NISSWA - Someone not totally accustomed to our seasons might be confused.
Even those in the know might scratch their heads.
But whether the snow was just coming or finally receding, and whether leaves that dotted the slush were just falling or remnants of a fall past, it didn't matter.
The Paul Bunyan Trail was open and navigable. So were the golf courses. Spring was here. Or whatever season it is that allows for such activities these days. It's difficult to tell when April is a blur of spring and winter showers. The calendar tells us one thing, Mother Nature another.
Winter, spring and fall converged on the edge of the Paul Bunyan Trail on Saturday, just south of Nisswa. Brainerd Dispatch/ Brian S. Peterson » Purchase reprints of this photo.
But in my mind's eye, it was mid-spring - a time for biking, golfing and the lakes.
The lakes still are trying to shake off the effects of an elongated winter. And many of the golf courses opened later than planned after winter's most recent April Fool's prank. The greens, fairways and surrounding woodlands are mostly brown, with fists of snow piled here and there. Not overly pretty.
But it didn't matter.
On the trail, from Nisswa south to the outskirts of Merrifield, it was most certainly spring. And winter and fall.
Sawdust - to protect against damage from snowmobiles in the winter - covered the trail Saturday along Clark Lake, also just south of Nisswa. The leaves gave it the feel of a fall day. Brainerd Dispatch/ Brian S. Peterson » Purchase reprints of this photo.
For the first mile or two, the trail was dry and clear of debris, and the trees that loomed on either side showed hints of summer green. The sun was bright and warm.
Then came winter - or a late spring. Snow and slush lined the stretch of the trail, jutting across the path. It wasn't difficult to avoid but made for a wild, slippery ride if one decided to pedal through it. And in two stretches, sawdust still covered the path - a winter precaution to keep stud damage from snowmobiles at a minimum in heavy-use areas that lack alternate routes.
Bike tire tracks cut through the snow on the Paul Bunyan Trail. Brainerd Dispatch/ Brian S. Peterson » Purchase reprints of this photo.
From there, fall was around the corner. The trees were drab and naked and leaves were strewn about. The sun didn't seem quite as bright and warm.
But it didn't matter.
This week, the sawdust will be cleared away for summer traffic. And further south, construction began Monday on the highly anticipated trail overpass on Excelsior Road. It should be completed around September.
Snow lingered Saturday along the Paul Bunyan Trail south of Nisswa. Brainerd Dispatch/ Brian S. Peterson » Purchase reprints of this photo.
Or fall time. So the calendar says.
BRIAN S. PETERSON, outdoors editor, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5864.
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