Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Winter Views: The Season Finally Caught Us

Looks like a January now.
There was a big snow storm over the weekend across the mid-section of the country. We almost missed it entirely. We were on the Northern edge of things, so it was a tranquil, soft snow that fell most of the day on Saturday. The flakes were so tiny that despite the precipitation lasting all day, we maybe got three inches. Maybe.

The snow fell so gently, and with little wind, that it coated trees and structures like white paint. Everything looked clean and glistened in the lights at night. We got just enough snow that it covered the brown stuff we've been looking at most of the time since late October of last year. So, at least it was pretty if not very deep!

I headed out to the Green Belt for a spin on the Titanium Mukluk. I didn't expect that the trails would be very difficult. Especially since there had been a sizeable amount of fat bikes out there the day before me. And as expected, I found a nice, wide swath of beaten in snow. In some places the traffic had iced over the trail. Not real bad, just noticeable in spots.

It was a grey day, and the Sunny days we have been having for weeks seem to be gone for a while now. This is much more Winter-like, and the temperatures are certainly reflecting it as well. Although it was in the upper 20's while I was out, the air felt chilly due to all the moisture in it. That's okay though as it could easily be well below zero at this point of the year. In fact, I believe the second week of January is traditionally the coldest week of the year here. that probably will not be the case this year.

Black Hawk Creek remains unfrozen and has plenty of flood related flotsam and jetsam sitting in it.
My old trail, Marky-Mark, is in pretty good shape. The reroute seems to have worked, (not shown here), so I was pleased with that.
I decided to run over to my old trail that I put in back circa 1997/98, and see how things were, especially after my re-route. I did that the last time I was out there to get around a big knot of downed limbs and tangled vines. Yes. Vines. We get these, I don't know what variety they are, but they are big, woody, long, sinuous vines that grow up around trees here. They can be 30-50ft long and 3-4" in diameter. They are tough as nails too. You cannot break them. So, when they come down with branches that break off, or when trees snag one and pull it down as they get blown over, it is best to just route around them, under them, or bring a sharp saw and a LOT of patience. I chose the "go around" option and it seems to have been understood and accepted by riders, judging by the tracks I saw.

Frost on the trees across the lake.
 You know, I was just thinking about this, but that trail has been in for 20 years now. That's pretty crazy to think about. I remember working on it nights after I would work all day at the car repair place I worked at then. As if working 10 hours a day on cars wasn't enough! Ha!

I ended up taking a bit of a shortcut home which led across a frozen bit of backwater. That is one of the bonus features of Winter woods riding. You can cross small streams and run-offs without worry. Places that you cannot cross any other time of the year are accessable in Winter. It is pretty fun when that works out.

At any rate, it was a good day out and I got two hours of riding in that I wouldn't have otherwise. The gravel roads are maybe too icy to ride, I don't know. I have to go check that out, but I have a feeling this will be the case. So, fat bikes in the woods it is for now.

1 comment:

Robert Jones said...

The second and third weeks of January are coldest here, and true to pattern we've had a string of lows below zero, which cause folks to stay indoors. Until, that is, the jet stream brings warm air and storms dropping rain, freezing rain, sleet, hail, and snow.

Then folks go crazy in their rush to get outdoors to shrug off their cabin fever, leaving the trails potholed with footprints in a lunar landscape, which freeze solid and become impossible to walk without micro spikes.

Luckily for me the Blackborow with studded Buds just rolls right over. It is so enjoyable having the entire area peacefully and quietly to myself.