Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Let's Go Skiing!

Sunday was a lovely day. By lovely I mean the temperatures were in the twenties, there was very little wind, and there was no precipitation. A rare kind of day in January in the boreal forest of northeastern Minnesota. Since it was Sunday I also didn't have to be at my day job, just do a few things around the farm. The load of hay that we got on Thursday was all put away by Saturday afternoon, so I had a few hours of my own to enjoy on Sunday when I had recovered from the hay party.

I headed up the Gunflint Trail for a few miles and stopped at George Washington Pines to take a nice loop trail that is fairly flat for my first time on skis this winter.
I doubt that George Washington actually skied here unless he was getting acclimated to the winter for his Delaware River crossing, but they named it after him anyway.

I was the only vehicle in the parking lot and had the forest to myself which was kind of nice unless I got seriously injured and froze to death. I took my trusty TracFone which is what I used to take these pictures. I wanted to be sure I documented my demise for posterity.

Out on the trail I went. After about a quarter mile I ran across this by the side of the trail.
I wondered if the squirrels did it and if they ever take down their Christmas decorations. The trail was in good shape. As a multi use trail people can bring their dogs, go snowshoeing, or try skijoring if their dog is willing to drag them around.
There is a small lake just a few yards off the trail, but I decided not to venture out on it even though the ice is probably thick enough to drive on.
Then there are the pines. There is a stand of red pines that was planted, some about about a hundred years ago, after the earlier logging had taken everything available. They are coming along nicely, but I think they are protected now. Here are a few of them.
The trail was fast and there are just a few good downhill runs, but nothing too serious, and I managed to stay on my feet the whole time! My skis brought me safely back to the parking lot where three more vehicles had arrived and I said hello to an acquaintance and her dog before heading home.
Now I feel pretty confident about my replacement knees, too. It is supposed to be nice again this coming weekend. I wonder which trails I should try?


  1. I must look up skijoring. The kids use to have the dogs pull them on skateboards. So I assume this is something like skijoring.
    Of course the squirrels leave the decorations up. Makes the cold and grey January and February somewhat brighter.
    Lovely photos.

    cheers, parsnip and mandibles

  2. I wholeheartedly endorse your caution. He who is sensible has a greater chance of living to see another skiing day! Glad the knees worked right. Were you sore the next day? I only went cross country skiing a couple of times but as I recall it uses some different muscles from walking, although it's supposed to be similar to walking.

  3. Good for you and your knees, Jono! That little xmas tree is adorable!

  4. anne marie, Basically skijoring is being dragged around on your skis by dog(s), horses, snowmobiles, reindeer, or whatever else you can convince to pull your lazy ass around on the snow. Most people around here use dogs.

    angryparsnip, Doing it on skateboards could be a lot of fun as long as you remember to let go when you hit the pavement. Thanks for the insight on squirrel decor!

    jenny_o, Yes, I was a bit sore on the inside of my thighs. Guess I hadn't used those muscles for a while. My ortho doc gave me the okay to do low or no impact stuff as much as I want to. Walking, biking, x-c skiing are okay, but running, tumbling, hurdles, pole vaulting, and certain types of folk dancing are not a good idea.

    Debra, The little decorated tree in the middle of the forest was a treat that put a smile on my face immediately.

  5. You're a better man than I, Jono. I fall down on cross-country skis when ever I hit an elevation greater than 10 inches!

  6. Well done with the new knees and all! I used to love cross-country skiing, but I don't think I'll get many opportunities to do it out here unless I travel to the local ski hill (at a higher elevation than us). The rain is pouring down outside as I write this, and all my spring bulbs are poking their noses through the ground.

    Your photos brought back happy memories of XC skiing in rural Manitoba!

  7. Hi Jono, Glad to see you taking time out to ski. I was there with you in spirit. I put on my mukluks and went for a walk in my snow-laden woods tonight. The Great Horned owls were talking and the sliver of moon gave plenty of light to see by. So peaceful.

  8. I just pictured George Washington skiing in Minnesota. Thank you for the laughs!

    Does look very beautiful. Having lived there, 20s and not a lot of wind is perfect.

  9. I am so happy for you that your replacement knee takes you with skiing! And that you do go when there is weather and conditions for it. Going is the target, not making miles of it. Being out of doors in the winter is the best. No go make a habit of it!

  10. Professor, I find that hard to believe. This trail would have only dropped you a few times at most.

    Diane, So how was the transition to the Wet Coast? Seeing things come alive this early has got to be worth something.

    AK, Nothing like owls by moonlight. Unless the wolves drown them out.

    Riot Kitty, George Washington wandering around these forests had me giggling while I was out there. The squirrels probably thought I was a little odd.

    Onevikinggirl, I really need to be out there regularly or I get antsy. I can only be cooped up for so long.

  11. Glad you had nice enough weather to get out and do something fun. I've seen kids on roller skates getting pulled by their dogs on the paved trail around the lake where I walk and run. I always want to tell them that that's cheating. Ha!

    We had our January thaw today. It got up to 80 degrees.

  12. never been on a pair of skis and pretty sure I never will.

  13. Pixel Peeper, The kids getting pulled around by the dogs is probably fun. Hopefully they remember to let go when the concrete starts to shred their little knees.

    JACKIESUE, I will certainly never make you do anything like that.

  14. I had some cross country skis a long time ago and really enjoyed using them around the neighbourhood and also on the trails through the nearby York Region forest, but My skiing days are over now. Hitting the ground is not what my nice new hip wants to experience. However my 4 little grandies are really enjoying downhill skiing, they go with their other grandma and are getting quite skillful for little kids! Better make the most of winter while it's here!

  15. I'm glad your knees were up to the rigors of skiing. Since the only skis I've ever been on were toy ones on a tiny hill in Maryland many years ago, I don't think knee replacement would stand a chance of turning me into an old ski bunny now. (Besides, we don't get much snow in Georgia.)

    One of our local sports writers is in Minnesota in preparation for the Super Bowl, and in yesterday's column, he wrote about the weather. He was complaining about the cold, and one of the locals told him the weather was PERFECT... and just as you described it, sunny and in the twenties. She also pulled up the weather report for game day on her phone and told him the high was going to be 6, with a low of minus 3. "Hmmm," she said, "That's going to give us a bad rep." HA! What did anyone expect from your weather this time of year? I'm reeeeeeally glad the stadium is indoors. :)

  16. Shammickite, I am no longer fearless when I ski, either. I realize that I can be killed and keep that in mind when I try thr pursuits of my younger days.

  17. Susan, Last time I went to a Vikings football game it was in the old Met Stadium, outdoors, and I remember having to drink our beer before it froze. Now any fair-weather fan can go and watch at the fancy indoor stadium where the beer stays thawed. Realize, too that Minneapolis is 250 miles south of here. The speak with a bit of a drawl way down there.

  18. HA! Speak with a drawl, do they? Winters were more than cold enough for me when we lived in Maryland. I don't think I'm tough enough to brave weather with frozen beers and nostrils. :)

  19. That's fun and exciting - good for you, Jono. As a bonus, you found Charlie Brown's Christmas tree right where he and the gang left it (maybe?)
    Stay well, warm, and in good spirits.

  20. What beautiful country! Glad you can get out and enjoy it.

  21. John Gray, It's not everyone's cup o' tea, is it?

    Robyn, I thought I heard faint piano music out there. Some might say it's just the breeze through the whispering pines, but I thought I saw a cloud of dust moving off.

    Abby, The best part is that there aren't any biting insects this time of year.

  22. Sounds like a very pleasant day. Good weather, good knees and you didn't die! I hope your next day off is as nice!