Last day of
the month, so it must me time for a journal. Actually, if I did not
do not tonight, I do not know when I would have time. Hooking up
in the afternoon with a snow tour and then out all day Saturday on another
and if we get hammered later Saturday and into Sunday (as looks possible)
I will want to go bust powder Sunday, soooo here I am.
Went for a ride yesterday.
I did get to try out my new head gear. Worked good. It took
some getting use to, but now I like it better and I am going to love it
in the powder. We did not do that much deep powder riding yesterday,
but in the powder we did ride in, no problems. Yesterday's ride was
different from the day before. The snow had settled some and we did
not ride in too many areas where it would have been deep. We did
get in some jumping, here's Brian
catching a bit of air. Here's everyone swirling
around at 6's and 7's. Here's Al
catching a bit-o-air. Looks like his carbides are just fine.
After playing in the
fields for a while, we headed into the bush. I did not have much
of an opportunity to take many shots when we wee doing that riding.
We were always moving and I need some time to get the camera out of my
pocket, turn it on and snap a shot. Not something that can be easily
done while twisting and turning through the trees. We got to some
hills and proceeded to get stuck while trying to climb them. At one
point, all three of us were stuck and that provided enough time for me
to snap a shot. Here is a shot of Brian
with his stuck sled, next to my sled that is also stuck. I almost
made it, but it did get a
little steep at the top. The second attempt was successful, I
made it to the top.
Today was a work day.
The past 2 days of playing caused tasks to pile up and so I had to stay
in and get them done. Turns out I had too much to get done because
I still have some left undone and after I finish this journal, I'm heading
off to sleep. One of the jobs left to do is add some guest shots.
So if you sent me some shots and they have not yet shown up, have faith,
they will. I did take time off from my work for long enough to take
the hounds for a ski. They had to settle for some short walks the
past two days because of my snowmobiling so I wanted to give them a chance
to get out into the wood and get some exercise as well. We went off
to the school forest.
This weather in the
Keweenaw never ceases to amaze me. An arctic front was passing through
and it created some real funky weather. All morning I watched some
interesting features develop out over the lake in association with the
front and cold air behind it. In order to see these features, I had
to use the satellite imagery. Anyway, what I saw was both a convergence
band and also a meso low. I''ll give you a bit of a meteorology lesson
on both. A convergence band is a band of clouds and sometimes very
heavy lake effect snow that develops in an area where the winds near the
surface are converging. The converging winds cause the air to rise
and that rising motion when combined with other favorable factors for lake
effect snow can cause some pretty heavy snow. The shot in the past
front of house shots section taken Feb 3rd was when a convergence band
was passing through. Today's' convergence zone passed through at
about 2:45. right when we were on our ski. 5 minutes before it hit,
the skies were actually partly cloudy and the sun was actually out.
Then the skies off to the northwest darkened, just like a summertime thunderstorm
and within a minute or two, some flakes were falling. Then after
about 20 seconds of the start of the flurries, the snow started really
coming down. I could actually watch the snows float to the ground,
with mainly clear air at one level and an almost white out further above.
When the heaviest band finally reached the ground, it was like a
whiteout. 1/8 mile S+ (eighth of a mile visibility, heavy snow).
This particular convergence band was not too wide, only about 10 miles
or so, so the heavy snow did not last too long, maybe 10 minutes, then
the sun was out again. Within another 20 minutes, several more snow
squalls hit and then at about 5 pm, it just kept up snowing and we have
picked up about 4-5" new.
The other feature,
the meso low forms when the cold air moves out over the warmer lake waters.
The warmer waters cause the air to rise and that rising motion causes a
small, or meso, low to form. It will show up on a satellite image
as a small swirl in the lake effect clouds. I did capture a satellite
image this afternoon that shows both of these features. The convergence
band is just below the text saying convergence band, while the meso low
is just to the upper left of the text saying meso low. You can also
see some clouds in the far northern Arrowhead of MN and just to the north
of the Arrowhead. That was an area of mid level moisture and lift
that became our snows from 5 pm through present. Pretty neat stuff
huh? Well, at least I think it's cool.
The snow made for a
very enjoyable ski. It is always fun to head off into
the woods and quietly glide through them, but it becomes extra special
to do it when the snows are falling too.
I have only one more
item to share with you. I got an e mail from someone that asked if
I could post a message in hopes of contacting some good Samaritans that
helped him out. So bear with me here, if you are the persons he is
looking for or you know of these people, go ahead and contact me and I
will pass along his e mail so that you may contact him. Here is his
message: "Two years ago (1-15-00) I wrapped my XCR 800 around a tree at
80+ MPH. Lucky to be alive, I laid there with a compound fracture
of my femur and a shattered hip. By some stroke of luck, a couple of paramedics
and their families happened to be the next group of sledders coming up
the trail. These guys stabilized my leg, their wives laid their coats over
me, and in general, were able to convince me that it would all be OK. They
told me they were from down state, as am I, however I didn't get any names
or numbers. They stayed with me until my buddy returned with the ambulance,
and I never saw them again. I was hoping that maybe they would read this
and contact you so I could somehow try and thank them in person. The accident
(my fault) happened at just before 11:00 A.M. on 1-15-00 approx. 5 miles
South of Taquamenon Falls on the Newberry trail.
Looks like that is
it for now, until next time...
Good night from the Keweenaw.
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which helps to make johndee.com
It's winter up here! In the past 3 days we have picked up about 18"
here at my house and I can tell you that there is a lot more up in the
higher elevations of Keweenaw County. We were up there riding today
and it was fanny deep. Before I get to the ride, I have a picture
to share from a ski the hounds and I took yesterday. We had already
picked up about 7 new inches of new snow so the woods
were very pretty. The trees were getting pretty flocked and everything
had a nice coating of fresh snow on it. It was a good ski, a little
tough as the snow was a little sticky and deep, but we got through just
Now on to the ride
today. As I said, we have picked up about 18" new, 7 of it was pretty
dense snow that fell by yesterday morning, then 7 of it fell as powder
by this morning, with another 4 during the day today. It was snowing
pretty hard where we were riding and I bet that they picked up closer to
20-22". It was just 3 of us, friends Ken and Bryan. Ken lives
in the Lake Linden area and rides a souped up MXZ 700, Bryan is actually
the local DJ who I talk about the weather with live on the radio every
morning. If you are up here during the week, tune in 97.7 at about
10 till 7 and you will hear me live. Bryan rides a Mountain Max 700.
I decided to head north because the way the lake effect was setting up,
I knew that areas north of Mohawk would be getting pounded. We took
the bush up into Keweenaw and stopped to take a break and snap a picture
of the fresh powder.
