Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Koochiching State Forest: Tilson Creek Trails

Not the best ski conditions today, but I am really just itching to get out on the trails. Yesterday I went and purchased my Great Minnesota Ski Pass and so today, despite the howling wind, I headed over to Tilson to give skiing a try. It snowed a little bit last night and so when I arrived at the trailhead I found that the classical tracks were a bit filled in.
Tilson Trailhead
Still, it felt good to be outside. The only section that was groomed was the first section of trail. That turned out to be okay though, since the warm weather (it was 31F after a week of temperatures hovering around 0F) made the snow stick to my skis.

The trail was easy and traversed some pleasant scenery.
Tilson Trail
The grooming ended at a trail shelter
trail shelter
and so I headed back the way I had come. My curiosity got the best of me at a trail junction and so I took a short section of ungroomed trail into a tamarack bog to have a look around.
tamarack wetland
I quickly turned around and then headed back to the car. Not a bad first trail ski for the season, but we are in desperate need of more snow if we want some better conditions.

Update December 30th:

 We were authorized early leave today. Normally I wouldn't be able to take advantage of it, due to the fact that I've got a visitor center to keep open. Today, however, a coworker offered to staff the visitor center and so I headed off to do some skiing. Today I made it around the Orange Loop. I moved pretty fast through the Green Trail,
Tilson Ski Trail
which I had skied 10 days ago, and checked the map posted at the shelter before decided to take the Orange Loop. There were some steep hills on the Orange Trail, but nothing that I couldn't handle.  Soon enough I made it to the junction with the Blue Trail
sign to VOYA
which leads to the Rainy Lake Visitor Center. I opted to save that trail for a different day though.

I continued on the Orange Loop, up and down some nice hills. Eventually I found myself at the top of a steep hill with a chair off to the side of the trail.
have a seat before hill
Maybe to sit down and take off your skis if you don't feel comfortable skiing down the hill? After a bit more skiing I made it to the tamarack bog that I had skied a short way into last week,
tamarack bog
and then I was back at the parking lot. A nice ski in light snow and somewhat cold temperatures.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Voyageurs National Park: Skiing the Rainy Lake Recreation Trail

With snow falling outside,
I figured it was time that I got back on my skinny skis for the first time since I skied extremely marginal conditions on Roan Mountain on the North Carolina/Tennessee border back in January of 2014. It was pretty amazing how quickly the technique came back. While conditions weren't optimal, there was enough snow to make first tracks and glide.
on skinny skis
The views off to the side of the trail were pretty awesome too!
view of Krause Bay
I think I will make skiing the Recreation Trail a regular activity. That is, just as long as footprints and other uses do not making skiing too hazardous. After all, the trail is open to multiple uses and is not groomed for skiing. This first ski trip for the season has me thinking about future adventures across the frozen surface of Rainy Lake to Oveson's Fish Camp and Cranberry Bay.