Sept 21, 2013

I arrived early on Saturday morning and parked at the far end of the Northeast Extension.  The main goal for the day was to ride as much trail as possible with the backpack/chainsaw and clear some recent windfall that I had been hearing about.  Started out heading southwest, checking/clearing the trails on the north side of the Northeast Extension, either side of the Bigtooth Ridge Road and the combined bike/ATV trails along either side of the Net Lake Road to the gravel pit parking lot.  There were a lot of puddles to go around but there wasn’t much to cut.  The logger near the gravel pit parking lot is going to town, making the whole area look different.  I hope that he’s only working the south side of the road where there the trail is just an old logging road but I have my doubts.

From the parking lot I headed back to the truck for a little break.  From the truck I headed up the Hungry Bear Trail and noticed a DNR barrel at the south end declaring it closed.  Huh??  The Bear needed minimal clearing but the clearcut at the north end needed some attention (i.e. throwing off some more logs and sticks).  There was a spot where it is easy to confuse the new logging road with the new trail alignment that needed someone to drag some slashings across so that riders will stay on the trail and not take the road.  Needless to say I did a whole bunch of dragging.  I took the Bear to the spot where it spills out on the snowmobile trail and turned around and rode it back to the south end and on to the Yellow Birch heading north.

I rode down to the Blackhole Corner and followed that singletrack trail, then on to the bike/ATV Iron Gate and then onto the Iron Pipe, where I started to meet other riders.  The Iron Pipe had a bunch of windfall including a giant, old popple leaning over the trail.  The trunk was about 5′ up and it was thicker than my 16″ chainsaw bar was long.  I cut it carefully trying extra hard not to pinch the saw in the beast.  There was plenty more to cut and drag after that so it took me a while to get to the parking lot at the end of the Harlis Road.  I ran into a couple of club members on the way through the Iron Pipe and those same club members were milling around the parking lot when I finally arrived.

At the parking lot I heard some rumors about windfall in the North Loop but I already had 33 miles on the odo.  So I assessed my energy level, bummed some gas and headed up the Gandy Dancer and into the Gandy Dancer Bypass.  There was nothing in the Bypass so I was off into the big North Loop.  There were a few trees to cut out there but not as many as there had been in the much shorter Iron Pipe.

Along the way I was jotting down a few notes in a little notebook that I brought along for the purpose of recording spots that need some fixing up.  There’s an uphill in the north loop where the trail follows an old, bulldozed road for a short ways before climbing up to the ridgetop that is high above the State Line Creek.  The hill is torn up badly from the uphill traffic and I was happy that my trusty WR250 torqued right up and over all of the roots and rocks that are exposed there.  That spot needs a reroute for sure.  There were a couple of long ruts much further down the trail that need something too, what that is I’ll have to figure out later.

It was getting late-ish and I was getting tired by the time I negotiated the rock garden (made it without stopping!) and popped out on the Bearhunter.  I had enough energy left to go through the Congo, which needed a couple of minor touch-ups.  Then it was down the Bearhunter to the Harlis Road, then down to the Hungry Bear and back to the truck.  There was another DNR “trail closed” barrier on the north end of the the Hungry Bear (huh again!).  I had gone through all of the trails except the Wilderness Trail and the Harlis Bypass.  I was too tired by the end of the day and I had spent most of this spring and summer throwing fixes at the Wilderness and the Harlis Bypass.  So I figured I would let them be for a change.  Still, I cleared a ton of trail today and felt pretty good about it as I was driving off to Duquette for my reward; a deli sandwich, three beef sticks and a small bag of peanut M&Ms.

Then it was off to Grantsburg for a few beers around the Saturday-night-before-the-MX fire before a relaxing Sunday of manning the entry gate.