Stepping Outdoors With Craig Blog Stepping Outdoors With Craig

  • 30 days Done! Next?

    Posted by Craig Holgate

    30 days in April and 30 days pedaling my bike. And yes it was not the nicest biking weather and I received more than one strange look while biking in a snowstorm! The challenge did the trick though....last year I biked 207 miles in Apirl and this year I logged 260 miles. Had it not been for the challenge I probably would have only biked about 26! (Also burned over 15,000 calories as well) So I'm glad I made the pledge. Now what?

    Glad you asked! The National Bike Challenge starts today and goes for 5 months, and it's not too late to sign up. It's a free program that is just designed to get people out biking more....and it works. So check it out, sign up and turn those pedals.

  • So How Much Snow Melted?

    Posted by Craig Holgate

    This Much!

    Melting Snow

    On Friday I put a yardstick in my backyard in one of the average high spots. Now granted this was an area hit by the snow blower and shovel over the winter, but there were several spots of equal depth across the yard. The middle photo was taken about 24 hours later and the last photo was taken 48 hours later. That's a lot of snow gone!


  • So How's that Biking going?

    Posted by Craig Holgate

    This month I took the 30 days of Biking challenge, along with more than 3 thousand others, and what a COLD start it's been. I decided to look back and see how much biking I did last April, remember when the weather was warmer and I didn't know about this silly challenge. Well I biked 207 miles last April.....notice the lack of snow in the picture below.

    April 2012 Biking on the Soo Line Trail

    And so far this month with the trails still snow covered I've biked 82 miles. So with the challenge, and the poorer weather, I'm on track to bike only slightly more than last April. However, I guess if it wasn't for the challenge I would probably only have 20 miles on my bike this month! Here's the view from my handle bars the other day....

    April 2013 Bike Riding

    Let's hope the warm up gets here soon because the National Bike Challenge begins on May 1st! So get your team together and plan to ride, although I don't blame you if you wait for it to warm up a bit first.



  • Bike into Spring

    Posted by Craig Holgate

    Okay, so spring really isn't here yet with the snow on the ground and the cool temperatures, but you can kick it off starting today. 30 Days of Biking is now underway with it's 4th year. 

    30 Days of Biking

    "30 days of biking has one rule: Bike somewhere every day for 30 days—around the block, 20 miles to work, whatever suits you—then share your adventures online. We advocate daily bicycling because we believe it enriches lives and preserves the Earth. A worldwide, thousands-strong community of joyful cyclists has been forming around that idea since April 2010—and will further amass in 2013! We ride our bikes every day."

    You can make the pledge here, and join us! I'm not saying I'll get all 30, but I'm going to give it a try. And it's a great warm up for the National Biking Challenge, which I'm also signed up for, that begins on May 1st. Pedal On!

  • Vacation Highlights

    Posted by Craig Holgate

    Spend a week driving around anywhere in this country and you’re bound to come back with a few highlights. Here is a quick recap of mine….

    While in South Carolina I found Fort Sumter to be a very interesting tour. An hour round trip by boat and an hour out on the island provided to be very enlightening about the beginnings of our civil war. If you’re ever in the area, make this excursion, you’ll be glad you did.

    Fort Sumter

    Top Photo is the top of a mural in the museum at the Fort. Second Photo is of a row of cannons still on their mounts. Third, the now tattered American Flag that flew over the Fort. And last is a scale model of the fort when it was operational. 

    Driving though parts of Tennessee we came across the Ocoee Whitewater Center, which was the 1st time Olympic kayaking competition was held on a natural river. As we drove past we watched dozens of kayakers and rafters taking advantage of recent rains to run the river. (Made us wish we had boats with!) Below is a photo of one of the many creeks feeding this water wonderland.

    Goforth Creeek

    In North Carolina we spent a morning hiking in the Dupont State Forest. Widely known for its miles of hiking and waterfalls it did not disappoint.

    High Falls, NC

    Triple Falls, NC

    So if you’re wondering how close all these places are to one another…they're not. My friend Chuck and I put on 1449 miles on our rental car, oh and picked up 153 geocaches along the way as well. Sure beats working!

  • Taylor Swift Cross Country Skis?!?

