Sunday, March 9, 2014

Off the Beaten Path

Because Sunday just isn't busy enough...I decided to head out into the woods this afternoon for another skiing adventure.  When last Thursday's jaunt hadn't panned out quite as planned, it gave me a chance to do a little exploration by car and find the trailhead for some snowmobile/XC ski trails in the Debar Mountain Wild Forest on "old Route 99" (Co. Rte. 26) between Duane Center and Loon Lake.  Having read about these trails in the guidebook, I decided today was the day to see them myself.

I was a little hesitant about sharing the trail with the sleds...but there weren't nearly as many as I would have expected (not 20, I don't think, during the 3 hours I skied), and they all were very polite.  Actually, the groomed trail combined with today's temperatures (sunny and mid-20's) made for near perfect conditions.

Now, the book had spoken of an 8-mile "loop"that included stretches unused by snowmobilers...and, not being content to leave well-enough alone, I wanted to check it out.  Of course, when most reasonable people see signs like these...

...they have the good sense to turn around or find another route.  But not being like most reasonable people, I headed in.  The result was about 1/2 mile of near bushwhacking (the trail had a lot of blowdown) and the snow was quite deep, but it was rather a lot of fun.

Yup...those are my tracks coming out of the brush!
I then rejoined the trail and continued to look for the left that would put me on the return loop.  And kept skiing.  And kept looking.  Checking the maps again now that I'm home, I'm convinced that I was really, REALLY close...but it was getting to be 5 o'clock, and I had about 4 miles to head back.  (And I'm pretty sure that the trail I didn't find would have been another bushwhack...only more than 2 miles of it this time.)

A few more scenes from along the way on a lovely, lovely afternoon...

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