Sunday, September 30, 2007

Hangin with the Moose

This is footage from our mid-September trip to the North Shore. We went off-road onto old forest service roads. It was fun and peaceful. The roads tooks us up into the mountains, then down again to the Gunflint Trail. It also took us to this moose...

...too be continued...

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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Moab Moment

It was the moment we looked out the window of our hotel room in Moab.
Splashed with the mud of the red rock of Utah,
she looked like wild animal that we had reared from a babe.
It was the moment that she grew up,
had her first taste of blood and grime and dust of the trail.
She surged forward going further than we would have thought reasonable on a December day,
when all the north-facing canyons and mountains stayed covered in snow.
Perhaps warming slightly enough to melt the snow in order to create a thin layer of ice that solidifies quickly as the sun sets behind the canyon.
She was a beast.
No longer the babe with less than a thousand miles under her tires.
Roaring like a tiger.
She led us forward in adventures against our rational planning.
I was afraid for her claws and teeth that were anxious to sink their way into the mud and dust of Deadhorse State Park.
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Monday, September 3, 2007

Murphy Flowage

Labor Day Weekend and we had nothing planned. The area was quiet due to the river's 30 ft. drawdown this summer. So we went for a drive. Usually we are heading north, but today we decided to head west, then north, with a slight detour around Weyerhauser because of some street fair near the high school. I know these are mundane details, but it is these very same details that always lead to adventure. Turning north on County Rd. F, we had planned to follow the signs to the Murphy Flowage. Unfortunately a detour was not marked. The few streets that make up this tiny little town quickly narrowed by all the parked cars of the fair-goers. It is a moment where I turn to the Big D and tell him to take the right, any right turn just to get out of the traffic. Traffic in a small town can sure be slowed down by all the old folks that come out.

Time to pull out the detailed map. And before I knew it, we found ourselves on one of those remote dirt roads leading deeper into the woods. In fact, we found a series of forest roads that lead to a number of "remote campsites." These seemed to be out in the middle of nowhere, nestled against a small lake where only non-motorized boats could go. All the trailers in the parking areas were for ATVs.

Our first stop: Murphy Flowage boat launch and camp ground. We stopped to make sandwiches under some tall tall red pine trees. These pines were so tall that I had to split the picture in two in order to get a sense of their dizzying heights.

There were only nine campsites at this lake. Two were on a bank above the lake. We found a little spot on this hill for lunch. This is the kind of campground that doesn't fill for Labor Day weekend. Not even this year when the weather was warmer than most previous years. Just to the left of the front end of the Jeep is a trail that leads to the water.

I love finding little places to spontaneously sit down (or stand at the back of the Jeep) for lunch. Today's lunch consisted of salami sandwiches, home-made pickles (cucumbers from my CSA, Harmony Valley Farms), chips, and juicy organic red plums. Ohh yummy yummy! These lunches tastes especially good when eaten under the swaying needles of these very tall pine trees. One has to wonder, did these pines survive the clearcut that dominates the history of the woods throughout most of the US? Or were these newly planted after the clearcut. They were tall and seemed to have stood witness to the destruction.

It turned out to be great day. We even found a short cut to our land on our way home. The roads had the feel of back country. They were not well groomed which lends well to the sense of adventure. We saw many deer, but no bear. Likely because the Jeep tires could be heard miles away. I'm sure the bears stayed clear. Who wouldn't when the stillness of the forest is interrupted by the sound of a six cylinder engine roaring? Perhaps better than the ATVs ripping through the woodland trails? Maybe not. Damn, I wish we could try them out. You know, the ATV trails, each leading down its own path. Damn. I am itching to go.

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Me and my Jeep

She's a 2006 Jeep Wrangler X. Hard Top. In-line six cylinder engine. Six speeds of pure joy and fun. In one year we have put on 20,000 miles. I swear she makes our lives safer. We (the Big D and I) have a tendency to take dirt roads that appear to lead to nowhere. And we always end up in an adventure that amounts to outdoor northwoods fun.
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