Monday, November 17, 2008

On the cusp of three seasons

My brain is spinning, caught between three of my favorite outdoor activities. First and foremost is the impending start of 'Holy Week', the Wisconsin Deer Gun season, on Saturday. Stands have been repaired and sited, rifles dialed in, blaze orange clothing and gear sorted, and, frankly, focus on most of my daily activities has been lost. The nine day season traditionally begins the Saturday before Thanksgiving and ends the Sunday after. The last time I attended work/school for the complete 3 days before the Thanksgiving break was in the 7th grade in 1966. My dad told me that if I got good grades I could take the three days off the next year; you can bet that mid term 8th grade report card was all A's and B's. Still, with the focus on the hunting season I'm still hanging on to the kayak season and looking forward to the start of the ski season.

I left camp early on Sunday after completing some deer season related chores, Q-boat on the roof. It was about 28F (-2C) and, figuring it may be my last Gitchee Gumee paddle of the season, donned the tuliq and neoprene mitts and hit the big lake. After a brisk warm up paddle I did exactly 7 rolls of various types. My head, even with the 3mm neoprene of the tuliq, felt like a block of ice. That little bit of seepage around the face was chilly to say the least. RangerBob's newfie Mary is a far more tolerant organism than I. She actually looks happy as she leaves the freezing waters of Chequamagon Bay. After getting the boat back on the roof and cranking the heater to thaw the frozen head and claw-like hands, I headed up the hill in Duluth toward home. What I saw was the last activity in my three 'brain spinning' avocations, the ski hill at Spirit Mountain. They had at least a dozen snowmaking machines cranked at full blast, creating a mini blizzard over the area. I had to swing in to check it out of course. It looks like they may be skiing by Thanksgiving Day.

Deer hunting ends on 30 November and the inland lakes will likely be frozen by then also. That leaves skiing only (remember, I'm not a pool session guy; I'm an anti chlor-ite) after December 1. For the next couple weeks I'll just have to live with those three activities jumbling my brain. The Russians love a troika, whether it be horse sleighs or politics, and I guess I do too, at least for a couple more weeks.

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