It wasn't too long
before we were in one of my favorite play spots, the pole line. It
also did not take long for Kenny to roll his sled, once we got out onto
the pole line. Here's a shot of Bryan
and Kenny trying to roll the sled over. No damage done, as the
powder was deep enough to absorb the windshield and hood without crunching
them. I rolled my sled later in the ride and did not have any damage
either. The roll over did not dampen Kenny's spirits at all and soon
he was back at it - busting powder, flying
some jumps, and getting
stuck. Deep huh? After getting him unstuck, I walked into
the trench and he took a shot
of me in it to illustrate how deep it was.
I have to say that
in a way, I almost wish it was not that deep. I have a heated shield
on my helmet. It has worked very well in keeping the shield from
fogging up. Today it broke and was a disaster. As soon as we
got into the deeper snow it fogged up and I could not get it to unfog,
no matter what I did. Put it on the engine to thaw it out.
Dried off the shield, it did not matter, it would fog up in a matter of
seconds once the powder started flying over the sled. And I mean
flying over the sled. Here is a shot of me
riding through the powder, you cannot even see my sled. I also
encountered a problem with my sled. The air filter that sits under
the dash of my sled and catches the powder trying to get into the air box
is missing, so the sponge filter sitting on top of the air box would fill
up with snow and choke my sled. I ended up fouling several plugs
due to this. So while it was fun, it could have been better without
these problems. I ended up having to ride with the shield up.
Every time the nose of the sled dropped just a bit, the snow would hit
me in the face and I had to stop and wipe off about an inch of snow from
my face. My eyes are still a little sore from the snow hitting them.
Seeing as though it
is still snowing and I will be riding in some deep powder tomorrow, I went
out and bought a new setup for my head. Thankfully Keweenaw Motor
Sports was still open and I ran up there and they took good care of me.
I have heard that wearing an open face helmet with goggles almost guarantees
that you will not fog up so that is the new setup I have. I'll tell
you all how it works after tomorrow's ride. I have seen others riding
with that type of setup and they did not have fogging problems. I
could also have bought a modular helmet, but that seemed a bit expensive
and fragile way to go. With the type of riding we do, it seemed like
the open face was the way to go.
Bryan seemed to be
feeling a little left out so he went and got
himself stuck too. It did not seem fair to only have a shot of
Bryan getting stuck, so I also snapped a shot of him busting
Both Bryan and Ken
had fogging problems and believe it or not after about an hour playing
out there, we all decided we had had enough and headed back down to the
DNR trail. We rode that for a bit, then stopped off at a bar to warm
up and thaw out a bit, then headed back home. All in all, it was
a great ride, we were basically making first tracks the whole way and the
snow was deep. Plenty deep. I am glad that we did not overdo
it, as I feel ready to go tomorrow. I plan on going Friday, Saturday
and Sunday too. Maybe Thursday will be a day of rest. Maybe.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
I have to start
this entry out with an apology. In the past few journal entries,
I had some shots of the trails up here. They were all of the same
trail and showed a trail that was flat and nice and snowy. Well,
it turns out that there were other areas that were not quite as good.
We had a KSE tour yesterday and I went along for part of it. On my
way home, I took the trail for a little bit and what I encountered was
not good at all. The trail from Gay to Mohawk was bumped up pretty
good. Not a disaster, but still not to be fun on. Then when
I got to the main trail that runs from Calumet to Mohawk, it looked like
a dirt road and not a snowmobile trail. My first thought was of the
pictures I posted, showing nice, flat and white trails. My second
thought was - I have to ride in that crap?! I rode through the snow
and mud for about a mile or so and then hopped off on a "short cut" down
to Lake Linden. The short cut had plenty of snow, some bumps from
other locals riding it, but at least snow and not mud. So I am sorry
if I misled anyone as to the conditions up here. It was certainly
not my objective, I thought I was showing what the majority of the trail
system was like and I was wrong. I did shoot back up to the trail
where I took the shots and it was worse than when I had taken the pictures,
but still was about 90% snow and about 10% dirt and pretty flat.
It has been snowing
since late morning. Initially the snow was only accumulating on the
snow already on the ground. Temps were just warm enough to cause
it to melt on the roadways and vehicles outside. Areas where the
snow was accumulating, it was about an inch deep by about 3 pm. At
that time, the temps cooled enough to allow the snow to accumulate on everything
and we have picked up about 3-4" since then. So it is snowing at
the rate of an inch an hour. Not torrential, but a respectable clip.
It looks like we will probably be in this snowfall rate for at least another
5-7 hours, then it will lighten up a bit, but I would bet that we should
pick up an additional 5-8" on top of the 3-4" we have already received,
making for a 8-12" snowfall by tomorrow morning. We could pick up
a few more inches tomorrow and then the lake effect looks to kick into
gear by tomorrow evening and continue through most of Tuesday. I
would suspect another 6-12" of LES could fall, maybe more if we are lucky.
Needless to say I am
a happy camper, but I was a little anxious for it to come today.
It had been over 3 weeks since we saw more than 3-4" fall at a time.
A rather long dry spell for this neck of the woods. I was happy to
see other areas like northern WI and the central and eastern UP get their
heavy snow, but I was wondering when, or if we would get ours. Initially
it looked like this storm would miss us to the south and east, giving us
a glancing blow and 1-4" of snow. Then the models started to shift
the band of heaviest snow north and west. I started to get excited
by this prospect yesterday and when I awoke this morning and looked at
the satellite, radar and computer guidance it looked very good for us here
in the Keweenaw. The radar did show echoes over our region and from
about 8 am on, I kept looking out the window about every 3 minutes to see
if it was snowing. This started to drive me a little batty, so after
having breakfast and taking the hounds for a short walk around the hood,
I decided to focus my nervous energy on something productive, so I started
cleaning the house. After cleaning the kitchen from top to bottom
I turned my attention on the bathroom, then the living room, then my office,
then my bedroom. I even ended up shampooing the carpet in my bedroom.
A few weeks ago I bought a carpet shampooer and it has turned out to be
a great investment. Makes my carpets look like new and it is so nice
to not have to rent one. Anyway, it did start to spit some flakes
at about 9 am and then by noon it became actual light snow. Like
I said, it did not start to accumulate on everything until about 3 pm,
but we are going good now.
Back to yesterday's
KSE ride, we did have a pretty good ride, considering the conditions.
We went over to a secret play spot to do some jumping. This place
is so secret that most locals do not even know it is there. Kind
of nice, because we can almost always be guaranteed to be the first tracks
in there and there are some nice hills and gullies to play in. Here
is a shot of one of our clients
catching a little air. Here is another, without
the air, but a face
full of snow. You know you're having fun when you end up with
a face full of snow. After the secret play spot, we took to the bush
and found some untracked logging roads to play on. I am glad that
guys like Al and Brian know the bush so well up here. With the lack
of snow and warm temps in the in the past 3 weeks, it has become a real
challenge to find fresh snow. Some of the more popular spots for
locals and visitors that venture into the bush are more like ungroomed
trails. All packed down, but bumped up too. With the next few
days presenting fresh snow, that will not be a problem for a week or two.
