Where does the trail take you in 2013

The trail toward the Missouri River.

The trail toward the Missouri River.

Where does the trail in to 2013 take you this year?

I’m sure it’s too early to tell..unless you’re an anal retentive planner. Who knows what the year will throw at you.

For me, I hope to remain as physically active as I was on this, the first day of 2013.  Ahh…it’s been a long long time since I was at my best physical shape, and today shows that clearly.  But hopefully today was a good sign.  It meant heading out of town, away from the videos and photos to edit, away from the papers to write. Away from the frames to make and the photos to mat.

The road west of Wilton leads straight to the river.  This region of the state is called The Missouri Slope region and you can see why…the soft rolling hills slope down to the river.

Once to the bottom, cross over to the west side and there’s the best cross country skiing in the region.

trail along river wtrmrk

Along the Missouri River

So, there’s my first hint at where I want the trail to take me — away from the daily grind.  First a drive toward the Missouri River, then to the river itself.  This is as close to where Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery traveled the winter of 1803 — 210 years ago.  It’s the Missouri River along the Lewis and Clark trail, south of Washburn at Cross Ranch State Park.

But wait!  There’s more!

skis point to clearing horz wtrmrk

Skis to the trees

It’s not just a pretty place, it’s a place to get physical.  So, I did, on cross country skis.  It just seems to me that as long as we’re gonna have winter — and we can’t do anything about that — we might as well use it.  A bright day, light winds from the south, and fresh snow.

Mike stops on curve

The trail starts

Years ago, I skied these trails regularly, but in recent years, there’s not been enough snow.

The trail starts through the trees and a short distance from the start, a person can choose to take a long, long, LONG route south, or curve back to the north. That’s me.  Ready to take the curve back north.

So, along the river I skied for about 45 minutes.  My daughter would roll her

away from camera along river bank wtrmrk

along the trail

eyes. When she and I used to do this every week, we’d be gone for a few hours.




Maybe next time.  But certainly not today.  Dang I’m outta shape.

So, the trail in to 2013, hopefully will take me back to better physical conditioning and I won’t take the turn back to the north, but will ski along the trail south of Cross Ranch.

Are you up to join me some afternoon?


February 20

A short line for a short run

Yeah, I know skiing in North Dakota seems strange, especially if you cling to the stereotype of a flat-as-a-pancake myth of North Dakota.  Several ski areas in the state welcome skiers and snowboarders for a fun, light-hearted, fast and inexpensive break from winter’s doldrums.  Take Huff Hills for example, south of Mandan along the Missouri River.  For less money than you probably have in your pocket right now, you can rent skis, use the lifts and get a good workout.

Even if you don’t ski, it’s a good place to hang out and watch the more energetic folks with their colorful winter wear.  The funny thing is, the excitement and the life of Huff Hills is just down the road from the somber mood of the Veteran’s Cemetery. One does not offset the other, but they compliment each other, and they display North Dakota’s multi-faceted culture and social environment.

And oh yeah, if you do decided to set down your hot chocolate and give the quick little runs a try, there are all the accommodations of large mountain ski areas, from the lifts, to the ever-present ski patrol.  (Now THAT’S a job I regret I didn’t try harder to get when I was younger.)