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

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Man Trip 2013, Day 2

Breakfast in the back of the van
 Day two of the man trip started a bit on the chilly side, well below zero as we climbed out of our sleeping bags. The sun was shining brightly so it wouldn't be long before it was a balmy 20deg F. At this point in the winter everyone's blood has thickened and we've all become accustomed to the cold, 20 is warm and the sun is a welcome bonus.
Gladed  x-c run

nice tracks for the last guy
Yours truly, at the impasse. Rappel is on river right about a 200 feet down stream 
 On tap for the day's adventure is an X-C ski and snowshoe trip down the $#@^&*! River. It comes complete with a two stage rappel down a very steep side wall/cliff of the river. This is The Legend's first time on rope, so A.F. and I don't want it to be too daunting. We pass up a  100' + couloir in favor of a nearby route through the trees. It's still really steep and will give Mr Legend a taste of rappelling so he can complete the real rap were doing the next day. He makes it though with flying colors and is ready for the next day.
JJ on rope

tied up, ready for second rap

You have sharp things on your feet don't step on the rope , your life will be hanging by it tomorrow.

 Once we are all through with the rappel, we travel further down river and trade skis for snowshoes on the final stretch. AF, JJ and myself did the same route the day before but figured out a better way down the big water fall, a hand line. I've become a big fan of hand lines while canyoneering and urban exploring, it worked great here, you just can't let go! It's also way faster than having everyone put on a harness a clip in. Our turn around point is at one last waterfall that plunges just shy of Lake Superior. There is no way down this unless we want to go swimming, and we don't have the gear with us to make it back up. A.F. and I ponder the idea of coming back in the summer and either rap this waterfall or paddle the lake to the alcove below us and camp-out on the beach.
Mr Legend gives a salute

I took my kids swimming in this very spot last summer.

Most of the time we were riding, this spot was particularly steep and required feet

 The ski trip burned up most of the day, but as I said before, our adventures for the weekend usually go into the night. We had so much fun riding the perfect conditions of the *^%$# River the day before we went back and rode it again. This time we started a little earlier so we had more daylight on our side. When we turned around the previous day we left behind a perfectly good track that seemed to just keep going, I had to see how far. As a result I rode at least twice as much as the day before. Several miles up river, when I came to a newly installed bridge with an immaculately groomed ski trail running over the top, the trail started to diminish. At this point only the Legend and I were still riding upstream, we could have kept going but it was getting dark and our appetites were taking over so we headed back.
AF and The Legend heading upstream through the best part of the ride, steep walls

fat-bike at sunset

We saw these guys the day before, they invited us to stay and have some drinks. The fire was very temping but I don't drink and I needed food 
 After the ride, Vandy and I had a quick dip in the hot tub, a sauna, and a shower (separately of course) at the municipal pool in Grand Marias before meeting the rest of the crew for dinner at Sven and Ole's. It was the best four bucks I spent the whole weekend, er, the best four bucks AF lent me the whole weekend. After dinner we went to another small river and set up camp, and had fire with some pre-gathered firewood before going to sleep around 11pm. Some other guys, unknown to us, showed up about an hour later to camp out and have a fire as well. After talking with them in the morning, I think we burned all of their wood they had pilled up earlier in the day when they were ice climbing in the area. Sorry dudes. I thought the woodland gnomes were doing us a solid.
We've had fires before in the little alcove, but camping out here was a first.  

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