Sunday, February 27, 2011

Skiing Castle Mound

Noelle Skis Drugan's

We finally got out to do some skiing (on something other than ice) today. We headed a short distance from Noelle's parents' house to Drugan's Castle Mound. They have a good restaurant there and also a golf course on which they groom some ski trails in the winter.
Noelle Skis Past Barn

With the previous days' snow we were excited to get out on the boards. Unfortunately the trails hadn't been groomed since the snow and the coverage was a bit thin with no discernable set tracks. Still it felt good to get out and slide around for a bit.
Castle Mound

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pearl Street Brewing

Pearl Street Glass

Today Noelle and I, along with Mom and Dad Theres headed into LaCrosse to the Pearl Street Brewery. We had a little bit of trouble finding the brewery at fist, but eventually we located it inside the old LaCrosse footwear factory. We went on a tour of the facility and sampled their different ales. A good time was had by all.
Eric Pearl Street

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Book Across the Bay 2011

Book Across the Bay 2011

Headed out to Washburn, Wisconsin today with our friends Amy and Jamie for the Book Across the Bay ski race across the frozen Chequamegon Bay.  The conditions were less-than-ideal after temps in the mid 50s earlier in the week.  The surface of the lake was not snow covered, but instead almost completely ice. The groomer did his best job to try to get the course skiable, but the conditions were still very bad. We still managed to have fun though, and the results can be found here.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Skiing Mother Bear

Skiing Mother Bear

This morning Noelle and I headed north our of Duluth on some county roads we had never been on before. We were headed towards Brimson, Minnesota and the Mother Bear Ski Trails. The drive was scenic and took just about an hour. We arrived at the parking lot to find two other vehicles parked there. It looked like we would have the trails virtually all to ourselves.

We started our ski on some gently undulating bumps. The trail was covered with quite a bit of debris which made for some sticky conditions in places. Also, the set tracks were a bit shallow. Things went pretty well, despite the less-than-ideal conditions until we got to trail junction 6. Here the trail got a bit more difficult with some steep hills and sharp curves. We survived our ordeal, but I don't think we'll be heading back to Mother Bear anytime soon.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Gooseberry Ski

Noelle Skis Gooseberry

Today Noelle and I headed out to Gooseberry Falls State Park for another cross country ski. For all the time I've spent in the park, this was my first time skiing there. Conditions were okay. They weren't great due to the warm temperatures and resulting soft, sticky snow, but it was nice to get out and explore a bit.

We started out by heading up to the highway bridge. We crossed the Gooseberry River on the pedestrian walkway and headed upstream. We got close to Fifth Falls in a hurry. It's a lot faster skiing to them than to hike to them. We initially bypassed the falls heading to the far northwestern part of the park. The trails were freshly groomed and the downhills were nice, though a bit slow due to the snow conditions.

We soon started to follow the river downstream to the footbridge which crosses it just above Fifth Falls. The falls were, of course, frozen. The water level was much lower than it had been on our previous trip to the falls and I decided to take the opportunity to explore the ice caves there a bit.
Eric in Ice Cave

I entered the largest of the caves and it went further back than I had expected. The floor of the cave was covered in ice and was slanted uphill a bit from the entrance. I had a really difficult time getting traction on the ice with my ski boots and my exploration was thus a bit shorter than I would have liked. There were some really interesting frost formations on the ceiling of the cave though.
Noelle Thinks I'm Crazy!
Noelle though I was crazy for going to the ice cave!

From the river we headed downhill back to the visitor center. This part of our trip went awfully fast.