure seems like it
has been a long week. I guess that's what happens after a holiday shortened
week before. Honestly though, the thaw we had back on Monday and Tuesday
seems like it was a month ago. We did take it on the chin up here, although
did not lose all of our snow. The Friday after Thanksgiving I measured
14" on the ground. We dropped a few inches due to settling and then
lost about 5 inches due to the warm temps and rain. Then it got cold late
Tuesday and even started to snow. That really froze up the old snow to a
hard pack base, although I was surprised that even as late as Wednesday
afternoon, I was plowing with the ATV and pushed back some plow banks from
the Thanksgiving storm and the snow down towards the bottom of the bank was
still soft and wet. All of that has since frozen up and we picked up a few
inches here and there this week and in the past 12 hours have picked up
around 3-4" of snow.
So we are rebuilding things, but not where we were on the
Friday after Thanksgiving. The good news is more snow just about all this
week, with perhaps a brief break Wednesday and early Thursday and then more
snow for later Thursday into Friday and the weekend. So it is winter up here
and looks to stay that way for the forecastable future. That's good, because
it seems like there is a growing number of sledders that want to come up
here next weekend to ride. I am not saying that conditions will be perfect,
but if all the snow that is suppose to does, then most areas in the Keweenaw
will be in pretty good shape.
This week also marked the end of main firearm deer
season, so the pups and I were able to get out and enjoy the woods again. I
was a little leery to go too deep into the woods right away because some are
still hunting with muzzle loaders and I did not want to bother them, so on
Wednesday, we just stayed on an unplowed road in Keweenaw County. There was
about 8-10" of hard and thick snow on it, but the truck had no problems
making it through. Then we just walked
in the tracks for about a mile or two, turned around and walked in the
tracks on the way back. That worked out pretty good, although the pups did
not stay in the tracks much. They were happy to be back in the woods and
On Friday, I decided to break out the cross country skis
and give them a whirl. I don't know exactly how long it had been since I was
on them, but I know for sure that I did not use them once last winter and I
think my skis were pretty limited the winter before because I did not have
my usual skiing partner with me (Burt) anymore and we got Huck and Millie as
the snow was melting and they were too small to try and keep up with me on
skis in the soft and deep snow.
So it was close to two years between my last ski and my
ski on Friday, but cross country skiing is not too difficult and is like
riding a bike. It all comes back to you very quickly- after you crash a few
times (just kidding about the crashing part!). What was funny was to see the
pups reaction to the skis at first. They had never seen them and when I laid
them on the ground to put on, they were sniffing them and trying to figure
out just what the heck I was doing. Then when I first got going, they looked
at me like "what the heck!", but after about 20 seconds, they
caught on and it was business as usual. We skied over to a section of the
snowmobile trail that is no longer being used due to a re-route. I was
actually a little surprised that no ATV or sled had been down it as I
figured some locals would still be using it, but I guess not. At least not
yet. Anyway, we had a beautiful
ribbon of white in front of us and got on with the afternoon adventure.
The skiing was pretty easy on the trail as there was around 7-8" of
hard pack snow underneath around 3" of fluff. However, the easy skiing
did not last all that long as I decided to cut back through the bush and
over to our property to get back to the cabin. That route provided some
downed trees and other obstacles to have to either go around or over. So by
the end of the ski, I had felt like I got a bit of a work out and on
Saturday, the back of my arms were a bit sore from having to help get me
over some of the trees. That and the fact that I took Nora's poles instead
of mine, so they were around 5" too short!
Yesterday Nora and Grace joined the pups and I on our
afternoon walk. A neighbor is still plowing out a path to his camp and we
decided to walk that path as we could be in the woods and let the
pups do their romping, but also still be able to push Gracie in the
stroller. It has nice big pneumatic tires and goes through the snow pretty
good. We all had a good time and Grace sure does love the outdoors. She
really hates to have to come in even after being out in the cold for 30-45
minutes. The walk yesterday also took us past a pretty special place for me.
A place that Burt and I used to go to a lot in our afternoon adventures. A
little pond in the woods that I gave the name Burt's
Pond to. Poor Baileys, all she has named after her is a big hole in the
ground left over from the mining era on our property. She loved to climb
down into it and explore, so we call it Beezy's hole.
