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Deer Lake, in Michigan's U.P.  

     This picture was taken about 5K into the Noquemanon cross-country ski race, which runs over 50K, from Ishpeming, to Marquette.
    For this race, they start us classical skiers well ahead of the freestyle skiers, so we get the trail to ourselves for quite awhile, until the speedy fellas overtake us. They've gentrified the trail course in the last few years, but for the first few outings we skied down the spillway of the dam at Deer Lake. This was quite a challenge for one year that didn't have much snow cover, since the steep descent was terribly rutted, with a sharp turn, midway down the slope.
    The route of this race isn't even a ski trail for any other day of the year, but for this event, they re-route any snowmobile traffic that might otherwise want to travel along the way. Plenty of snowmobile trails still crisscross the ski route, so we get to meet lots of families who spend the day in the woods, building a fire, and enjoying the outdoors. Everybody's in a good mood, and it's impressive how so many people intentionally choose to get outdoors this way, and stay out there for a long time, even on very cold winter days.
    I'll try to add some more photos to this page soon. -->

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Warren Slocum
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