Monday, January 17, 2011

A Real Northern Minnesota Winter

Just a bit of info from the weekend...Several inches of snow Friday night, beautiful day Saturday, -32 (F) in International Falls on Sunday morning, anther 4"-8" of snow today. I was fortunate enough to squeeze in a 3.5 hour ride on Saturday and spent the rest of the weekend sitting in the nursing home with my father, visiting with mom and siblings, and evenings out with friends listening to great music and having a few cold ones.

I think the photos speak for themselves. It was a very memorable ride. To be honest...most of the time my thoughts were on my father who is very ill, but recovering, and my mother who is worrying herself ill. The ride was a good escape for me, and it did provide me with a chance for fresh air along with helping me to relax. However, I've realized that this whole biking thing can easily become a very selfish endeavor.

With my father's condition I know that I'll be spending a lot of time up north, but cycling will no longer be my focus. Oh! I will ride my bike, but the Lafamilia has to come first. I'll get my rides in whenever possible and more than likely many will be at night due to other things filling my days. I was fortunate to get out on this particular day.

In three and half hours I encountered only two vehicles and absolutely no sleds (snowmobiles). I don't like to ride on the snowmobile trails in this area which on the weekends have hundreds of sleds flying down them. Also, they are not expecting to see someone on a Pugsley when they come flying around a corner. So, why take a chance when there are miles upon miles of forest roads like these to ride? Some would say, "Why have a Pugsley if you're not going to ride off road?" I say, "Why not?"

Many of the unmaintained roads have snowmobile or 4 wheeler tracks that one may be able to ride, but I've been sticking with the main roads as of late.

The conditions people in the northern Minnesota are currently experiencing remind me of growing up there. Our childhood winters were filled with weeks of steady below freezing temps, snowbanks you could not see over, people with little orange balls on their car antennas, trees popping from the cold, frozen nose hairs, and a lot of very squeaky snow.

Stories abound about how harsh the winters used to be up in this area. Recent winters have been somewhat tame. There are reports that this will be a very hard winter on this past years deer fawn population. People are speculating that not many of them will make it because of the snow depth in the woods.

There are endless miles of forest roads just like these to be ridden. Many are not maintained during the winter months, but the main roads are, and there are many of them. Imagine what summer riding would be like. This area could be a playground for gravel grinding on a Salsa Fargo. Hmmmmm...Now there is an idea.

I just don't know how anything could get more beautiful unless of course you threw some mountain scenery into the background.

I have to say that I do love winter and aside from everything else going on this has been one of the best in quite some time. I'm looking forward to the sub-zero weather because I know that the multi-use trails at the local park back here in the cities will as firm as pavement and very fun to ride at night during the week.

The forecast is for -15 (F) -26 (C) this coming Thursday night. My wife has her book club and I am planning on being out on the trails. I no doubt will have them all to myself.


karen said...

This post has convinced me to take a few days off and visit N Minn for some snow biking goodness. I was up in that area this past summer riding the forest road on my Fargo and it was awesome.


Vito said...

Karen...It truly is a beautiful place in both winter or summer. Hope you can make it up this winter. It's been one of the best ever.