Enough reminiscing for now I guess. I was going to take a short
ride on the sled yesterday. In the morning I had gone to get gas and trail
stickers for it, but then as we were finishing up our afternoon walk, a nap
just seemed to be too strong of a pull, so I decided to put off the ride
until today. I really was not planning on going too far, just enough to
"scratch the itch" so to speak. Then I got an e mail from a friend
that said he and another were planning on coming up my way and wanted to
know if I would join them. So I decided to hook up with them and take a
little ride. As I got to the point where the groomers come in from Mohawk, I
was happily surprised to see that the groomers had been out. A beautiful and
flat ribbon of white
stretched out ahead of me and I can claim to be the first sled down the
groomed trail in Keweenaw County this year. Maybe I have a plaque made or
I met up with Joe and Chris as they were unloading their
sleds, so I zipped around a bit and stopped to take a shot of the trusty camo
M out for the inaugural ride of 2010. There is a 2011 coming from Rt 12
Arctic Cat at the end of this week, so you may not see too many pictures of
the camo M this season.
In addition to it feeling good
to be back out on the sled, I can say that it felt really good to be doing
it in good health. Last year was really a struggle to even just ride down
the trail and any off trail stuff would just about knock me down for the
count, but even though this was the first ride of the season, I felt really
good while out there and really good once it was all over. Now I was only
out for about 2 hours, but could have kept on riding with no problems.
Once Joe and Chris were ready to ride, we headed off into
the bush. They wanted to do some exploring of a few logging roads in the
backwoods not far from me, so I said they could go ahead and lead and find
all the land mines and I would bring up the rear and pick up the pieces. No
land mines were found, but it is very early in the season to be riding the
backcountry. Still tons to look out for and some creeks and wet spots to
have to get through. We all had a good time, the sleds performed well and no
mishaps were had. Here is a shot of the
sleds and Chris at one of our brief stopping points.
We wound our way northeast up the spine of the Keweenaw a
bit and stopped again for a brief break. While out there, we got into a
pretty good snow squall, so I decided to take a shot of the
logging road we were on during the squall.
That is what is has done just about all day here. Snow
like crazy for about 5 minutes and then taper off some to a lighter, but
still steady snow. Pretty typical of what we call wind parallel lake snow
bands. If you are under the main band, it is snowing like crazy. If you get
out from underneath the band, it tapers off, but still snows. As mentioned
earlier, we have picked up around 3" of new snow here at our house
since this morning.
We also encountered the banding to the snow on our drive
to Hancock this evening. There was a Christmas party that we needed to go to
and we drove through about 3 bands of the heavier snow between our house and
Hancock. The party went well and Grace
got to meet Santa, although she was not too thrilled to sit on his lap.
Maybe next year.
Well, I think that about covers it for this one. I will
just make a quick comment on the little bit of trails I was on today. As
mentioned, the groomers are out from Mohawk north. All they did is run with
the drags and use the rear pans to try and pack down the snow. There are
still plenty of bumps on the trails as the trail underneath the snow is very
bumpy. I did not encounter any grooves left by the trucks from hunting
season, but there are a few wet spots that will be freezing up now that the
snow has been packed down and temps are in the teens tonight. I would say
where the trails have been panned by the groomers another 4 inches of dense
snow or about another 6-8" of the fluffy LES will be enough to allow
them to start using the blades on the drags and that will shave down the
bumps, but just beware that next weekend will likely still be early season
riding up here. As for the re-route. It is done and will be groomed as soon
as enough snow is on it. You can ride at your own risk on it. I do not know
when the protective mat of snow will go down on the bridge, but hopefully
soon. Again, it is open for crossing, but you do so at your own risk. I also
do not know when the trails from around Calumet south to Toivola will start
getting groomed, but I would say soon as they are very close to having
enough snow and new snow looks to fall early this week. I guess the best
advice I can give is if you are planning to ride next weekend, be prepared
for lots of different conditions. Unless we get dumped on and in that case
it could be awesome!
I do plan to ride next weekend as well and as mentioned
it should be on the new ride! Until then...
Good night from the Keweenaw..