I just have one last
shot to share, I actually took more, but for some reason they did not turn
out. It was to bright out in the field to view the taken shots through
the LCD. I wish I had been able to tell because they were shots of
Al catching some big time air. Oh well, just gives us an excuse to
get back out there and do it again. I have already talked to him
and it looks like we'll be heading over Wednesday. I hope to ride
before that for sure! Here is the last shot, a group
photo taken on the south shore.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
The hat trick!
Sheesh, when was the last time I did that? Don't answer, I don't
want to know! This will likely be a short one as I don't have a lot
to share with you, but Brian and I took a ride and did some playing and
I took some shots, so I thought I would share them with you. I was
going to go on a KSE ride, but they already had two guides going and I
thought three would be a crowd. Brian actually came over at about
midday and said he and another of our friends were going to go for a ride.
He told me he was heading over to Phil's fields to play and wanted to bring
the camera along. I said "Sure, you can bring the camera along, but
it will be in my pocket!". He got a chuckle out of that and had no
problem bringing me along. As it turns out, the other rider Ron did
not make it, so Brian and I were going it alone.
I needed to get to
Brian's as fast as possible so I did ride the trail part of the way down
there. I have to say, that the section of the trail I rode was in
great shape. Only one area that was a little bit of snirt (snow and
dirt), it was a hill after a turn. Otherwise, things
were mint. Obviously I did not ride the whole trail system, so
I do not know how the rest of the trails are, first hand. However,
I have heard that many other areas were in decent shape too. They
do seem to be getting out and grooming more and I do know that the sections
from Hancock to just south of Mohawk has been getting groomed at night,
so maybe things are improving on that front.
Anyway, I had never
been to Phil's before, at least by sled. I have been to one of his
neighbors, and I know Phil, so I knew where it was. Brian told me
that the fields were untouched all season, so I was looking very forward
to getting out into them to play. Upon arrival, we stopped at the
top of the play area to take a before
shot. He really has a beautiful view from his location.
That little white dot on the left side of the horizon is Mt Bohemia.
It is actually not totally free of trees, there is actually more trees
then clearing, but the white of the clearings for the runs stuck out the
most. Just to the right and out of the shot you can see Lake Superior
and the Huron Mountains. Not too many views like that up here, that
is for sure.
The view was nice,
but we came to play, not sunbathe, so we fired up the sleds and headed
down into the fields to play. Most of the hills and gullies were
not steep enough to catch real big air, but were fun to hit and pop
a wheelie at the top. Here's
me. Here is one
from a more distant vantage. The field would have been even more
fun with a foot or two of fresh powder and big curled over drifts.
The snow out there was virgin, but was still fairly panked down by the
warm temps and rains we had a few days ago. We did manage to find
a few large curled over drifts and Brian proceeded to get his sled
stuck at the top of one of them. He was actually standing in
the snow up to his waist. Brian, having seen me climb the drift to
get to the top to help him unstick his sled, could not walk away without
getting to the top, so he gave it one try and I
captured it for you all. Bet Arctic Cat could use that one for
a promo. I'm sure we will for KSE!
There was one place
where the slope and height of the hill was just enough to get
a little air. Just a little. It's still fun to jump, although
you will not see me catching big air anytime soon. I learned my lesson
on that topic. After about 30 to 45 minutes of playing there, we
had had our fill and decided to find some other places to play. Not
before taking an "after"
shot of the fields. Like I say, if we get some decent powder,
Phil's fields will be an even more fun place to go and I bet I will not
have to twist Brian's arm too much to get out there if the forecast pans
out. I really am trying to keep from getting too excited and am doing
ok so far, but if what the models are saying will happen is being said
in another 48 hours or so, I'll be going nuts. Time to go build a
fire and cuddle up with the hounds. Oh, it's 21.8 degrees, has dropped
3.9 degrees since I sat down to this entry.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
in a row?! Yep, We got some snow, I took some pictures, so if figured
I would share them with you. Not a whole lot to talk about. 24.8
degrees and dropping. We picked up about 5" of snow today.
Actually, about 4 of it came from midnight to 8 pm, then we only got about
an inch since then. That's ok, the 5 we got was enough to cover up
all the brown and make riding good again. I did not go riding, but
I could tell by looking into the woods and at the trails. It was
a very pretty wet and heavy, stick
to everything snow. That was a shot of some apple trees about
a block away from my house that the hounds and I walked by on our quickie
morning walk. Instead of a coffee break, I take a quick, 20 minute
walk break with the hounds. They are so cute and so smart, they actually
know right when we are going to go and wait to hear me push my office chair
back away from the computer to get ready to go.
With the fresh snow
and temps below freezing we were able to go for a ski. I decided
to go on a local trail through the woods that we sometimes use for KSE.
I figured with 3 tours going out today (our busiest day of the season),
one of them would have taken the trail and panked 'er down for us. I
was right. It was a great ski, we took our time and just enjoyed
the freshly fallen snow and the flakes that were still flying. Something
very relaxing and invigorating about the
woods after a good little snowfall. About my favorite thing is
when the snow sticks to everything. We even had some snow
ghosts in the making. I say in the making, because we need about
another 30 or 40 inches of snow to make them true snow ghosts. That
is when they are completely encased in snow. It will happen up here
once or twice in an average year. The main problem is usually not
the snowfall, but the wind. We did have some back after the big snows
between Christmas and New Years.
I think we may be in
for record snows for March and April. Why? Because my bush
protection system broke yesterday. It was fairly loaded with snow
and with the rain was really sagging. One of the 2x4's in the horses
was warped and was causing the whole assembly to lean, so I tried to give
it a push and straighten it out. There was too much snow to budge
it too far, but I did get it to move a bit. That movement was enough
to push the warped 2x4 past it's stress tolerance and it broke. That
caused the others to have to take more weight and some of them also broke.
So I am now without a bush protection system over one side of my front
bushes. That is why I think we will set new records for snow in March
and April, I hope.
Well, not a whole lot
more to talk about. Looks like it could be a good period to come
up here. Lots of other places to ride, so we could be a little more
quiet up here than usual. I heard Eagle River picked up 16".
Looked at the web cam and it was hard to tell from that. Actually
it did not really look like 16" fell, but it is possible, snows were falling
all day. Lots of snow fell in other areas of northern WI and the
southern UP too, so there will be lots of options for folks to choose to
ride in. Glad the other areas will be able to get some business.
Better late than never. I plan to ride tomorrow and also over the
weekend, so I'm sure I will have some new shots to share with you.
