Trailriders Backus run, Winter '98

By John Nutter

It was Wednesday night and Tim, Mike Knorr and myself were in my garage stripping down some junk engines to send to the metal recycler. Mike mentioned that he'd like to go to Backus this weekend to take adavntage of the unusally warm weather we were having this December and get in one last trail ride for the year.

Thursday morning Tim called the Backus Mn DNR office to make sure it was OK to come up. We weren't sure becuase December is usually snowmobile season in that area. The DNR guy told Tim there was only snow in the shade and on the corners on the trails, and that we were welcome to come up. The only thing closed was the big hill (the Green Hill) on the power line road, and that had logs at the base so we'd know it was closed.

Tim backed out on Friday becuase he didn't want to get up at 5:00 Am to be at my house by 6:00 Am. Dave Jacobs and Rob Tracy both decided to go, so we had a decent sized group anyways.

At 6:00 on Saturday morning we headed out and we were unloading in Backus by 9:00 AM. Mike found a problem (foreshadowing) with his power steering system as we unloaded, and I had to go to a gas station to get some air for one of my tires. I still hadn't aired up since Midwest weekend in August. As I pulled up to the group Dave commented "No Smoke", needless to say I was happy to finally have a motor in my Jeep that wasn't a gross polluter. A couple more minutes of monkeying with Mike's PS and we were off.

Mike led us South out of town to some power line roads I hadn't been on before. There were some steep decents, but the climbs were easy. After a while the road started to flatten out and we headed back the way we had come in. This time the climbs were steep and we had some real fun. Before you get upset about the shots of Mike and I on the hill off to the side of the main trail you should realize that the right of way on these power lines goes from tree line to tree line, the whole thing is a road. At the present time the only place you can't drive on these power lines is through wet lands or any place specifically closed.

On one of the downhills we tested out articulation. I was impressed with the amount of flex Rob got out of his mild Terraflex lift.

After this we headed around the West side of the lake and up to the trails I usually use on the North side of town. Mike was leading and having a good time breaking the ice on the mud holes, until he broke his power steering again. We spent some time here working on Mike's Jeep but eventually gave up and let mike muscle the steering for the rest of the day. That was no small task with his 35x 15.5 Swampers.

Eventually we found the hill where Mark R had bent his windsheild frame a couple of years ago. I don't know of any other name for this hill. It's short and fairly steep with a loose sand section at the top and a tight loop around some bushes before you come back down. We all tried the hill and then moved on to the Big Bauld Hill. Everyonethat's been to Backus remebers this hill. Not so much becuase it's hard to climb, but becuase of the great veiw from the top. You can literally see for miles from up there.

It was after 3:00 by this time, and we didn't have enough time to play on the other power lines and get into town before dark, so we decided to head into town for refreshments instead. On the way out Mike challenged me to climb one of the big rocks on the side of the trail.

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