The following is a true story, only the names have been changed, to protect the guilty.

Friday, March 11, 2011

North Shore Man trip 2011

This year for the man trip we added some new stuff into the mix. Dale and I left Thursday morning and got in a ride on the Split Rock River. The snow kind of sucked and it wasn't super nice out but we had fun anyway. This was Dale's first time ever on a real snow bike and he did very well. After the ride we headed for our traditional camping spot on the @#$%^&# River. The snow was deep and it took quite a long time to dig out a spot for the tent. My tent has a wood stove so staying comfortable inside is no problem, often it is too warm. Mark showed up around 11pm I think, and decided to stay in his truck for the night. That was a good thing, Dale brought nearly everthing he owned into the tent so there wasn't much room for him anyway.

The next morning we headed for Lutsen to do some snowboarding. Dale skiied but we didn't hold that against him. I don't ride much so my skills are not that great. On the way up north I bought a helmet and gave it a good test on the way down my first run. Mark saw the whole thing and said my head bounced a couple feet. My head was fine but my ass hurt so bad I thought I would shit. That set the tone for the day, after that I was a little timid and blamed it on my board. Torwards the end of the day I felt better and had a great time. After Lutsen we headed to Grand Maris for dinner. At some point Dale mentioned the municipal pool in town so we checked it out and Friday happened to be dollar night. We headed to the Ben Franklin bought some shorts and a ninja throwing star (for protection of course), ate dinner and went back to the pool. The hot tub and sauna were worth everey one of those 100 pennies.

Troy,JJ,and Cory arrived late friday night and were ready to go Saturday morning for the ride down the #$^%^%$ river. The last two years down the river were so good I think it spoiled us. This year the snow was deeper and the perfect snowshoe track was not very well walked in. We made it about 2 miles, half as far as years past. It was colder this year and riding was more of a struggle to stay upright. The scenery on the other hand did not dissapoint.
Next we headed for the Devil Track river, shuttled some cars for our return trip and were ready to go. I've done this river a dozen times in the last 9 years and it's always good. This year the snow was really deep so it took longer to do,which i like because it's so fun I don't want the trip to end. We made it to the rappell point in about an hour and a half and spent a good hour getting our selves and equipment down safely. When I looked over the edge it sounded as if the water was running right under the spot where we were going to rap. Thats not good, cosidering the plunge pool below the rap. needs to be frozen in order for us to continue on our mission. For some reason I was going to be first. The plan was to go over the edge check it out, and if it was not doable the five guys up top would have to try and pull me back up. As I lowered myself past the point of no return I could see the bottom was frozen and the sound of the rushing water was echoing off the canyon walls in a way that it made it seem like the water was rushing under us. I made it down and called back the all clear. I took some good photos of the others comming down, including Dale who had never rappelled before (great job). We contiued on to the vehicles parked at HWY 61 at a faster pace. I think everyone was cold and wanted to generate some heat. Once at the road I suggested we ride the last section we just skiied from the road to the falls since we got shafted on our earlier ride. The contions for the snow bikes were perfect so we all agreed. We hauled ass to retreive the vehicles and returned for the ride. The ride up and back was incredible and fast. we returned in the dark and headed for Sven and Olies. After dinner it was like pulling teeth to get everyone onboard for our preplanned fire either on the beach up near Croftville on on the %$^%$^$ river. Mark decided he was too tired for more fun and opted out. the rest of us headed north. The wind was the determining factor for us to decide on the river. A ten minute hike up river was a good spot we had checked out earlier that weekend. In 15 minutes we had a fire that would raise the devil. We lounged around and told stories until we started dozing off, then headed back to base camp. Back at camp Cory locked his keys in his car while it was running. An hour later master locksmiths Troy and JJ had it open. 1:30 am I finally get to go to bed, and thanks to Dale I fall asleep in a 90 deg tent.

The next morning everyone is ready to be done, Cory left super early so he could get home for lunch, and the rest of us pack up and figure out one more adventure for the way home. Mark wants to ride to Carlton Peak from Tofte, we agree but he has to take a shit so he leaves without us but says he'll wait at the gas station. An hour later we get to the station and Mark is gone, he ended up riding by himself to the peak. Meanwhile the four that are left head for Split rock river and do a two hour ride. Conditions are better than Thursday so we head as far upstream as we can and turn back. We finish the ride out to the beach at the mouth of the river throw some rocks and relax for a while. That concludes Man Trip 2011. I have some new exciting and different plans for 2012 as long as the Mayan calendar is wrong and the whole world doesn't blow up

Monday, March 7, 2011

Natural Bridge

I went skiing w/a friend recently down on a swamp in preparation for the Man Trip. He just bought some back country skis and wanted to give them a try. I also wanted to go because I will use any excuse to get out and do shit. We skiied across the swamp and were headed near a spot I've kept to myself for a long time. I decided to show him a little slot canyon complete w/ice fall and a natural bridge 40 ft overhead. No, I won't tell you where it is.

A good day for a kayak ride

A few weeks ago I was out hiking along the Minnesota River on a warm day, the ice was gone on the river and it looked perfect for paddling. I planned on comming back the next day but the weather turned to crap and I didn't go. Last week I saw another opportunity and I took it. The plan was to put in at 35w and head down stream to the Cedar bridge and ride my bike back to the van. When I got to the parking lot the river was covered in ice for about 150 yards from the launch. The banks of the river were too steep to put in further down were the river opened up so I headed back to Cedar. Before I even got in the water I thought it was a bad idea. The temp was about 35F with a stiff headwind and the current on the river was really fast. If I could pass the first test of getting in the boat on the ice w/out falling in the frigid water I would be OK . It was a little precarious getting in the boat but I made it and headed up stream. It took 45 min to make it to Black Dog Power Plant and 20 min to get back. I stayed dry and had a good time but I was happy to be done. Next I would like to get out on the backwaters when the river floods in a couple months. stay tuned.......................