Looks like some new snow coming this weekend and next week too, so maybe
some nice powder shots.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
Just when I
thought this winter could not challenge my patience anymore! Yesterday
it got up to 51 degrees with bright sunshine. I took the dogs for
a walk down a road that goes through the woods out to a camp. Someone
keeps the road plowed, but there is also a nice snow mat down. I
take them there when it is too warm to ski and the roads are wet in my
neighborhood, that way we can get in a nice walk without them coming back
soaking wet from the melting snow and road grime. About 5 minutes
into the walk I ended up taking off my jacket and had on just a t shirt
(as well as pants and boots) and was not cold at all. I must say,
the sun and warmth did feel good, also quite strange. I was also
in pretty good spirits, thinking that any snow that would melt in the warmth
yesterday would be replaced 5-10 fold with the new snow today, tonight
and tomorrow. Well, as fate would have it, this storm is turning
out to be more of a dud and a stud. Actually, we have yet to get
into the main snow area, that will come later tonight and through tomorrow,
but hopes of 10"+ of snow have gone pretty much by the wayside and it looks
like we should be very happy if we pick up 4-5".
Today it rained most
of the day. Temps were below freezing at the onset, so some freezing
rain fell, but then temps climbed to about 35-36 degrees and the liquid
crap fell most of the day. Not very heavy, but I tell you what, there
is nothing more dreary about a day of light rain with temps in the mid
30's over a dwindling snow pack. It was all I could do from going
nuts. I have less than 11" in my yard, a ridiculous level for this
time of the year. Last year I had 35" and even two years ago I had
27. If course, two years ago we were about to loose almost all of
our snow in a week of 50 degree+ temps. Until we get through about
a dozen more years without loosing a decent February snowpack in a weeks
time, I will always be cautious of any thaw that occurs in mid February.
It has just started
to snow, still a wet snow, with the outside temp at 33.4 degrees, but snow
just the same. The extended forecast looks very good, but I have
been down this road way too many times this season and I will just hold
back my excitement until I have to move over a foot of the white stuff
from my driveway. I don't know which would be worse, to just never
have anything to hope for, or to have snow promised and then taken away
like it has been occurring this year. How about just being surprised
with 3 times as much snow as we thought we would get? Running out
of time for this year.
I was sent an interesting
article from the "New Yorker" about how some scientists are studying the
glacial ice in Greenland, hoping to better understand the history of our
climate. It reminded me that for the past half million years or so,
the earth has been in a cycle that is made up of about 90 thousand years
when glaciers cover 1/3rd of the land mass, then the glaciers retreat rather
quickly and the earth is in the "warm" period of the cycle to about 10
thousand years. The current "warm" cycle the earth is experiencing
started about 10 thousand years ago. You do the math, I'll keep my
eye out for the glaciers!
I'm wondering how many
of you were wondering how I knew it was 33.4 degrees when I mentioned it
a few paragraphs back. Well, I received a clock/thermometer from
a friend as belated christmas gift. The clock is really neat, it
picks up a signal from the National Institute of Standards and Technology-Time
and Frequency Division. Some folks in Colorado Springs CO that spend
their entire day just making sure that we are keeping time correctly and
then use a transmitter to send out a signal that can be picked up 2000
miles away to tell clocks like mine what the proper time is. Kind
of neat to know that at least one clock in the house is dead-on accurate!
Of course now I have no excuse to be late, give and take of life I guess.
The clock also has a indoor thermometer and a remote outdoor thermometer
that transmits to the main unit. I got it going yesterday and watched
the temp climb to 51 degrees, then drop off quickly yesterday evening after
sunset. This morning, the outside temp was 26 degrees and I had hopes
for snow today, but as mentioned, the freezing rain and then rain came
instead. Right now I find myself looking up at the outside temp every
minute or two, hoping to see it move off of 33.4. It did, it is now
33.3, were on our way! Getting this thing has really stirred up my
interest in getting a weather station. I have the money, I just need
to bite the bullet and get one. Would be neat to display the data
on the website too. Of course I would also like to get a new digital
camera, a hot tub and also save for some property I know about. HMMMM...decisions,
It did stop raining
long enough for the hounds and I to take in our afternoon walk. I
choose the road out by Calumet Waterworks because I knew it might be wet,
but not muddy or grimy and that it would also be protected from the winds.
Even on a dreary, rainy, flat out ugly day, this place is still
beautiful. The hounds had a blast smelling things that have been
uncovered with the snow melt. Weeks of scent accumulation all revealed
to them in 2 hours. I sure wish that I could tell what they were
smelling. Makes me jealous sometimes. No other pictures to
share with you. The trails are hanging on in most spots. I
even had a friend that was out riding last night and he said the trails
down in the Hancock, Calumet and Lake Linden area were groomed last night.
There are some bare spots, mainly south of Houghton, between Houghton and
South Range. Some corners are bare too, but given the amount of traffic
and weather conditions, I am surprised that there is any snow at all on
Hopefully I will have
some fresh snow shots to share with you very soon. Still 33.3 degrees.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
Holy wa was
it busy up here yesterday. I took part in a poker run to benefit
the local animal shelter up here and we did spend some time on the trails.
Much of our riding was still done in the bush or on some "local" trails,
but when we rode through Calumet yesterday afternoon, I have never seen
so many snowmobiles in one spot. At one junction, there must have
been over 100 sleds. As you might expect, the trails took it on the
chin. Huge moguls all over the place. I sure did give my suspension
a work out! The moguls were not the fault of the groomers.
I don't know how much grooming they have been doing, but no amount of grooming
could be expected to keep up with the load of sleds tearing up the trails.
Just thinking about all of those sleds yesterday, I still cannot believe
The poker run was a
success. Only two sleds out of the 20 went down, one had it's suspension
snap in two and another had a stud rip a hole in the heat exchanger and
ended up melting down. My sled hung in there just fine. I am
really amazed at how that thing just keeps on chugging right along.
10,000 miles and still starts on the first pull! It was a long day.
The ride started out at about 10 am and did not finish up until about 10
pm. Needless to say, I was not in any big rush to get back on the
sled today, although I am looking forward to getting out later this week
if we get some snow as advertised. I don't want to get everyone's
hopes up too much, but it looks like the most winter-like pattern we have
seen all season may develop by the end of this week and continue for most
of next week. I'm not holding my breath of this one, the way this
winter is going, but sure would be nice. I still would like to get
in a few more powder rides.
I did get out for a
bush ride on Thursday. Brian, another guy and I took a ride in the
bush. Since I am the one carrying the camera, I am usually the one
taking the pictures. The most opportune time to take a shot is when
someone gets stuck and the riding stops long enough for me to get out the
camera and take a picture. Since I am taking the picture, it is usually
of someone else that has gotten stuck. Well, Brian seemed to think
that you all would like to seem me getting stuck and on my first stuck
of the day, clambered for the camera to get a shot. So here is my
stuck of the day. The snow was still fairly deep out there, but
that is not the reason I got stuck. I actually managed to have my
go under a log. The rest of the sled would not fit, so I came
to a rather abrupt stop. I was standing on the sled and when it came
to a stop, my body wanted to keep going. I hung on tight and
managed to stay with the sled, but my body did lurch over the windshield
and at one point, my legs and feet were parallel to the ground. Thankfully
I was not going too fast. However, even if I had flown over the top
of the sled, I would have been ok. It would not have been the first
time I did that!
