Hook and Bullet Club by Nick Wognum _ On the trail

A buggered up knee has meant no snowmobiling so far this season. With rain in the forecast for Monday, Saturday was the chosen day to hit the trails for the first time.
Even though it was President’s Day weekend and there was bound to be hundreds of sleds out, we decided to take the state trail. I was in the lead, friend Kelsey Pearce was next with my wife Mary the trail sweep.
Our first issue was the smoke rolling out of my sled every time I pressed the throttle. We stopped just outside of town and I opened the hood. There was oil in the exhaust and some near the spark plugs. But we decided to press on. It was too nice of a day not to.
We met plenty of riders out on the trails. Groups of two, groups of 12. Everybody with a friendly wave or the universal sign of holding up the number of fingers equal to the number of sleds behind them.
We hopped off the main route and took back trails, over lakes and though the woods until we reached the shack.
Upon arrival I did some maintenance on Mary’s sled. The new battery I put in that morning had an issue, the positive wire had broken off. Even a machine built 14 years ago needs a battery to run right. With a little luck and less skill, the wire was reattached.
Lunch was venison burgers on the grill along with a bag of chips. We shoveled off the deck to make room for some chairs and watched the Norway pines sway in the breeze. I hadn’t been out to the shack since muzzleloader season. But boy had I thought about it. This was a quick trip for sure but a relaxing one at that.
On the way home we stayed off the main trails. And even the side trails. This was the back way, the locals route. There were no signs, no orange diamonds. Just logging roads and portages, lakes and rivers. The best kind of riding in my book.
Before we got back to Ely we stopped in to visit Ron and Lori Dubbin. When we walked in Ron said he was just thinking I hadn’t stopped by yet this winter. Ron likes to remind me he used to babysit me back in the good old days. Someday I’ll tell him about how Lori and I used to pass notes back in Lincoln School. I think we’d all have a good laugh about that one.
There were plenty of laughs during our visit, a great way to end our ride. The sun was dipping into the tree line as we made our way into town. The ride was a success just for the fact the sleds didn’t break down. But throw in a stop at the shack and a visit with old friends and you have the makings for a memorable Saturday afternoon.