Friday March 11th, 2011-Trails Closed



I got word a little while ago that the Iron Snowshoe Trails have closed for the season. They will reopen ATV trails when the frost comes out of the ground, usually the first weekend in May.


Greetings and welcome!

I expected today to be warm and sunny and it is. If it was not for the breeze coming across the snow cover it would probably be 55 or 60 out. It is very warm in the sun and out of the wind.

As of 12:30 it was 48 and the sun is out in full force. It is melting stuff fast and pretty much terminating any hopes for weekend riding around here. There will be secluded spots like Chickadee and the trails in the forest, but riding system wide probably isn’t going to happen.

If we had the snow from the last storm in Jan or Feb we would be able to ride on it for weeks. Yesterday the sun ate through spots and turned them to mud in an afternoon.

If I were to ride tomorrow I’d probably trailer over to Chickadee and head toward Lakewood or Crooked Lake, and try to stay on heavily forested trails. It would be in the context of one last run back and forth on a 10 mile stretch or something to that effect.

Steve from Athelstane Weather left a comment this morning that we had northern lights last night..

  1. Steve Says:
    March 11th, 2011 at 9:21 am Hi Ray, Not sure if you seen them last night but the northern lights made an appearance. My camera caught them even if it was short lived. You can check them out in movie form at and will only be there until tomorrow morning. The sun is starting to fire up so there will be more to come. 


Thank you very much Steve! The hi-res Aurora Cam is really really cool. It showed them off very nicely! Go click his link and see. That is really something.

I actually lucked out and was driving north on a dark road between 10:30 and 11 last night and saw them. I pulled over and checked them out, apparently right at the peak of them.

Steve mentioned that the sun is firing up and there is a chance of more occurrences of the northern lights.  Looking at the World Climate Widget in the RH column, I see that the sunspot number is 137 and solar flux is 155. That is higher than I have seen in a long time, indicating an active sun, and yes a chance of more northern lights.

The sun has cycles of more and less activity. In more active periods there are more sunspots and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that send out charged particles. When they come our way, they cause the northern lights. The cycles are usually about 11 years peak to peak. We are in Solar Cycle 24, which should have ramped up a couple of years ago. It has been late and weak, and as a result it has been years since we have had an active spell of northern lights.

Based on the fact that I can’t even get on the site, I am guessing that people are pretty excited about it. They also cover the sun at length over at, and here is a link to a good article about it.

Again, thank you Steve.


While the snow storm this week was great and the second one promising, a couple of warm sunny days washed out chances  riding around here this weekend. The small storm for tonight and tomorrow does not hold the promise of much snow. Our last chance to ride was probably Wednesday and yesterday.

Next week the focus turns to whitewater rafting. If you visit the Milwaukee Sports Show this weekend stop by and see our friends from Kosir’s. Once they get back, the preparations will kick into overdrive. The first rafting trip of the year is in 22 days, on the morning of April2nd. They/we have a lot of equipment to get ready and plans to put in place. My early season forecast is due next week too.

I will be back either Sunday or Monday to wrap things up here. In the meantime, have a good weekend and thank you for visiting!


49.6F @ 1:43pm