I miss the Paul Bunyan Trail.
As soon as the ice melts - and sometimes before - in the spring until the snow flies, I enjoy the trail almost daily. I live a few blocks off the trail and enjoy jogs with the dog, biking and walking the trail.
I particularly enjoy the trail after the first snow. Unlike summers, when the trail is buzzing with activity, I often have my stretch of the trail north of Pequot Lakes to myself. The quiet beauty of the trail is amazing.
But that ends after the second or third snowfall, or whenever enough snow acccumulates and snowmobiles take over.
I enjoy snowmobiling. I don't own a sled, but if I did, I don't know if I'd spend much time riding the trail - I prefer off-trail riding - although the trail does run through the heart of lakes country and beats riding the ditches or for snowmobilers jumping from lake to lake and the like.
Instead, I'd like to see the trail groomed for cross-country skiing, with snowshoeing opportunities just off the trail, along the woodlands and lakes that line and dot much of the trail. There could be a "lane" for joggers, too, at least until the snow got too deep for foot traffic, although that makes for a good workout.
Now, even walking or jogging the trail probably wouldn't be wise. And I wouldn't want to snowshoe anywhere near the trail, for safety reasons and the noise factor. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are best enjoyed in the quiet of the backcountry.
Last winter, I was back on the trail by early March. If November and the first week and a half of December are any indication, that's not likely this winter. Until then, I'll snowshoe wherever possible. That's the beauty of snowshoeing - you don't need, or want, trails. Just deep pockets of snow. But the cross-country ski opportunities are fairly limited. Not nearly the accessibility of snowshoeing.
Groomed ski trails on the Paul Bunyan Trail would change that in a big way.