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Snow drought, endangered wood turtle, another heat wave: the Blue Hills Trail provides great cross country skiing despite many obstacles.

15 Feb

Hats off to our groomers. The first half of February 2017 continued to provide excellent skiing at the Blue Hills Trail despite several major challenges:

  • Logging of an Eastside timber sale removed access to the nicest part of the core loop. This timber sale could only be logged in the winter while the endangered wood turtle is asleep. Skiers begrudgingly found other trails to their liking. This disruption of the trail system actually introduced many skiers to several very nice trails they would have otherwise overlooked.
  • Seasonal temperatures were accompanied by a snow drought. There was no significant snowfall between February 1st and the middle of the month, with none in the immediate forecast.
  • The weather forecast for the week preceding the American Birkebeiner ski race on February 25 was disturbing — with almost a solid week of temperatures in the 50’s and a day with significant rain forecast. Recognizing this meant a serious meltdown, groomers worked almost daily to generate fresh corduroy from an icy crusty surface. Amazingly fun fast controllable skate skiing was the result.

A highlight of the winter took place on Friday, February 10th when a full moon potluck event drew skiers and snowshoers to the warming house. They enjoyed good food, a warm camp fire, temps near 30 degrees F, and a near cloudless evening sky while viewing the full moon, a penumbral lunar eclipse, a brilliant shooting star, and many visible constellations (despite the bright moon). Many thanks to Dan Bjugstad for guiding a snowshoe outing on the newly opened trail that joins the other two snowshoe trails developed by Dan B and John Kann. These trails start close to the warming house.

Recent comments from the logbook in the warming house are included in the picture gallery that follows. Find comments from Wisconsin (Bruce, Cameron, Chetek, Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Ladysmith, Milwaukee, Prairie Farm, Rice Lake), Minnesota (Minneapolis, Owatanna), Illinois (Blue Island), Washington (Sumner), Switzerland …

How to view images: To see larger versions of the thumbnail photos, view each picture individually by clicking on the thumbnail; or you can “show as slideshow” by clicking the link above the images. To move quickly through the slideshow click the photos themselves. For either option, if you want to save the image for yourself, simply right click the full size image to obtain the original; higher quality images are available by contacting our website.  To avoid copyright infringement, reprints must credit the Blue Hills Trail Association, Inc.


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