Finally winter is here. The week of relentless wind and snow storms left behind a hard-crusted snowy landscape and an open invitation to Nome’s trail users to get their toy of choice out and hit the trails.
Let the winter fun begin.
On the staked trails around Nome, one can see the multitude of users: snowmachine tracks, paw prints of sled dogs, v-tracks of skate skiers, the single track of fat tire bikes and some deposits of curious foxes who use the trail stakes to leave their mark.
Trails are a gift and they are put in with great care and at quite an expense as each trail marker cost more than $1 per stake. Every winter enthusiast knows to appreciate the well-marked paths. During a nice, sunny day, it is easy to discern the trail, but when the weather turns, the snow blows sideways and visibility nears zero, trail stakes are a lifeline to guide the traveler to safety.
Local organizations including SAR and the Nome Kennel Club, and, later in February and March, the Iron Dog snowmachine race and the Iditarod Trail sled dog race put in tripods or trail stakes to make the trails safe for all of us trail users, no matter the method of transportation, be it skis, dog sled or snowmachine.
It takes a lot of work to do trail work. All the more disheartening it is to see when trail stakes are knocked over in what seem deliberate attempts to pulverize the laths for miles on end. Each year it happens. And each time, my heart sinks when I see it.
Let’s honor the trail, be respectful to each other and use common sense. Respect the trail and the people who put time and effort into creating the trails, marking them and spending big money with the sole intention to make traveling on winter trails safer for all of us.
Happy Trails to all of you and may you travel safely. –D.H.—