Letters

Letters 09-29-2014

Benishek Doesn’t Understand

Congressman Benishek claims to understand the needs of families, yet he wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would cause about 10 million people to lose their health insurance. He must think as long as families can hold fundraisers they don’t need insurance...

(Un)Truth In Advertising

Constant political candidate ads on TV are getting to be too much to bear 45 days before the election...

Rare Tuttle Rebuttal

Finally, I disagree with Stephen Tuttle. His “Cherry Bomb” column in the 8/4/14 issue totally dismayed me. I always love his wit and the slamming of the 1 percent. His use of fact and hyperbole highlights the truth; until “Cherry Bomb.” Oh man, Stephen...

Say No To Fluoride

Do you or your child’s teeth have white, yellow, orange, brown, stains, spots, streaks, cloudy splotches or pitting? If so, you may be among millions of Americans who now have a condition called dental fluorosis...

Questions Of Freedom

The administration’s “Affordable Health Care Act” has ordered religious orders to provide contraception and chemical abortions against the church’s God given beliefs and teachings … an interesting order, considering the First Amendment’s clear prohibitions...

Stop The Insults & Talk

I found it interesting that Ms. Minervini used the Northern Express to push the Safe Harbor agenda for a 90-bed homeless shelter in Traverse City with a tactic that is also being utilized by members of the city commission. Those of us who oppose the project are being labeled as uncompassionate citizens...

Roads and Republicans

Each time you hit a road crater while driving, thank the “nerd” and the Tea Party controlled Republican legislature.

Home · Articles · News · Features · Easy glider
. . . .

Easy glider

Mike Terrell - December 7th, 2009
Easy Glider
Snowmobile trail busting
in the Boardman River Valley
By Mike Terrell
George VanKersen, one of the volunteer snowmobilers who regularly
helps groom the Boardman Valley Trail, said “it’s time to do a little
trail busting.”  We left the smoothly-groomed snowmobile trail and
followed him down a sun dappled, untracked two-track and out into an
open meadow in the Pere Marquette State Forest southeast of Traverse
City.
The snow was so deep last winter it almost buried VanKersen’s sled.
It was light enough on this crisp January morning to form a cloud that
almost covered him.  Following closely, all I could see bounding
across the open field was the top of his bright blue helmet.
Running on adrenaline and still feeling the exhilaration of our “trail
busting” experience, we continued down a narrow, twisting, snake-like
trail along a bluff overlooking the Boardman River and valley.  Shafts
of sunlight streaming through the dense forest created a strobe-like
effect as it glistened off the freshly fallen snow covered trees.
Maneuvering around a few large cedar trees we broke out along a
treeless section of bluff.  Below the swift-flowing Boardman River
hugged the snowy bluff and an unbroken forest stretched to the
horizon.  A couple of startled deer bounded off into the woods, their
white tails waving like flags in the air.

SNOWMAKING MACHINE
The average snowfall for Traverse City can range from 10 to 12 feet in
depth.  Fortunately it doesn’t come all at once.  Lake Michigan acts
as a gigantic snowmaking machine, and, since the lake hasn’t frozen
completely in recent winters, it continues to pump snow into the
region all winter long; normally a real plus for snowmobiling.  The
sampling we had just experienced is often available midweek mornings.
It was midweek and not too many downstate and out-of-state snowmobiles
were out.  This morning we had the trail to ourselves.  Freshly
groomed, the smooth, “corduroy highway,” as VanKersen called it, was a
delight to ride.  Traveling over 80-some miles that bright January
day, we encountered only a handful of other riders.
Weekends are much different, according to the avid snowmobiler.
“You are more likely to encounter more snowmobilers out enjoying a
ride on the trail, but even then it’s large enough to quickly absorb
them.  It seldom feels crowded, but to make ‘first tracks’ midweek,
that’s special,” he laughed.
Along the way we stopped at the Fife Lake Inn, a popular waterhole
just off the snowmobile trail, for a quick, hearty lunch.  Handling a
snowmobile for a few hours will put a rumble in the old tummy, and
thankfully there are a number of good choices along the Boardman
Valley Trail:  Gordies, also in Fife Lake; the Kingsley Inn, just a
mile off the trail down a groomed spur; Ranch Rudolf, a western-like
compound located right on the trail and river; and VanKersen’s popular
Peegeo’s, located near the High Lake staging area where we started.

TRAILS AROUND TC
The number of stops along the trail system is one of the reasons you
are seeing more families out using the trails around Traverse City,
VanKersen pointed out.
“You know what it’s like traveling with kids.  If you can’t make
frequent stops it’s often not a pleasant experience, and snowmobiling
is no different.  Unlike riding in the UP and Canada, where you can go
50 to 100 miles between towns and stops, you are always within 15
miles or less of a potential cozy rest stop along the 81-mile Boardman
trail system.
“I’ve seen the family snowmobile market really grow in the last few
years.  We serve more pop on winter weekends than beer in the
restaurant.  Maybe it used to be the Hell’s Angels of winter on
snowmobiles in the old days, but that image has changed.  It’s a
family market now; especially around the Traverse City area where you
have so many activities to choose from.
“You can ride hundreds of miles if that’s your desire. Snowmobiling
doesn’t get much better than around the Grand Traverse Region with its
links to other state trails,” he concluded.
 
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