After a quick continental breakfast, we packed up the car and hit the road headed south back towards Duluth. We did, however, have some fun planned for the day. Our first stop was in the Kabetogama Lake area where we decided to ski the Echo Bay Trail. The difficulty was not noted on any signs or literature and the start of the trail while not well groomed seemed easy enough. The skiing would get quite difficult later though.
The difficult skiing included skiing over downed trees, over rocks, and down very steep grades with sharp turns at the bottom. While I had a difficult time but was surviving well enough, Noelle was having a terrible time. She spent a lot of time pushing herself up off the ground. I felt bad for her. If I had known the skiing was going to be so difficult I would never have brought her there. We survived the skiing, but it was slow going. It took us close to 2 hours to ski 3 miles.
After the ski, neither of us was ready to go home and so we drove over to Ash River to snowshoe the Blind Ash bay Trail. While we had no need for the snowshoes on the Olberholzer Trail yesterday, I was glad we had them today. There were some tracks to guide us but they were covered in about six inches of snow. The ranger at the VC yesterday said that they had no measurable snow in two weeks, so it was obvious that we were the first people back there in a long time.
The trail felt remote. Every now and then you could hear the whine of a snowmobile off in the distance, but I got the feeling snowshoeing there that if one of us got hurt, it would be difficult to get out or find help. Noelle was moving pretty slow as well. She had used up quite a bit of energy on our ski trip.
At about the halfway point of the hike, it started to snow. At first the snow was light and pleasant, but then it started to snow pretty steadily. I was actually quite relieved when we made it back to the parking lot. It was only a 2.8 mile hike but breaking trail in the snow made for some tough hiking.