The ride on Thursday
was mostly picking
our way through the trees again. Lots of work, but lots of fun.
In about 3 hours of riding, we put on about 15 miles or so. I did
manage to get stuck
again. This time it was two logs right in a row. My skis
made it over the first, but when my track got to it, all it did was spin
on the wood. No studs to grip the wood. Not sure why I took
this next shot, I guess it was to show
what were riding in and where we were headed. It is fun to see
the expression on peoples faces as we pop out of the woods and cross the
trails as they ride along. They must think we're nuts. Maybe
we are, but is still is fun riding. By the time we are done I can
barely lift a finger, but it is a good tired.
Of course I was not
the only one getting stuck. There is one that could be titled "tree
1, sled 0". I still had one more stuck left in me for the ride
and Brian made sure to capture
it for all of you. On this one, we had a hill to climb and as
I headed up it, I started to get sucked towards the trees, so I just laid
off the throttle. One of the little "skidder trails" we headed up
came to a sudden end at the top of a deep gully. This
shot does not really show it, but it was about 100 feet to the bottom
of the gully. Those were Brian's skis in the bottom of the shot.
Too many trees to try and get through, so we pulled it back and headed
back down the way we came. If there was a way to get down, I am fairly
confident that we would have done it, there was a fairly clear way to get
up the other side. I probably would have taken a few tries to get
up the 35-45 degree slope on the other side, but we were up to the challenge
Well, I don't have
much else to share with you. We did have some weird white stuff falling
from the sky yesterday and overnight. Not sure what it was, but it
piled up about 2". Weird winter that is for sure.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
I was not crabby this morning! Yep, it was a Wednesday morning, we
got missed by a storm yesterday and I was still in good spirits.
Of course I could still have used some "therapy" by going for a ride, but
most of my riding partners were busy, so the hounds and I took a ski instead.
I suppose I was in such a good mood because I have finally been able to
climb the mountain of work I had in front of me for the past week.
I had a big report to do and that caused me to also fall behind on other
projects. So I suppose the fact that I finished that report and knew
that I would be able to get on top of the other stuff today was a big relief.
As mentioned, we got
missed by another storm. What is that, the 5th or 6th? This
was a real dud, at least snow wise. It was blowing so hard, that
it was really hard to measure. The NWS has a co op observer in Lake
Linden that reports from time to time and they reported 3" with the system.
I am not going to say that they did not get 3", but to me it seemed like
more like 1-2", but never really piled up because we had winds of 35-40
mph, gusting to 50-60 most of the day. What I did was take the .05"
of liquid equivalent the automated station at the airport reported and
multiplied it by 30 (the standard snow to water ratio for lake effect snow)
and arrived at 1.5". Seemed about right to me anyway.
Thankfully the winds
did not knock out the power. It would have been a cold day if it
had! The strong winds were the main reason why we did not get much
snow. The strong winds caused the lake effect clouds to never get
too well developed by the time they got to the Keweenaw and many of the
other traditional LES belts of the UP. They did manage to reach some
areas that are not as common. Places like Sault Ste Marie.
I do not know exactly how much they got, but for much of the morning they
were reporting moderate to heavy snow, so I think it is safe to say they
picked up more than our 1.5-3".
There sure are a lot
of folks up here scratching their heads about this winter. Nobody
has ever seen one like this. I suppose that the same can be said
for just about the whole Midwest this year. I know my folks live
on a like in southern WI. The mild winter two years ago was the first
time that anyone can remember the lake not freezing over in all areas.
It did freeze over in the shallower bays, but out in front of their house
it was still open water. Well, this year the lake is still all wide
open. Some of the bays froze early in January, but then opened up
and were still open as of a few days ago. Up here, the lakes are
mostly frozen, but it is the road crews that are looking for something
to do. The guys in town came down the road looking for snow to move
and seemed to move one pile to another spot.
The hounds and I have
returned to the school forest for our skis lately. Sunday of last
week (last big snow we had) there were some boys from the school out there
packing down the trails with some snowmobiles and they did a great job.
Then earlier this week we went out and the trails were still in great shape,
so we have been pretty much sticking to that area. We have carved
out a nice loop and the hounds and I seem to really enjoy ourselves.
I forget if I mentioned that on one of our sunrise skis about a month ago,
we happened along some deer and what I thought was a coyote. The
dogs did not see the coyote, but I did and when we got up to where it was,
I was able to gauge it to be about the same size as the dogs and it's paw
marks in the snow were at least as big as the paw prints the hounds were
leaving. After telling some friends about what we saw, they said
it was more likely that I saw a wolf, a young one, but a wolf. I
guess coyotes do not really get as big as the hounds, even really big coyotes
and their paw prints are small. Anyway, when we came along it, it
was bedded down under a pine tree and it looks like it might still be using
that spot, when we went by it the other day it looked used. Here
is Burt checking
out the spot. I have also heard others seeing a wolf or two in
that area, so maybe it was. When we were riding in the bush Saturday
Al pointed out some bear tracks! Very strange to have a bear out
in the winter, but not unheard of. Hope it is not sick or starving.
Today the hounds and
I actually went for a ski on a different trail. It is the trail that
the old groomer used to use to get from his house to the trail. It
is a nice trail that weaves it's way through the woods. The other
nice thing is that we have been the only ones making
tracks on it all winter. Even though we are hurting for our version
of winter, I can be very grateful for the snow we do have and that it is
enough to play in. I really cannot complain. Things have not
been that bad this season, it just stings a little when I think of the
possibilities. Hey, at least I am walking around on two good legs!
Good night from the Keweenaw.
Boy how things
can change in a week. Just a week ago, we were in the middle of a
good old fashion lake effect snow event and the forecast looked pretty
good. Well, the forecast changed and we went through all of last
week without a lick of new snow and even melted some off and settle even
more. Really felt like spring last week, I'm not ready for spring
yet. Maybe in a month or so, but not yet.
I was glad when the
weekend arrived, I needed a break from the daily workload. I do make
time for some play everyday too, but for some reason, I just felt like
I was running out of steam. I did not exactly have a do nothing weekend,
laying on the couch or something like that. Went for a ride both
today and yesterday. Two very different rides. Yesterday's
was pure back country bush riding and today's was a nice ride down the
club maintained Dreamland trail and then back up the DNR trail to Lake
Linden. Both fully enjoyable, but at opposite ends of the spectrum
as far as type of riding is concerned.
