Monday, February 3, 2014

Birkie Trail outing

Part of the American Birkebeiner Ski Trail is a 10-minute ski/walk from my house. Yesterday, it was -16F in the morning, so I waited until 2:30 in the afternoon, when the temp had risen to 10F, to go skiing. I skied the section of the trail that is about 7K from the finish on Main Street in downtown Hayward, starting near Hayward Lake and going to where the trail intersects Hwy 77 East and back. The trail was freshly groomed for skating, but no classic tracks were set. It was a beautiful, sunny, blue sky day and I'm glad I didn't let the cold keep me inside. I'm working up to skiing the 23K Kortelopet later this month for the second year in a row.
Shortly after beginning my ski, I crossed this bridge over a small creek, with one side designated for skiers and the other snowmobiles, illustrative of a cooperative partnership.
The next section of trail brought me to the crossing of Wheeler Road, where one encounters a fairly steep climb.
At the top of this climb is a memorial sculpture and plaque dedicated to one of the Birkie Founders, Dave Landgraf.
The following three images are views from the top of this hill, looking toward Hayward and the finish.
The next three images are looking in the opposite direction. This hill is the last climb before heading down to Hayward Lake and the finish.
After rounding the corner in the distance that curves to the left, the trail climbs to the top of "Duffy Ski Hill," where one is rewarded by beautiful views of the Namekagon River Valley. There is a small cabin at the top of this hill. I'm assuming it's privately owned by the Duffy family.
After topping Duffy Ski Hill, I skied down to the gate that crosses the trail just short of Hwy 77. This was my turn-around point. The next four images are the trail as it winds its way back up to Duffy Ski Hill, a fairly continuous climb with a few dips. I saw just one lone skate skier on my outing.
This marker is just a short ways from the trail gate near Hwy 77.

The next three images are looking toward the climb that brings you to the top of the last hill, the one with the Dave Landgraf memorial.