    Posted by Craig Holgate

    Okay, so I don't know if she does ski or not but the U.S. Ski team had fun doing a music video to her latest song. Fun to see these world class atheletes have such a good time!


  • A change of Pace...

    Posted by Craig Holgate

    Sure with new snow on the ground this weekend, I'm usually reaching for my skis. But I knew the local trails wouldn't be groomed so I got working on inside chores. After working halfway through one file cabinet drawer I texted my friend Mike and asked if he wanted to get out the snowshoes. 30 minutes later we were tromping through the woods making fresh tracks in the all the snow. Have you ever heard about how people can get lost in the woods because they just go in circles? Well we didn't ever get lost, but we had that circle thing down pat in no time. 


    We also came across several deer tracks and even jumped a grouse up out of a snow roost. It was interesting to go over and see where it had come up out of the snow, escaping it's snowy roost without much disturbance of the snow cover. A great way to spend a few hours on a late afternoon! 

  • There is Snow UP There!

    Posted by Craig Holgate

    I spent the weekend up in the UP of Michigan, specifically in the Houghton area. The main purpose of the trip was to watch the final college ski races of the season. Of course while I was there I was able to do some skiing myself, and I came to the conclusion we don't have snow. Yes we have some white stuff on the ground, but not the amount that has piled up there. Of course the UP is known for it's snow and it snowed, in varying degrees, pretty much the whole time I was there. 

    UP Snow

    Upper left, the ski trails at Swedetown in Calumet MI. Upper middle, a trail sign wears a large snow hat! Upper right, the single track portion of the Bergland Trail near Bergland MI. Bottom photo some of the members of the St. Cloud State Huskies Cross Country Team that competed in the weekend races. I also found in downtown Houghton a couple of good brewhouses: The Library, I enjoyed the Whiteout Wheat. And don't miss a stop at the Keweenaw Brewing Company. I enjoyed the Double IPA, however it's not always available, but with their variety I'm sure you'll find something to enjoy. This area is also a great place for snowmobling, with a large network of trails. So if your searching for snow and some good brew, check out the UP. They have both!

  • Eagle Cam! (LIVE)

    Posted by Craig Holgate

    There is an bald eagle nest in the Twin Cities that this year has a webcam watching it. Which means you can watch the nesting process as well. Currently there are 3 eggs laid in the nest, so check back from time to time and watch the progress.


    Still Shot from Eagle Cam


  • Skiing the Gunflint

    Posted by Craig Holgate

    The Gunflint Trail is an annual destination for us to go skiing each winter and again this year it didn't disappoint! Plenty of snow and the trails were in great shape.

    Gunflint Group

    Top photo is looking off our deck out on to East Bearskin Lake from beautiful Bearskin Lodge. Bottom left is of the double tracked Ox Cart Classic Ski Trail. And lower right is proof that around here they close roads during the winter so they can turn them into ski trails! We also made this ski trip a mini-family reunion.

    Upper Right trying to teach my nephew Hunter to ski for the first time. His conculsion? "These skis are slippery!" Upper Right, another example of the well groomed trails out of Bearskin Lodge. Lower photo shows some of our group making their way across the lake. (Note Hunter is upright in this photo!)

    Find out more about skiing the Gunflint Trail and Bearskin Lodge here.

  • This is Prime Time!

    Posted by Craig Holgate

    Wax up those skis and get out and enjoy the month of February! This is a great time to be on the trails and there this a lot happening in the world of Nordic Skiing.

    Area High Schools in Section 7 will compete for the right to go to the state meet tomorrow at Giants Ridge. Then on the 14th is the big State Meet also being held at Giants Ridge.

    Consistent snowfall over the past couple of weeks have really improved the trails. This past week I skied at Mt. Valhalla outside of Washburn, and found plenty of snow. 

    Mt. Valhalla Ski Trails

    I also made a stop at the Afterhours Ski Trails in Brule.....

    Afterhours Ski Trail

    Plenty of trails to is the time to get out and enjoy winter!

  • Can you Ski this Winter?

    Posted by Craig Holgate

    No doubt this has been a tough winter for skiing, but that's not stopping a lot of people from trying.

    You don't have to watch this all the way through if you don't want to. You'll get the idea and all the information in the first few minutes....