In early January there was a discussion on getting out on snowmobiles this winter with my cousin and brother for a guys weekend in Northern Wisconsin. Well, that was unless my wife decided she wanted to join us. The first weekend in March was the date set but as warm as winter was we weren’t completely sure there would be enough snow on the trails to go. A couple of weeks before the chosen date we were a little more comfortable so we reserved a couple of sleds, since my brother was unable to go, with the option of canceling if the snow melted before the first weekend in March which was entirely possible as forecasts called for 50’s or warmer the weekend before with possible rain to follow and no snow in the forecast to replenish what melted.
As the day approached my cousin and I kept a close eye on the trail reports wondering if the trails would remain open for us. Two nights before we decided to reserve our hotel room as well because the trails were most likely going to be open and our day in the snow at 70 miles per hour would be on. We were expecting icy trails especially on the turns making the snowmobiling experience a little less exciting but a day on the trails is still better than a day working. Soon after getting the sleds and hitting the trails we found the trails to be in great shape with no ice and a good base of most of them. To make it even better, fresh snow fell while we were out tearing across the trails. In the photo above you typically would see some of the Apostle Islands, home of the famous ice caves, behind us but the snow was falling heavily enough it blocked the view of them.
For me, it was an amazing adventure as it has been a few years since I was last on a snowmobile. Way too long! I had forgotten how much fun it is to weave through the forests of Northern Wisconsin near Lake Superior with nothing but the roar of the engine and the wind smashing against your helmet. There’s an excitement when your moving at 60 miles an hour flying by trees and feeling the sled wobble beneath you giving you the feeling that a slight wrong move could cause you to lose control. It sounds dangerous and it can be. There are only specific situations to get going that fast and hope that a deer doesn’t bounce in front of you. At those times it is a very freeing calmness and heightened awareness of what’s in front of you.
The rest of the time you are traveling around 30 miles per hour maneuvering around turns and climbing up and down the hills enjoying the sights passing you by. It was a challenge for me not to stop every couple of hundred feet and take pictures of the amazing landscape covered in a fresh blanket of falling snow. The choice was to explore more trails or stop more frequently to photograph the sights currently around us. Most of the time I opted for exploring more trails.
For a short time I attached the GoPro to the snowmobile for a different perspective. In the photograph above you can see white streaks in front of the sled. These are snowflakes capturing the headlights on the snowmobile. It kind of looks like preparing for warp speed through space. Using the camera on the sled was a little challenging because the constant vibrations would shake it loose and I didn’t bring the appropriate attachments to secure it better.
In one area there was a bridge which spanned the Brule River. I did have to stop and turn around to photograph this scene. It just looked like the perfect scene of winter. When I imagine a winter landscape it either has mountains in it or a river flowing through a forest covered in snow. Pretty much what you see in the picture above and below. This was a great adventure that I hope to repeat next winter!