I’ve decided to add some groomed ski trails at my Old Vermilion Trail public bird feeders. What could be better now than a grand day in the woods just north of Duluth?!
Actually my deciding to add cross-country ski trails came about by accident this past Wednesday. I knew after Tuesday’s five inch snowfall over the hill, I wanted to try some early season skiing at Boulder Lake. On my way out to the Boulder Lake Trails, I stopped to refill my feeders. Old Vermilion Trail is a dirt road, and on Wednesday morning it had not yet been plowed. Knowing that the Boulder Lake Ski Trails can be rutted with lots of debris in the early season, I decided to ski Old Vermilion. After a delightful ski on the road, I decided to set some tracks on the old logging road which is directly opposite my feeders. For the past five days, while everyone in the Duluth area has been bemoaning the lack of snow, I’ve been having some great skis (classic only, not skate) on my personal trails!
Unfortunately the last few days of temperatures in the 40’s have done a number to my trails, and I am now in need of new snow. However, I plan to keep the ski trail open this year … if only for my own benefit. It was fun to drive the short distance out of Duluth this afternoon, do some birding and then ski for an hour. Please note these are skied in trails, not professional groomers or equipment. In short, cross-country skiing like it used to be. Bring on the Birkie!
Here are some Black-capped chickadee photos from late this afternoon and the garmin data from my ski. As I was setting some new trail this afternoon (lower section on screenshot), it slowed me down a bit. From a birding vantage point I saw the following: black-capped chickadees, red-breasted nuthatches, bluejays, downy woodpeckers, pileated woodpeckers and one ruffed grouse. Nothing exotic … just the normal birds.
At any point this winter, please feel free to email me for current ski trail conditions! You’ll find my email address in the “About Me” section of this blog (see blog header menu).
Finally, my Minnesota Birding News App (IOS and Android) is out of beta and now launched. There is no charge for the app. My thanks to the 25+ folks who helped me test the app, but particularly Dan Tallman whose input and testing was extremely valuable. Try out his blog!