Saturday, October 25, 2008

North Star Ski Touring Club Writes about Weekend of Trail Clearing on the Banadad

Nine North Stars arrived at host Ted and Barbara Young's Poplar Creek B & B on the evening of Thursday, October 16, ready to clear the BWCA’s Banadad Ski Trail. The group was put-up in the Little Ollie Lake Cabin and one of the rooms in the Poplar Creek Guesthouse B&B. Each day a huge farm-style breakfasts was prepared for us and we returned to mouth-watering dinners and a refrigerator stocked with beer.

On Friday morning, we paddled across a very calm Poplar Lake. We left our canoes at one end of Mead portage and hiked a long trail, part of which was steep and rocky. The day's work consisted of nipping alders and overhanging pine branches as well as cutting down and removing larger trees. Two men took down a stony berm in the trail.

Hiking to our canoes in the late afternoon, I noticed gold underfoot – gold leaves, gold cedar tips, gold pine needles – a welcome cushion for tired feet.

The second day, we drove to a different area on the Banadad. Our group cleared from the western Banadad Trailhead in approximately four miles. A few of us ate our trail lunches sitting in the sun on a bridge crossing a rushing creek between East Dawkins and West Dawkins lakes.

In the evening, several North Stars attended a meeting which saw the initial formation of the BWCA Banadad Trail Association, a non-profit dedicated to maintenance of the Banadad for future generations Ted agreed to continue to serve as Trail Maintenance and Grooming Coordinator.

Our last day, we hiked to an area near Tall Pines yurt where we worked through the morning clearing the western side of the Tall Pine Yurt.

Then we showered, packed, and ate lunch with in the B & B Guesthouse dining room. Ted thanked us for successfully clearing more than seven miles of the Banadad and he noted that North Stars have volunteered trail-clearing there for over 25 years, longer than any other group of volunteers. Barbara pointed out that only she has “volunteered” for Ted longer than the North Stars.

Together, we all shared the highlights of our invigorating trail-clearing experience: beautiful fall weather; lovely small trees on the side of the trail -trees that will need nipping in future years; fascinating lichens, fungi, and rare sphagnum moss spores; a old two-holer outhouse along side the trail at the site of the "Old Logging Camp" which one North Star passionately wishes to be forever preserved; lively discussions touching on diverse topics, including politics; and absolutely fabulous meals, including a roast turkey dinner and an ethnic Nordic brunch.

Trip leader Tom Rice summed it up: “Great crew! Great hospitality!”


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