Tuesday, August 14, 2012

North Country Gravel & A Little Party

Last week found me traveling north once again for three reasons. The first was to visit with my parents. I was also planning to attend my hometown's all class reunion to visit with friends that I haven't seen for a long, long time. The last reason and probably the most obvious one was to ride the gravel forest roads north of town.

After a late night with friends on Thursday, Friday found me getting up a little later and feeling a little more sluggish than normal. I guess that is what late nights with friends on the Iron Range, very little sleep, and a bit of alcohol can do to you:)

The weather had been perfect all week and the weekend would bring nothing but the same. The other benefit to riding the forest roads in August is that the hoards of horse flies and deer flies have generally fizzled out by now. This of course makes riding much more pleasant and enjoyable.

One of the best things about riding in this area is that it offers plenty of opportunity to get away from the main ribbons of gravel and explore.

It was on this lonely isolated stretch of gravel that I saw a large lone black wolf. It only stopped for a second to get a glimpse of me and then as fast as it appeared it vanished into the forest.
I shared this moment with some friends during the evening and was told that another rider had seen a group of four black wolves only about seven miles (as the crow flies) from where I had seen mine.

As the summer wains I now have thoughts of winter and riding fat bikes in this area. I can't imagine being in the forest without the prospect of seeing or at least hearing wolves. So, as you can imagine this whole wolf hunting thing really has me irked, and most folks who know me know not to even bring it up in conversation as I just did.

One of my favorite pieces of cycling gear is my Mountain Feedbag. It's awesome little piece of gear that always goes with me on these rides up north. It's large enough to care my Canon S95 camera and a variety of energy snacks. The one I have is an original one and they are now being manufactured by Revelate Designs.

Despite a slow start I ended up with 57 miles of riding on Friday. I have to say that my new Cross-Check has passed every test I've been able to throw at it. I still haven't had it on single track and highly doubt that I will, but for riding gravel this is one hard bike to beat.

Saturday would find me out on the gravel once again, but this time on my trusty ss 29er. I'm probably the only person I know that owns a tricked out Redline Monocog Flight. I absolutely love this bike and for the money it is one solid ride.

It is always easy to find some peace when one is amongst the pines.

A small blow down near Dark Lake caused by a powerful down draft from a thunderstorm. This area had seen some rather severe weather in the month of July.

This stretch of road has always been one of my favorites to ride. It's also one of the most picturesque.

I only logged about 35 miles on Saturday, but what a wonderful and peaceful 35 miles it was.

So, Saturday night found me gathering with my friends and a couple of thousand other people
who traveled home for Chisholm's All Class Reunion. It was one last night of celebration that was filled with a lot of hugs, kisses, and probably a few tears saying good-bye. No matter what anyone else says, I believe that no other Iron Range town can throw a week long celebration like my hometown can. It was absolutely awesome and one reunion that I will remember for a long time to come. My thanks goes out to all of the people involved in organization this event. It was absolutely awesome!!!

1 comment:

Ben Welnak said...

The whole wolf hunt is kind of sad to me as well. Just as they become established enough to be seen every so often, they're gone. I'm suprised by the fear that the strike in people...the only explanation I can think of for the source of hate towards them. People in the midwest are scared of wolves...ha. they should try going out in the woods with mountain lions lurking. Sad.