Winter weekends in central Minnesota

In my adolescent years, usually with the Boy Scouts, I would throw my war surplus skis and poles over my shoulder and join a friend or two for a ski hike.  We’d carry our skis about a mile to a highway leading out of town.  From there we’d ski about two miles to some forested country along the Mississippi River.  Fire trails led everywhere through the forest, which we’d follow for miles on our skis.  Usually the sky was overcast and temperature about twenty degrees Fahrenheit.

We all had war surplus canteens and canteen cups, which we wore on war surplus web belts.  About noon we’d take a can of soup out of the war surplus gas mask bag we wore on our hips, built a fire, and heated the soup in our canteen cups.  This together with a sandwich stoked us for an afternoon of skiing.

Late afternoon we’d retrace our trip on skis back along the highway toward town, getting home about supper time, ravenously hungry.

A few years later, Doug and I were in the Brainerd Ski Club.  We had a little hill with a rope tow near the Mississippi River behind the airport.  Saturdays and Sundays we’d spend the afternoons up and down the hill, developing our balance on skis and later doing some ‘hot-dogging.’

The forest is now the location of the expanded Brainerd airport.  The river frontage is all built up with upscale homes.

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