Monday, March 8, 2010

Changing of the seasons

I’m not skiing this afternoon. There is adequate snow on our self-groomed trail by our house but the trails right here in town have too many bare patches. Other than in the interest of an America’s Funniest Video, sliding down a hill and tumbling over a bare patch has little appeal to me. I think cross-country season is about over.

But not to worry. One of the things that makes this area a special place to me is its three-season outdoor silent sports recreational opportunities. Officially we say the area is blessed with four-season outdoor recreation, but the too-thin ice, the too-thick mud and the too many biting insects make spring less appealing than summer, fall or winter. I’m usually a bit glum as the snow begins to disappear and leaves me thinking that I didn’t get quite enough winter activities in. But then the warm air (not just warm sun and cold air) works its effects on me and the plant life and spring seems pretty nice in its own way, afterall.

So what’s next in outdoor recreation up here in this special place? I’ve considered mud-shoeing but on that really doesn’t look like much fun. So instead I’ll wait out the brief awkward time when our road is too muddy and the ambient temps are still a bit chilly. After that, it’ll be road bike season. (I don’t want to drive in the car somewhere to ride my road bike – seems to defeat the purpose?) I used to consider temps just above +10 degrees Fahrenheit warm enough for cycling, but that was when I was 1.younger, 2. without good XC skiing and 3. more ambitious and 4. still able to fit into my wool cycling togs. I now wait for temps of at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit and for the sand to wash off the roads. Once off the gravel road we live on, there’s enough paved roads with light traffic through nice scenery to make for great bike rides. I’ll write about those trips a bit later this spring.

Pretty soon, the trails will dry out and the hiking will be good. Next to open up will be canoeing. After the last of the ice melts and the water is a bit warmer, I’ll get out onto some special canoe spots. I have to admit that I have to drive to canoe spots, but there are plenty of them close by.

I’ll have to wait just a bit longer until the trails dry out sufficiently for mountain biking. Ashmun Creek Natural Area makes for a nice, short but hilly, mountain bike loop just right to add to the ride home from school. There are a few other spots I’ll get to as well. At about that time, Lake Superior is tolerable in a shorty wetsuit.

Outdoor gardening season will be upon us, soon, too. Much more about that later.

So, yes, one of the things that make this a special place is all the various things we can do. But as I stated in the opening of this web discussion, the point isn’t to brag about what any one of us can do, but rather to show that we get out and enjoy taking advantage of the opportunities presented by our special, unique places. How are you marking the changing of the seasons?

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