It’s winter all right. But any more, that doesn’t guarantee snow. Thinking back on growing up in Duluth evoke memories of high snowbanks, snow days off school, building igloo-like forts and constant snow cover throughout the winter months. If there were brown Christmases or sparse snow years, my memory has conveniently deleted the images.
This snow season started with great promise. Early delivery of a decent snowfall in early November and cold temperatures to hold it on the ground seemed to bode well for the winter. But fickle weather with tropical warmth rapidly erased that bountiful jump start. And still we wait for replacement snow.
If the snow won’t come to us, our only option is to seek it elsewhere. The day after Christmas, brought our first success, finding beautiful fresh snow inland from Lutsen. Driving along the narrow road, hushed by the snow covering and flanked by trees laden with deep new snow on the branches was heavenly. It was even better getting out and hiking in it, blanketed by silence.
Finding snow for cross-country skiing requires additional ingenuity. Returning up the North Shore to Tofte brought us to Onion River Road, which proved high enough above Lake Superior to hold a recent snowfall. Prior experience has taught us that the flat roadbed absent of brush and other undergrowth along with excellent grooming provides the first good skiing of the season. It held true once more, and we logged 22k each on that stretch of snow.
New Years Day found us in cabin country, north of Grand Rapids. Although the snow cover wasn’t deep, the large expanse of white lake gave the illusion of real winter. Snowshoes were certainly unnecessary, but substituting warm boots and bracing against the wind to hike along the lakeshore was a decent substitute for that winter activity.
It’s not over until it’s over. Up here in the Northland we have plenty of winter months left. But until the ultimate snow storm comes, the search for snow continues.