When I say pure back
country bush riding, I mean just that. The only time we even touched
a DNR trail was when we rode across it on a 90 degree angle, once heading
up and once heading back down. Three hours of picking our way through
the woods, climbing hills and gullies, crossing creeks and getting stuck.
Lots of getting stuck. I think that in that 3 hours we only put on
8-10 miles, but I used skills that I have not used yet this season.
Some big time sidehilling was one of the first tricks called upon.
Heading down the side of a hill, both feet on one running board and leaning
way off the sled to keep it from rolling down the 100 foot hill and smashing
into a thousand pieces. I wish that I had gotten a picture of the
hill, it was a bit nerve wracking. If I had lost my balance or something,
the sled would have been totaled, but the good thing is I would have been
After the little side
hilling adventure, we picked up a few more riders and it was off into the
bush to dodge trees, stumps and anything else that might be lurking out
there to spoil the ride. Most of the "trails" we were riding down
were not really trails at all. They were basically areas where the
were far enough apart to fit a sled through. That was Al, hung
up on a hill. He got stuck the most because he was leading.
Even with the thaw and settling we had over the past week, there is plenty
of snow in the bush. Most areas we were in had 16-24" down.
That is enough to get stuck in.
When I say bush riding,
sometimes it takes on a literal
meaning. That was our path through the bush, we cam up from the
gully in the left-center of the picture. I suppose we really need
logging permits when we go out riding! And those were the small trees
we went through! Did I say we got stuck
sometimes? Al again. After a ride like that, we were all
basically worn out after the 3 hours we were out there. But it was
a good tired. Plus we did get to see some pretty
sights. Things that not too many people get to see, both visitors
to the area and locals.
Today's ride was way
different, but just as enjoyable. We picked up about 2 inches of
fresh snow overnight, which was enough to paint the area in a fresh coating
of white. It also was enough to cover the roadways. I usually
do not have to worry about the amount of snow on the roads in my neighborhood,
but since Wednesday, we have had lots of sunshine and that has been clearing
them off. Good for driving a car, but not good for the carbides on
my sled. I just put new ones on this year and am afraid that I may
need new ones for next year. I know I may sound like a spoiled brat
here, but heck, that is one reason why I moved up here... To have fresh
snow to ride on all winter long. My partner for the ride today was
Chris from the White House Motel. Last weekend I headed up his way
to ride, so today he was gracious enough to come south to ride. I
thought that we would hit the trail that our local snowmobile trail maintains.
It is called the Dreamland trail because it rolls past the Dreamland Hotel.
The hotel is not a hotel at all, but rather a restaurant and bar.
The trail itself is
much different from what I call the DNR trails. The Dreamland trail
is much more narrow and also has lots of twists and turns. For those
reasons, your speed is much slower as you ride it. Some spots are
barely wide enough to fit two sleds through. However, because you
ride slower, you also get to take in the scenery, and
scenery it is. Also, because the speeds on the trail is slower
and it is not as heavily used, it is usually in better shape than the DNR
trails. Of course, it can get bumped up too, but usually is in pretty
good shape. Today it was in great shape, we actually passed one of
the groomers (utility snowmobile pulling a hand made drag) as we headed
south, down to the Dreamland. If you take the Dreamland trail and
like the trail you are riding on, stop in at the Dreamland hotel and make
a donation to the
club. It is the one I am a member of, not as active as I was
a few years ago, but still a member, and we get no grants to maintain the
trails. Our club pays for the groomers and insurance for the private
property owners the trail crosses by hosting fundraisers and taking donations.
After my ride today,
I took the hounds for a ski at the school forest. Got to try out
the new skis. Initially, I was not happy with them. The main
reason is that the trails out there were actually in awesome shape and
my old setup would have worked great. The setup I have now will work
much better for when I have to break trail. Plus, the new setup includes
new boots than need to be broken in, so I was not as trilled to be on the
new skis, boots and bindings as I could have been, but I did start to get
used to them by the end of the ski and I know I will not be disappointed
with them. I may start bringing both setups and choose the one that
will work the best for the given situation. How's that for a spoiled
cross country skier?
On the weather front,
we have a couple of weather systems headed our way. I am trying not
to get too excited about them. This winter has tempted me with way
too many promises that were not delivered. I'll take what we get
and make the most of it. Basically because I have not other choice,
not because I am this happy-go-lucky guy when it comes to getting missed
by snow storms.
Good night from the Keweenaw.
Sorry I've been
away for so long, but things have been busy. I have been working
on a special project for one of my customers, taking care of the regular
day's business, as well as answering the daily barrage of e mails I get.
Now don't get me wrong, I love to get e mails, so keep 'em coming.
I also try and reply to every single one, even if it is just to say: "Thanks".
I feel that my time is no more important than any others and if they take
the time to write me, I can take the time to reply, but sometimes that
means a lot of replies! Just today I have 25 items that have been
sent out and the evening is still young! Plus, in the past 2 days,
I have posted 7 different guest shots, so I thought that I could take a
a day or two off from the journal. Been quiet up here snow wise.
No snow since early Monday, almost time to hit the panic button!
Just kidding, I'm not even close to panicking. However, in a place
that it usually snows 4 out of 7 days from early December through mid March,
this 4 day dry spell is unusual and not welcome, especially this year.
Maybe I jinxed us,
on Tuesday, I went and bought a new pair of cross country skis. They
are "back country" skis, meaning that they are shorter and wider.
I almost bought a pair that had steel edges, just like downhill skis, but
for the $50 additional cost, I figured that I would not need the steel
edges that much. Of course with new skis, I needed new boots and
bindings too. Actually they are just as important as the skis, so
it was almost a requirement. So now I will have better maneuverability
in the bush. The shorter length will allow me to make more dramatic
turns and the wider width will support me better in the deep backwoods
powder. The boots are the biggest change. They have tons of
support, almost like a hockey skate, but with a flexible hinge at the instep
to allow for movement. My old boots were like gym shoes and had no
support what so ever. Kind of made for an interesting ski when I
was going down a serious hill. Not too many serious hills in the
places I was skiing, but I do know of some places that I want to go, but
refrained from going because of the hills. Now I can tackle them!
Before buying the new
setup, I did take one last turn on the old setup. Actually, I will
hang onto the old setup just in case I need a back up, or I find it better
in certain situations. Anyway, I had to run down to Houghton to take
care of some things Tuesday, so I decided to take the hounds with me and
then find a place to ski down there. I do not know of too many areas
down there where we could go and either not be run over by a snowmobile
or yelled at for having the dogs there, so we chose Mc Lain State Park.
It is right on the shores of Lake Superior and has some ski trails that
are groomed, but almost no one goes out there because there are some great
trails right in Hancock. So I knew we would stand a great chance
of being the only ones out there. I was right. Only one other
car and no signs of who it belonged to.
