Winter still hanging on | Notes from the North Woods

However, as I headed upriver, winter’s wrath was still obvious. It was still possible to walk along the riverbanks, supported by the thick crusty snow.

But, by the time I reached Elizabethtown, the only apparent open water was a small channel snaking down the center current. In various stretches above the village, there were a few pockets of open water, but it appeared an extensive downriver excursion would result in more portaging than paddling.

At Split Rock Falls, several miles south of the village, I had to trudge through two feet of wet, heavy snow just to reach the riverbank.

The falls were still fully wrapped in blue ice and covered in white powder, with only a few hints of the black waters that flowed below.

As always, I traveled with a fishing rod and a camera, as well as snowshoes and ski poles. Eventually, I discovered pretty much what I had expected. It appears the winter is still hanging on.

Although a few of the signature signs of spring were around, the sighs of spring were more apparent. Anglers are frustrated by the lack of access to the cold, ice encapsulated waters.

The Trout Season has been open for over a week, and I have yet to receive a fish photo.

This is a timeframe when skiers get to enjoy a crust and dust surface for a fast morning trip into the backcountry, but they usually have to suffer through the slush and slop on the return. Backcountry ski trails are still in pretty good shape in the upper elevations, but with the recent warm weather, the base is getting quite soft.

Local sugar shacks report that it has been a very poor year for production. The annual sap run has been more like a slow crawl this season, and as a result, prices are sure to soar.

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