Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Bruins Visitors

One of the beauties of living in the woods is all the wildlife and critters. Every year is different on what is more common, and the unusual sightings. I've paid more attention to birds than anything, keeping an eye out for something unusual and not so common. Hardly a birder but do appreciate the flying friends. We've had bear visit from time to time but not so much recently. I've seen tracks not to far from the house and most recent bear sighting was north across the gravel road, Goat Ranch road. This spring we had a neighbor mountain biking on the Twin Lakes loop and he reported seeing a mama bear and two cubs. A week later I saw a nice full imprinted track on a soft spot of the trail that dried up nicely to a petrified liking.

Last weekend we had a bit of excitement when on Saturday my dad and I came upon a mama bear and ultimately two cubs. My dad had been out mowing the evening before and the mower broke down. Being it was getting dark and no urgency to get the mower back, we went out in the morning right away to get it. The two dogs, Fly and Hudson were in the back of the truck. When we stopped where the mower was, the dogs jumped out and starting going nuts, barking like crazy. We couldn't figure out why than all of a sudden a bear emerged from the woods on to the trail.
Normally they would take off running like all other encounters but this bear was staying put after giving the dogs a good scare and their owner thoughts that Hudson's day of acting like the big guy on campus, were over. The bear seemed to protecting a tree and realized at that point there had to be some cubs around. Sure enough, after looking up there were two cubs high up in the tree.
The mama bear than climbed up the tree and of course, we watched. There was some good snorts and snarls but mama bear just climbed on up and settled down.
I went back to get the boys and my mom. We watched them just chill out for a while and than carried on, leaving them be. A week has past and haven't seen them but there was sighting of a bear this weekend when guests arriving for the weekend saw one at the end of the driveway.
Saturday we went north 30 minutes to the lake cabin so Jon could have a lake day with his friend Sam and do a few chores. I didn't make it to the Mt Borah Epic mountain bike race like I had planned and registered for so had the mtb along for a ride in the White Earth State Forest. I've been riding here since year one, going back to 1990. Not much has changed in the woods which is awesome. Maybe the gravel roads are a bit better but the atv and side trails are pretty much the same. One of these trails is the fall line track to the top of Stawberry Mountain. It is by far the toughest climb I've attempted on my mountain bike. Like this ride, I still haven't been able to "clean" it. The surface was pretty much perfect and plus tires helped with traction but crazy steep grades makes it near impossible non motorized. Coming down always fun and I'll be back to try it again, hopefully this summer.

I've yet to meet another rider back here and the signs above maybe scare a few folks away but a look at the MN DNR website confirms use.

Never a bad ride, great scenery, usually some wildlife sightings and great deep woods scenes.
Cabin time. Sam coloring, Jon playing cards.
First pontoon ride of the year. Dip in the lake most refreshing. Nice outing, gorgeous evening.


Assuming the phone listed is not for the one missing!
Sunday, Jon's host family from the Austin Bruins this past year stopped by for visit. It was very nice of them to take the time to stop by after opening their home last year to Jon and his team mate Travis. Making sure they were fed and taken care of in between the hockey.
They had two kids, Aubrey and Asher that were having fun with Jon and Jens.
Thanks again for opening your home!

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Memorial Weekend

Memorial day weekend saw everyone home again. Jonell and I really appreciate those times as they don't happen often! Jack out and about most working most evenings. 
Sully photo bombing the family shot, Jake and Anna's new dog adopted from Maplelag that was a stray last winter.
Jon helping out with some brush clearing. Endless  job cutting and clearing, mowing and brushing. The woods are as lush as ever for this time of year. 

 Jonell and Anna with summer flowers!

 Saturday a group of riders came out. Hooked up with two of them to show around as first time on the trails. Either people like the Maplelag singletrack and come back for more and don't so I like to get out with new riders whenever possible. Of course, always enjoy riding with anyone that comes out.

 Hooking up with Jake and Jon afterwards. Jake lakeside Twin Lakes.
First timer to Maplelag Justin getting after it.

Jon on the Twin Lakes singletrack.
 Early summer fishing continues. Never a dull moment.
Loving the long days!

Nothing like a rain shower while packing up to go!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Iceland Visitors

This week our friends from Iceland, Steve and Hekla and their new baby Soldis came for a quick visit. We met in DL at the legendary Hotel Shoreham, the hotel you can get a room.

Always some good laughs. Steve worked at Maplelag a couple of winters, met Hekla at Wisconsin Green Bay where they both went to college. Steve skied and Hekla played soccer.
Had to flashback to last time we saw Steve which was when we went to visit him last summer in Iceland.

Beautiful scene in Isofjord, the community they live in now. If you want to go to Iceland, be sure to let Steve know.

The mountain biking was incredible. We only touched the surface. Hope to get back for the Fossvatvan ski race one year.

Jack with Solids.
The baby girls. I guess Lily is grown up now.

