Friday, March 15, 2013

Lutsen to Bally Creek

A long days work over the hot snow. Explored a possible connection between Sugarbush Trails and Lutsen Road. Ended at Bally Creek Trails north of Cascade State Park.

Connecting Sugarbush to Lutsen
It's five km from Sugarbush to Lutsen Road. Several years ago a Nordic ski trail was maintain between these points.  A new golf course followed by condo developments ended this connection. And, locals tell us, this old connector is grown over and blocked by wind-fall. Tim, Kathy and I skied westward from Onion River Road on Oberg Trail then turned south, breaking trail. The snow was deep and going rough. It we after a while we gave up, knowing we had many km to explore further up the Northshore and Gunflint Trail. Next time we are going to solve this connection with by snowshoeing the Superior Hiking Trail from Onion River to the top of Lutsen ski area where there is a restaurant with a view.

Breaking Trail

Lutsen to Cascade Lodge
This day was a glorious Blue Extra day. Sunny with clouds later. This section is long and rolling through Cedars and mixed forest with more views of Lake Superior. Groomed for classic and skate.

The Nap
Stop at our room at Cascade Lodge for a snack and a nap - not just any nap - and not a simple Churchhill power-nap. This was a nap of legend. One our children will tell their children about. We woke alert and ready for more skiing.

Cascade State Park
Refreshed we worked through a network of classic only tracks until we joined the the connector trail to Bally Creek.

Cascade River State Park

To Bally Creek Trails
This 10km classic only connector is a continuous uphill, forested, quiet trail. Even though we were racing to beat the setting sun we enjoyed this calm, gentle stride session.

For Friday we are search for a route to Devil Track Lake and a unplowed road called 154, which will move us northwest to the Gunflint Trail and, finally, to Bearskin Lodge.

Bally Creek Trail

Bally Creek Cabins


Product Review
Atomic Skintec again

Kathy is Skintecs along with Tim - Kathy said when she first tried them "Tony you won't believe these things". Since I am the only one on this trip without Skintecs I watch Tim and Kathy stride up and glide down the North Shore trails ahead of me. The Bally Creek Trail is over 10km of nearly continuous climbing. Late in the day the temps climbed to the mid thirties I selected my light-weight fish scales. I could, kind of, keep up with them on the climb but when we hit the flats at the top they double-poled away as I worked to keep up. They disappeared around the bend and I skied the last few km alone. Members of Team Skintec were smiling waiting when I got to the car. I was breathing hard and spitting phlegm. I imagine I had just as much fun, however.