This turned out to
be an interesting place to ski because we had some winds on Sunday that
blew much of the snow from the ground. Really a strange site to see
ground up here. Something we have not seen for almost two months
and hope not to see for another 2 months. Of course, where there
were objects that could slow the wind speed and allow the snow to settle,
it was quite deep.
There really was not enough snow to ski on going north from the main entrance,
so we headed back and I decided to go south, past the main entrance to
the park. More snow there and a great
trail. We even came across a 6
foot drift that sat just off the trail and lined a grove of pine trees.
The trail seemed to go on forever, maybe it was because we had skied north
first, but I did not seem to have the energy to find out how far south
it went. I could have made it all the way to the end of the trail,
but the first rule of exploring a trail, whether it be a groomed ski trail,
or one you make in the bush, is to remember you have to get back too.
So the hounds and I turned around after what seemed to be about a mile
of skiing south and headed back. Maybe sometime we will go down there
and see just how far it goes.
I'm not sure what has
been my problem with the past two Wednesday mornings, but they have just
been bad to me. Actually I don't think that it is the day's fault.
Somewhere I read that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react
to it and I totally believe in that. However, the past two Wednesday
mornings have found me in a really foul mood. I think that it may
have something to do with the weather. Yesterday I knew we would
have a thaw to get through, which is never fun, especially this winter.
Last Wednesday I think I was bummed because it looked like areas like northern
WI, the southern UP and northern lower MI would be missed by the snow storm
and that would mean a busted forecast and no snow play for folks that were
looking forward to it in those areas. Plus, I think both day's I
also had lots of work to do and was crabby about that. Anyway, I
feel sorry for the dogs, because when I am crabby, I am crabby! I
never hit them, but sure do loose my patience with them a lot quicker!
I think that they can actually tell because Baileys tries to act even goofier
than she normally is, all in an attempt to get me in a better mood, while
Burt basically stays clear. Unfortunately, he usually stays too clear
and I get upset at him for not sticking close by on a walk or something.
So yesterday, when
a KSE tour failed to show up (shame on you!) Al was also kind of crabby
too. He had scheduled the day off and thus missed a day's worth of
work and income. We both decided the medicine we needed was to go
out into the bush and ride like a couple of rebels. Word spread quickly
what we were up to and before we knew it, our group of 2 has swelled to
6. All but one of the riders were KSE guides so I knew that the ride
would be fairly intense. Getting these guy's together usually leads
to some very interesting places to go and some riding that most would never
think of doing. Not that is is all that dangerous, but you do need
to be on top of things. No drifting off into some other thought.
You are looking ahead of you the whole time, planning your next move, all
the while performing the move you just thought of about 2 seconds ago.
Perfect medicine to take your mind off everything but the moment you are
in. By the end of the ride I had a grin ear to ear and felt as good
to be alive as anyone possibly can.
Now did you really
think that I would talk about a ride like that and not share some shots
from it?! Heck no, I brought the camera along. I knew that
there would be some historical and hysterical moments to capture and I
was right on both counts. The other thing that usually happens on
these rides is that riders are lost through attrition. Not usually
because the rider is injured, but because a sled breaks down. So
far I have been lucky and never had anything serious happen to my sled.
Brian, one of the KSE guides had just bought a neused (new to him, but
used) sled. An Arctic Cat 700 Powder Special. Before we took
off, bets were placed as to how long his sled would last into the ride.
For some reason, Brian is particularly hard on sleds. So far this
season he has gone through 1 main bearing, several chains and a few gears.
I'm sure there is more, but that is what I have been privy to. After
the bets were placed we all fired up the sled and took off.
There is something
extra special about riding with good friends, especially these friends.
I felt like some kind of team, or maybe more properly with this clan, special
ops group. Out to perform our mission for the day. The first
stop was to be at a friends house up the valley. It is only about
3-4 miles as the crow flies, but is about 10-12 as the sled flies, and
I do mean flies. Someone should really shoot a video of the group
finding their way through a thin patch of trees, up a gully, or over a
creek. It becomes sort of an unspoken challenge to find the most
difficult way to get through, not the easiest. All of these guys
are much better riders than I, so I usually end up with the easiest route
through, but they are pretty forgiving of this transplanted flatlander.
This is really only my third year of any kind of serious riding.
Before that I would come up once or twice a year to ride for 3-5 days and
that was it for the whole year. I suppose that maybe I should be
that guy shooting the video. Anyone taking a shot of me would either
put the audience to sleep or create one heck of a bloopers tape!
We did make it to our
friends farm up the valley, but not before loosing the first sled.
Broken steering. We would loose some more temporarily on the ride,
for things like broken clutch springs, belts and other various breakdowns.
But in the end, only that first sled and rider had to call it a day.
The friend we were visiting is also a rider and a good one at that.
When he saw Brian's new sled, he had to give it a try. There was
still some fresh snow to play in out there and here is one shot of him
in the snow. What my still camera cannot show was that he was
doing about 40 when making that turn. I can make turns like that,
but at a much slower speed! I asked if he could take one more "spin
around the block" so I could get one last shot from a closer vantage point
and not run me over and he
obliged. Yes, I know, no helmet. Please no e mails.
I do not condone riding without a helmet, but thought the pic was a good
one. A few more laps and he did take a wipe. Not a bad one
at all, he was fine and so was the sled, but it also provided a good photo
op. Here's a shot of Brian's
Powder Special cooling off after it's romp in the field.
We did manage to pull
ourselves away from the sun tanning session and fired them up for phase
two of the ride. Remember when I said you really need to be on your
toes on these rides. Here is an example
of why. That was Brian. He was leading and either made
the move he was actually planning for, or planning the move he should have
been making or did not plan for the right move. In any case, he ended
up in the ditch, stuck. There are not too many times he gets stuck
and I am high and dry, so I had to take that picture.
The rest of the afternoon
was spent busting 7 foot drifts, or flying through a field or weaving our
way through a forest. Never a dull moment and usually not enough
time to be able to capture the moment with my digital cam. We did
get to a place where we could all pick a way through the forest to the
top of a hill. Here is a shot of a
little knob and some trees to find your way through. The nice
thing about riding in places like this is that there are not too many people
who know about them (locals included) and even fewer that are crazy enough
to ride them. That means the snow has been untouched all season.
Which can also lead to some getting
stuck and a break time.
Like I said, all the
rest of the sleds and their riders survived the ride. I can honestly
say that I was totally pumped after the ride and had completely forgotten
why I was so crabby earlier in the day. Good medicine. Maybe
we should start calling our tours "therapy sessions". Could probably
charge more and maybe even have your insurance pick up the tab!
thaw, the snow atop the Blazer began to shift. Not just some of the
snow, but the whole slab sitting atop the truck. When I went out
to take the front of house shot this morning, I saw the slab
hanging off the side and thought you all might find it interesting.
