I have decided to make this the last report of the season. It seems that the 2012-13 season is ending with a "whimper" and not a "bang". Most riders seem to have run out of time or money or both and even though conditions are still good, there is little activity. Easter weekend being the final weekend of the season probably won't add to the activity. Our season began slowly with little snow and then suddenly just before Christmas there was a major dump and we were off and running. After a brief warm up in mid January it just kept getting better. With over 30 inches on the ground in Strongs and 5 feet reported in Grand Marais, the meltdown will take a while.
I will close with some of my memories of the 2012-2013 season. First and foremost I remember rides on wonderful white trails with good friends! I remember the Wednesday night ride in the groomer to Trout Lake after about a foot of heavy wet snow had fallen. Every twig, every branch was loaded with snow and hanging in on both sides of the trail waiting to slap the groomer cab and deposit its load on the windshield. Winter scenery doesn't get any better than that!! I remember the trip to "Big Spring" and watching the "lunker" trout lazing on the bottom in crystal clear water. I remember the overnight trip my wife and I took to Drummond Island and the absolutely perfect trails there and back! I remember our trip to Munising at the end of the season and entering the "Duck Lake Fire" area. A vast white moonscape opened before me and once we entered, had it not been for the compass on the sled, I would have been only able to give you two directions, "up" and "down"! If you want to experience the awesome power of a forest fire without the first hand danger visit that area summer or winter. I remember the trip back through the same area in a snowstorm with blowing and drifting. Had it not been for the orange diamonds and the intrepid groomer driver making his nightly run before us, we probably would still be out there somewhere under a snow drift. Our sleds were not made to handle the 4 and 5 foot drifts we encountered.
May your "off" season be full of pleasure and good fortune. It has been a pleasure to serve as the trail reporter for the Chippewa Snow Chasers this past year and sincerely hope you found this report informative and helpful. Remember snowmobiling like you have had this past season, exists only because we are organized and have thousands of volunteers putting in countless hours to keep the trails open and the groomers running. Join a club or clubs where you ride, volunteer your time to work on the trails and join the Michigan Snowmobile Association as well. These organizations are your voice to keep Michigan snowmobiling strong.
Although the groomers stop running on March 31 and the trails are officially closed you will be able to play in the National Forest areas well into April. We ask you to remember that we have leased property for our trails and those leases expire on March 31. Two of the key areas are the Hulbert Lake Association Property on the south side of Hulbert Lake and the property east of Sullivan Creek Road (3131) going toward Rudyard. If you ride on those sections of our trail after March 31st you are trespassing and it could lead to a loss of the leases for next year. Please respect the rights of those private owners who allow us to use their property for our trails every year.