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

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Man Trip 2017

The Man Trip usually marks the end of winter fun for me, by now I'm pretty much done with it but want one final hurrah. For this year I wanted everything we did to be new. While our modes of travel remain the same ,fat bikes, skis and snowshoes, I wanted to hit up some new places we haven't been...on the north shore there are many.

Robinson Quarry

random swamp crossing

AF going over

 A couple weeks before the trip ArcFlash suggested we go ice climbing the first day...perfect...that was a new one for the man trip. On Thursday, on our way north the two of us stopped off in Sandstone at Robinson Quarry. Although the temps have been quite warm there was plenty of ice for us to climb. We set up only one top rope and ascended it three times trying to vary the route by moving either side of center. It was a lot of fun and three passes were plenty,for having only climbed that one day all winter. The second half of the day was spent finishing the drive and then a little snowmobiling on the two old sleds I purchased earlier this winter. I haven't had any chance to ride them, so I was just itching to get out even if it was only a brief jaunt up and down the local trails. With the purchase of a house on the north shore the Man Trip has been changed drastically, try as we may, we did not camp-out once. Instead we played really freakin hard all day and then came back to lounge around, eat, and watch movies.

trying out Altai Skis....would have been better with deep snow

.On day two there were four of us, ArcFlash, Thor, and Vandy. I laid out a route the would utilize the Northwoods ski trail,  Palisade Valley ski trail, cross Bean and Bear Lake, with two rappels thrown in to make it interesting, as well as a mid-way camp fire cook-out. It was a beautiful sunny day for our 6 hour jaunt, with the only really cold spot being at the top if the first rap. Vandy, AF, and myself dropped off the ledge quickly and comfortably, not giving it much more concern than walking down a side walk. Thor on the other hand did an awesome job pushing his own personal envelope and dropping over the edge with greater caution. Once off rope came the dangerous part of descending the boulder field below the cliff. From there we cut across the two lakes and then cooked our lunch. Next came the second rap followed by another boulder field, and finished with nearly an hour of skiing to reach the vehicles.

man down
After fueling up we headed out in the late afternoon for a creek ride on the fat-bikes. After visiting this creek for the first time this past summer, I was hoping for mostly hard ice with little flow. No luck...the creek was flowing well as we made our way precariously upstream on the rotted ice. I suppose it was better this way, we were all giggling and smiling as we took turns navigating the bad spots, trying to stay dry. We took the road back and ended up finishing in the dark. On day three Thor had to leave us on account of family duty. That morning Vandy and I went out on the sleds for a quick ride, mostly so I could convince him to buy one for next year. We got back mid morning and got ready for another fat-bike ride and cook-out.
AF wringing out socks after going in up past his knees

 The ride went better than I had hoped and was my highlight of the weekend. The route, an out and back with a loop on the end, (lollipop) finished at approximately 20 miles,  crossing five lakes, utilizing snowmobile trails and portages. It was not in the boundary waters, but pretty damn close...shoot me a message if you need info. As with most winter outings,it involved a camp fire and cooking something on a stick. The riding was phenomenal, the trails were hard packed snow and the lakes were windswept or crusty and made for fast easy riding.  We wrapped up in the late afternoon and headed back to the warmth of a couch. Since it was our last night of Man Trip we watched two movies and ate ice cream.
let the fun begin

hand grill packaging added for dramatic effect  

 Although we took the easy way out, and spent our nights inside sleeping on beds it was a physically demanding and fantastic weekend.

D Rider.....................................out

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