Northwoods Sojourn

It’s pretty hard to beat fall in the Wisconsin Northwoods–and we seem to make a trip north about this time each year to visit the in-laws and get outside in the crisp, mosquito-free air.

This time, I took the Pugsley and squeezed in not one but two different rides.

On Saturday, after a stop for lunch and a growler at the Great Dane in Wausau, I headed out on the Bearskin Trail to ride from Hwy K to Minocqua and back. I’ve done this 36-mile round trip in as little as 2.5 hours on the fat-bike in the past, but this time it was simply too beautiful to go that fast. A combination of a leisurely pace, some exploratory side trips on various snowmobile trails, and plenty of stops for photos meant that it took me nearly 5 hours. The ride started out drizzling and wet, but then the wind shifted and the rain stopped, making way for some dazzling late afternoon sunshine.

And yes, I do ride the Bearskin nearly ever time I go to the farm. But it’s easy to see why.

On Sunday, we woke to frost and clear skies and very little wind. Couldn’t ask for a better day to ride around in the woods, so I visited another of my favorite trails at McNaughton Lake. These are primarily ski trails, so there’s no single-track. Essentially, they’re perfect for off-road fat-bike touring in the woods. And they circle not one but three lakes, all of them undeveloped. I rode three laps in order to make sure I took in all of the trails at least once; only on the last lap did I see another human being.

There were at least a half-dozen perfect places to stop and make coffee–but alas, I forgot to bring my coffee-outside gear. Photos and water-gazing had to suffice.

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