Something Good in February

It’s 2021, it’s February, it’s still winter. I’m challenging myself to find something good to be celebrated every day this month, in the interest of mental health. I need help, and thinking on good, deserving things is going to do wonders. Yep.

A lot of my southern friends have felt sorry for me, having to live “up north” in the winter. I will be the first to admit that the winters are long and can get pretty cold, but there are bright spots to being here.

Entering Wisconsin from the southern border, most of what one sees are farms, lots of farms, and small cities and towns. About 2/3 of the way north, things change and when you finally reach Hayward, you find… trees, lots of trees. Real forests, that go on for a long ways.

Mosquito Brook runs through the forest. There were no mosquitoes. None.

Thirty years ago when I was living here, logging was a huge industry. I used to see the logging trucks, fully loaded, on the roads, and wonder how there could be any trees left in the forests. That was years ago and there are still as many, if not more, logs being hauled out. The forests are so well managed, and so BIG, that there is no apparent shortage of trees.

Back view of sweet machine

And now for the bright spot. Today I got to go out in the forest with my brother on his snowmobile. We rode tandem for two hours. On the way home we switched places and I got to drive. Miraculously, we did not fall off the trail. The experience is a cross between riding a boat in choppy water, riding a dirt bike on rough roads or maybe a bit like posting on a horse with a rough trot. All done out in the forest, at speeds between 0 and 30 (40) mph and at temperatures usually below freezing. We call it winter recreation.

Recreation is pretty big here in the Hayward area because there aren’t a lot of other ways to make a living. People take ice fishing, snowshoeing, skiing and snowmobiling very seriously. There are about eight snowmobile clubs in this northwest corner of Wisconsin that have found ways to get from here to there, mapped them, created apps and invited the “world” to get up here and have fun in the snow. On good weekends the motel parking lots are full of trucks and trailers from as far away as the Dakotas, and the sound of snow machines is in the air. The trails are groomed often. Some are like the “interstates” of the forest and some are “one laners” complete with mile markers and signage.

Not exactly crowded out there, but we weren’t alone either.

My brother’s new machine has heated seats, hand grips, and the throttle (for that cold thumb). Even the helmets plug in and stay warm. It’s a very comfortable, maybe even luxurious, ride. However, they haven’t yet learned how to make them quiet. We live close to a major trail into town and I hear the snow machines a lot. I can only imagine what the deer, bear, wolves and coyotes are thinking now that their forest homes have been invaded.

Groups of snowmobilers travel for hours, stopping for “refreshments” and fuel at designated resorts and bars, bringing a lot of business to our area. All this happy influx of business hinges on two requirements. There has to be snow, preferably quite a bit of snow, and it can’t be so cold that it’s no longer fun but dangerous. This winter has not been bad so far, but we have February to get through yet.

I did enjoy my ride today. The forest was wild, the trail was full of twists, turns, hills and ravines – just beautiful! Most of the time I had no idea where we were, but I was glad to be there anyway. Something good happened today, just sayin’…

5 thoughts on “Something Good in February

  1. YES! we had grand times snowmobiling in Alaska. No heated seats or helmets but down gear designed to keep us toasty. Of course we were young and adventurous and it was ALL FUN! When it’s dark 20 hrs a day you’ll do most anything!

    On Sun, Jan 31, 2021, 7:51 PM I Just Have to Say… wrote:

    > shirleyjdietz posted: ” It’s 2021, it’s February, it’s still winter. I’m > challenging myself to find something good to be celebrated every day this > month, in the interest of mental health. I need help, and thinking on good, > deserving things is going to do wonders. Yep. A lo” >

  2. Winter is a matter of personal perspective for me. My least favorite season of the year is summer. So living in the south where summer is extended somewhat and dreadful during the hotter parts would be difficult for me. I live in the mid-atlantic so I get 4 very separate seasons and I love that. And for the record, my favorite season IS winter. I guess it just comes down to what you personally prefer – and if you truly know what that is – then you should live where that season is expressed purely. Winter folks love cold – not cool like in the south. Summer people love heat – not warmish temps like in the north. It is all a matter of personal perspective.

    • Yes, so true. I feel sorry for those who get “trapped” somewhere they don’t enjoy. I have always identified with the north because I started out here in childhood. It was my norm, which makes it easier to be back here now. But winter can get really long, even if you enjoy it.

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