I did manage to get the rest off this afternoon, so if we do not get any
snow overnight, you all will be able to see the truck without snow on it
in tomorrow's front of house shot. Now there's something to keep
you tossing and turning all night long, Eh?
So we do have some
new snow that looks to be headed our way this weekend and hopefully some
more early next week and again towards the end of the week. I hope
so. I am not ready to say good bye to winter. In reality, February
is still in the thick of winter and this season the lake is still totally
wide open, so it is poised to make the LES as soon as the next cold air
surge spills in from Canada. I suppose in a month from now, I will
have to resign myself to the fact that spring is fast approaching.
I just hope for a cold spring, so we can ride well into March and maybe
early April. That would make up for the slow start. Then it
can all melt in a week or two at the end of April and we can break out
the golf clubs and fishing poles. Tonight, after I thank God for
my health, for where I live and how I get to live my life, I think I will
slip in that little request and see if it gets granted. Never hurts
to ask, right?
Good night from the Keweenaw.
beginning to look like the Keweenaw in winter up here! Snows have
been falling for the past 3-4 days and it is getting deep. Friday
we picked up about 3" in the morning and another 3" overnight, then a couple
of inches Saturday and since last night, well over a foot has fallen.
The snow piles are not yet obnoxious (almost a given up here in the winter),
but are bigger than you will find just about all places of the Midwest
and many places in the US. Hopefully the forecast will play out and
in another week to ten days they will be obnoxious! I have not been
wasting all the wonderful white either. Friday had a KSE tour and
then skied and rode both Saturday and Sunday. Needless to say, I
am one tired pup, but it is a great tired.
Saturday morning the
hounds and I got up early and went for a ski. Not early enough to
be a sunrise ski, but still early enough for things to be very quiet everywhere.
The woods are always
quiet, but even town was quiet. It was also pretty cold, good
for skiing though, with my skis not sticking to the snow at all.
We went for such an early ski because I had an all day ride planned.
One of my neighbors is gracious enough to come over and give the hounds
their afternoon walk and then come back later and give them their dinner.
That is a huge help for me, as I can then head out and not have to worry
about getting back to do that.
The ride Saturday was
one of the best I have had in a long, long time. I mentioned that
we picked up about 3" Thursday night and then about 3" Friday afternoon.
Well, up north, they had been getting a lot more. I saw the measurement
from Phoenix Farms jump up to about 30" by Friday evening, when I was still
in the low teens at my house. So the plan was to ride up to meet
Chris from the White House Motel and do some bush riding up north.
I did not take the trails much to get there and was glad that I had not.
The stretch around Mohawk was a disaster. What do I consider a disaster?
Well, when the moguls are so big that your sled actually has to go up one
and then down another like a boat on the open ocean. Here is a shot
of Chris on his sled
sitting in one of the moguls. Nice huh? Welcome to the
Keweenaw, enjoy your ride! Actually I should not be quite so hard
on the grooming going on up here. They have been going out and the
trails have been ok, but that section was most certainly not ok.
It did get groomed later that morning, but by the evening was actually
bumped up again. On weekends, we have so much traffic on the main
trails that they cannot hold up. Today was a perfect example.
We made the first tracks behind the groomer this morning at about 11 am,
then by about 3 pm, that same trail already had enough bumps on it to make
it somewhat unpleasant to ride. I tell folks that the trails can
change almost by the hour up here and most don't believe me, but it is
true. Weekdays are much different. The trails will generally
hold up for a lot longer.
Thankfully we did not
have to spend much time at all on the DNR trails. There was powder
in the bush and we were on a mission. Chris and his crew from Mohawk
have found some nice trails north of Mohawk and he took me up there to
play. Man was it deep up there. 2-3 feet covered everything
in sight and we were breaking trail in about 14-16" of fresh powder that
was sitting on top of about 2 feet of a hard base. Here is a shot
of our sleds at rest, taking a break from pushing
powder with the bumpers. Here is another
shot of the powder we were riding. I have to add that I hope
the guy who was going to come up here and ride with us, but opted to go
to Eagle River WI with his buddies, had a good time down there, because
we had an awesome time up here! I totally understand the desire to
go with a big group of friends and there is no hard feelings what so ever,
but man, did you miss it! Better powder than we rode in between Christmas
and New Years. It was a little deeper then, but no bottom.
With a bottom now, it is harder to get stuck, and also most of the obstacles
are covered. However, there is also plenty of powder to float the
sled. Even enough powder to make for a very soft landing after catching
some air. By the way, that was yours truly in that jumping shot.
However, I was very careful to make sure the landing spot was clean.
What happened one year from tomorrow has not escaped my memory just yet.
Doubt it ever will.
We ended up riding
to Lac La Belle and did spend a bit of time on the trail up that a way
and the trail heading from Gay to Lac La Belle was in pretty decent shape.
At Lac La Belle we met up with some friends and the 4 of us took the bush
back to Mohawk. It is so nice to be able to get out there and do
some solid bush riding. We put on 100 miles yesterday and about 90%
of it was in the bush. For anyone that has been on a KSE tour, you'll
know that 100 miles of bush riding is a lot. Probably equal to about
300 on the groomed trail. That same group of 4 went out today as
well. I cannot speak for all the others, but I know I was a lot more
tired today and took it pretty easy. I think that the others felt
the same though as they also were pretty mellow. However, not totally
without some spunk, at least enough to have to do a little
We also got back early
today. Yesterday I got back at about 6 pm and today was home by 3.
It has really been coming down in Lake Linden all day. We are now
at about a foot of new snow for the day, with 25" on the ground.
It started to really come down at about 8 am this morning and by 10 am
we had picked up about 6". There must have been a lull in the activity
because there was only about 2-3" new by the time I returned home at 3.
However we did have more snow here at 10:30 am than points north did.
That is not a very common occurrence. Then when I got home, it really
started to come down again. We even had a really heavy squall come
through that lasted for about 15 minutes, but we got about 2-3" in that
time. Another thing that I tell people about is how hard it can snow
up here. I'll say that you loose sight of objects that are only about
200 feet away and I don't think that too many people believe me.
However, here's a shot I took while the
squall was going on this afternoon. My house was only about 100
feet away at that point. Believe be now?!
I was glad to get back
early, so that I could take the hounds for a ski
at the School Forest and also get my work done early. I am writing
this while watching the super bowl. The snow is still coming down
heavy and I am in great spirits. Checking the forecast, things look
pretty good. There looks to be a few more clipper systems somewhat
similar to this one in the cards and it looks like other areas of the Midwest
will also see some snow. The best way to put it is that it looks
like through Valentines Day, mother nature wants to make up some of the
lost ground incurred in December and January. Hope everyone did not
put their winter toys away just yet!
Good night from the Keweenaw.