Finding Friends on the Trails

By: Mindy Simons

January and February are generally the coldest and snowiest months of winter here in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.  Some people escape the area and head south, but some of us wait all summer for the snow and ice to accumulate once again so we can be transported to the world beyond highways and open water. 

Snowmobiling offers an opportunity to travel to places you cannot access by any other form of transportation.  There is nothing like winding down a snow-covered trail surrounded by trees with their branches draped in white; it is truly magical.  The Sawyer County Snowmobile Trail system not only travels through gorgeous forest land, but across frozen lakes, along roadways, and through fields. 

It was through one of these fields and along a roadway that I discovered some new friends along the trail.  After numerous trips back and forth on this connector route, I noticed two resident horses in the field near the trail.  Unfazed by the traffic going by, they just grazed on their big bundle of hay and looked on as if to provide a passing greeting.  All winter I rode this route, beginning the tradition of waving to the pair of horses as our group would drive by.  They even became a landmark for the trail groomer, who would often text me a location update along his route with just a simple word…”horses.”

As the season was coming to a close, I knew we only had a few more rides left before Mother Nature would put an end to things.  When our group made plans to head south for a ride, I finally remembered to throw some carrots in my bag.  As we came to a stop along the trail where the horses resided, they were hesitant at first.  Likely, they were confused, as these machines usually just sail past and don’t take too much interest in matters of shaggy ponies.  I trudged through the snow in the ditch and up to the fence.  Their curiosity was piqued, and slowly they came toward the fence to find a treat of carrot sticks waiting for them.  They loved it!

There are many great memories to be made out on the trails, whether you are riding with a group of friends, meeting new folks at a warm-up spot, or making some new four-legged acquaintances.  If you don’t have your own snowmobile, visit one of the great rental businesses in the Hayward Lakes/Sawyer County area and they will help you get set up with all the appropriate gear and maps.

The Sawyer County Snowmobile & ATV Alliance builds, maintains, and grooms over 600 miles of trails within the county.  The trails connect to gas, food, and lodging throughout Sawyer County.  If you haven’t ridden our trails yet, what are you waiting for?  Come join us this winter in Sawyer County and the Hayward Lakes Area.  I hope to see you out on the trail!