Nordic Skating on Useless River close to Harlem – Massive Sky Walker

The necessity for pace.
Winter generally is a actual slog when you don’t have an exercise you take pleasure in doing exterior – for a lot of, it’s snowboarding. I proceed mountaineering via the winter and I like snowshoeing as effectively, however one factor that actually blows my hair again is strapping on my Nordic skates and zooming round on some wild ice. With all of the snow we had in north-central Montana final winter, the snowshoeing was nice – the ice skating, not a lot (an excessive amount of wind-blown crusty snow). I solely skated as soon as final winter, and that was whereas I used to be house in Helena for the vacation break. 😦

I like being proper!
The massive dump of snow we had in October is lengthy gone, so I’d been watching temperatures within the Milk River Valley (40 miles north of Hays the place I train), hoping to get a possibility to skate. With temps dipping down into the low teenagers a number of nights in a row this previous week, I suspected there is perhaps good ice on a pair oxbow lakes within the Milk River Valley. Wednesday(11/29/23) after college, I grabbed my skates and drove north to see if my hunch was appropriate. Ice on the mile-long unnamed oxbow lake by the Company was superb – clear, easy, snow-free, 3-4 inches thick! I skated round for about an hour, then drove 6 miles west to verify “Useless River”, an oxbow lake close to Harlem. The ice there was even higher, however darkness was setting in, so Useless River needed to wait till Friday morning (12/1/23).

A Friday to recollect.
My younger pal Alex (teaches fifth grade) joined me for the Friday morning skate on Useless River. It looks like at any time when I invite this younger man to go alongside, the climate is ideal. Today was no exception, and the ice was good as effectively (3-4 inches thick, like glass) . We skated backwards and forwards on the 1.7 mile observe of the oxbow lake for about virtually two hours, completely having fun with ourselves! Sadly, circumstances like this seldom final – Fluctuating temperatures (typical of Hello-Line winters) typically destroy the ice, wind storms cowl it with a movie of silt, or snow covers the floor. To see what two hours of skating on pristine wild ice appears like, try the photo tour, which incorporates a number of taken with my drone. If you happen to’d wish to know extra about oxbow lakes, proceed studying.

Rivers like short-cuts too!
Rivers that move throughout gently-sloping land are likely to erode facet to facet (meandering), whereas steeper rivers in mountainous areas have a tendency to chop downward, forming V-shaped valleys. Because of this facet to facet erosion, rivers just like the Milk typically erode themselves short-cuts (see diagram under). As soon as the short-cut is established, the large loop is not a part of the river. The ends of the loop fill with sediment (yellow in diagram), and the deserted channel turns into an oxbow lake – named for the U-shaped contraptions that have been placed on the necks of oxen again after they have been used to drag wagons. As soon as it’s not noted, the oxbow lake depends upon groundwater to maintain it crammed. Ultimately your entire lake will fill with sediment and natural materials, turning into a waterless scar. Each oxbow lakes featured on this weblog fashioned someday after 1888 – You’ll must learn the captions in my picture tour to learn how I do know this. Now that you just’re a bit smarter, go benefit from the images!


FYI – I just lately began an Instagram account. I’ll attempt to put up one thing fascinating not less than as soon as every week. Test it out: rodbenson406

Under: This map marks hikes which have been featured on up to now, together with a number of in Glacier Park – Choose full display screen to broaden, zoom in for extra element, or click on on a marker for a hyperlink to the put up.