Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter "Egg" Search

We weren't exactly looking for "eggs," but we had a great time on Easter searching for a trail.  Scott and I left the dogs at home and took our mountain bikes for a three hour tour--a three hour tour!  I am so glad I didn't have THAT go through my head before we got out of the forest! 
Scott Popping Wheelie on MY Bike!

In order to get back in time to take the bread dough out of the machine so that it could be formed into a nicer loaf and baked in the oven, we allowed two hours to leave our house, ride our road (north) to the forest road (runs west, then turns mostly south), and find a way from that back to our road without backtracking (should have been east...).  We rode all the way to the obvious end of the forest road, which has curved away from south to something akin to east at that point. 

We decided it was logical for the road to have continued through at some point and simply have become overgrown due to lack of use.  Therefore, we got off the bikes and pushed along what appeared to be faint four-wheeler tracks in tall grass.  Once in the woods again, we could see where someone had cut a trail and followed a swamp.  There was no indication of someone having put a deer blind up, which would be the logical reason for cutting trees down on a trail that doesn't actually go anywhere.  Hmm. 
Scott on Wrong Trail

To make matters more interesting, we couldn't agree on which direction we were going, despite using a GPS unit (iffy), a compass, and a map.  I find it much easier to lose track of which way I am going in the forests of Minnesota than anywhere else I have been.  However, once I check map and compass, I am comfortable knowing where I am.  No further comment. 

We made it back to the forest road/main trail alright, and started back north, exploring trails to the right that might get us to the main road without having to go all the way back to the beginning.  The second trail we tried was practically a wide grassy boulevard.  It was tough pedaling through the grass, so the lazier of the two got off and walked.  Hey--I was already tired out from the outing with the dogs on Saturday! 
Deer?  Moose??

We wandered along, passing a wildlife opening on the left with a very high treestand on the opposite corner.  The boulevard curved mostly ESE until we came to a Y of leased Potlatch (a timber company) land which was posted.  Fortunately, we didn't need to trespass if we wanted to continue on the trail, which became more SE as it passed the posted area.  It was while crossing another wildlife opening that I realized my rear tire was rubbing on the brake pad--It's a good thing I travel with my very own personal bike tech! 

Scott in the Swamp
The trail eventually became only wide enough for a four-wheeler and too rough in places for even Scott to ride safely.  No, he did not stop riding.  At another Y in the trail, we saw vehicles to the left and beckoning red pine to the right.  Correctly deciding the vehicles belong to one of our neighbors, we went right and followed the now-pine-needled softened trail under the great trees.  It was peaceful and smelled wonderful.  Then came the moment we were hoping for:

"This is it," Scott proclaimed proudly.  We had gotten to a rise of land that he had seen from the other end of the trail.  He had been stopped on the other side by the swamp which we now saw from above.  All we had to do was risk "minimal dampness," to use his optimistic phrase.  By the time we got to the trail, and road, on the other side, my feet were soaked! 

After three hours, the bread had baked. 

Happy trails!