Lily more interested in getting snacks.
Next morning we hooked up for a trail run, Steve and Hekla ran and I biked. Sun finally came out after what seemed like a week of cloudy weather.
Rock garden action.

Berm action.
Spores on the trail.
Steve gave us a sign last year and we had to show them it was up on the walls! Fun times, thanks for the visit!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

May or April

If it wasn't for the foliage and greenery that made it look like late May, this past week felt more like early April than late May. May can drive Minnesotan's crazy. We get fooled thinking warm weather is in place than we get hit with cold and wet like we did this past weekend. Jack had is only indoor meet back on April 2nd and, of course, that would be one of the nicest days in spring!

Sunday I toed the line for the 27th season and the first mountain bike race this year, hitting up the local ski area Detroit Mountain for the second race in the Minnesota Mountain Bike Series. Wrote a race recap in the skinnyski MTB report if interested. Always good to see folks you have met and raced with over the years, probably the best part, and of course, finding that line of pushing it enough without blowing up and enjoy flowing through the singletrack. The temps were chilly, barely pushing 40 with some good ol fashioned mud for the earlier races. Super proud of the Maplelag team that continues to grow from all ages and classes. Great folks.

There were guys racing in sweatshirts, the mud and this flatbed hauling the race steed had it feeling like the old days.

Even walking in the pits, seeing the seasoned grizzled vets. Mike Hall showing son Jeff's race bike for the day. Trailer full of bikes ready for the conditions. Last minute rear tire change to handle the mud. Always good catching up with Mike if even a short while.
Throw back to April 2nd, indoor meet where it was cooler inside than outside.

After the race I bolted down to St Cloud to catch the tail end of nephew Reagan's grad party. If you are a fan of the annual hockey hair video that comes out the end of the season after the state hockey tourney, you might recognize Reagan. Yep, thats him. Was going to cut after the season but held out until graduation. How could he not? Headed up to Canada for a month long canoe trip. Congrats Reagan, well done.
Mom and Dad at both ends of the canoe entertaining as the hockey player dives for a cold beverage.

Big news over the weekend for Jon was his commitment to RPI to play D1 hockey. It happened pretty fast. He had been on their list since the NAHL showcase last fall, talking to the previous head coach after those September games and off and on through the season. The new coach hired few weeks ago had watched tape and did some serious scouting on all the prospects and gave Jon a call. Jon felt the fit was right and committed. He had been talking with a few other schools but one of those things you feel is right and go with it.  The mindset was to play another year of Juniors so it really hasn't sunk in he will be going to college next year. We are very proud and excited to see the future unfold.

Last weekend was fishing opener and Jens has been going out. We have been out the nights we can, catching quite a few, releasing everything except this one walleye Jens caught. We have been having fun monitoring weather trends on the Maplelag PWS keeping track of the bite in relation to pressure, dew point, fronts good stuff like that.  Dew point is the most underrated reported weather condition in my opinion. I watch dew point in winter as it is critical for grooming.
Family friend Rick scoring a great sign for the lodge over the week. Good stuff!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


Mother's day weekend I took my mom to Chicago for nephew Marco's graduation from Moody Bible Institute which is located in downtown Chicago. We drove out there, breaking the trip up by leaving Thursday afternoon than arriving Friday afternoon. Arrived bit later than expected into Chicago due to bad timing of some heavy traffic. 

 First night spent in Osseo, WI. Been well over 30 years since been to Norske Nook. Great place to savor Scandinavian fare.

Lease wrap, Swedish pancakes with Lingonberries. Great stuff.

 Swung out to Levis Mound trail Friday morning. Hadn't been there before but heard/read a lot about.
 Awesome trail. Didn't have time to check out entire the trail system but found the "Sidewinder" trail so much fun, ended up doing three laps. With most new trail overbuilt, wide and flowy which is fun for sure, good to find the old school stuff. Like the natural technical features.
 Scenic overlook off Sidewinder. There are some pretty tight turns and sketchy edges with 50-75 ft drops below.
 Friday evening met up with my sister and her family for dinner. Walking around downtown Chicago.
 Commencement Saturday morning at Moody Church. Beautiful building. One of the best commencement address I've ever heard.
 Congrats Marco!
 With Grandma.
 After lunch we walked around downtown Chicago checking out some local sights. Sister's family above.
 The "bean"
 The way things have been going lately, this might happen sooner than you think!
Sunday morning we went to a church in west town near Garfield park where Marco has been helping out the youth program for all four years. The church is brick building that doesn't look like a church at all. The congregation is mostly youth. Many of the kids coming from broken homes, 90% not having really any family. Some sad stories with shootings and the crime/drug scene.

 Very proud of Marco not only on graduation but his commitment to the church and the influence he has had on the folks there.
Before heading out we stopped at a local favorite for hot beefs and home made lemon ice. Great stop excellent italian hots, lemon ice was fantastic with real slices of lemon and meats cooked over charcoal as advertised . Drove straight home after which wasn't the most pleasant drive but home safe and sound and a great trip overall.