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Price per 1000 Boardfeet Fuels Timber Harvests

A view of the Pines of the Cable Area during Winter4/14/21. The next time you visit the Cable Area of Northwest Wisconsin you will notice more logging. Expect that to continue, it comes down to simple economics. The COVID-19 shut down created a lumber supply shortage while demand for new homes, exacerbated by housing sales market tightness, soared. All that continues to push the May ’21 contract spot price per 1000 boardfeet of lumber to all-time highs. The 4/13/21 intraday high of $1,205.50 as proof (markets.businessinsider.com). Tracts of land that contain Pine are currently too valuable not to take.

Pine is a soft wood that is used for framing in the construction industry, and as noted in our recent Newsletter to clients, the Cable Area is rich in Pine. Although there is an enormous pricing divergence between soft and hardwood building products, loggers do not distinguish when taking the natural resource. The picture above, which was taken this past Winter, depicts a Western view off Randysek, just South of Cable. Pretty place, eh? A mix of Pine, Oak and Maple. Makes for fine outdoor play, and it is of course a fully functioning, diverse ecosystem with intrinsic value all its own.

Logging is a part of the Cable Area’s history, and it continues to be a huge part of the local economy. Lower pricing is dependent on supply catching up with demand. The longterm solution is a shift in home buyer demand to existing housing. Not an easy ship to turn. Up North Guided Tours is not anti-logging at all; however, we do provide outdoor recreational alternatives that do bring money into the area without harvesting or trampling on a singe resource. We offer day and over-night fat bike, canoe, snowshoe, and camping guided tours of the Cable Area’s backcountry. For more, please see www.upnorthguidedtours.com. Thank you for reading! -Josh

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Staying Limber Keeps Me Outdoors!

Regularly stretching my Piriformis Muscle has kept my L5 Vertebrae in place. Staying limber keeps me riding bike, snowshoeing, canoeing and camping! It keeps me going.

Around six years ago I tore my right Hamstring. I certainly felt the pain, including the moment it happened. Instead of nursing it with ice, compaction and staying off it, I carried on, albeit to a limited degree. A few days later I knew I did some serious damage as I could barely walk. Once I got into the surgical consult I learned that getting about on the torn Hamstring popped my L5 out of place. Whoa does that buldging disc cause pain! Then I made a good decision, I opted to go thru physical therapy as opposed to surgury.

It was in PT where I learned about the load-bearing and flexibility functions the L4-L5 segment performs. I also learned about how Hamstrings are connected to the L5 Disc via the Piriformis. Most importantly though, I learned how to keep my Piriformis limber on a daily basis to keep me mobile! That brings me to the picture above. The belt loop goes around 1 foot at a time, I lay on my back flat on the ground, and I pull on the belt to lift the leg into a 90 degree angle. I hold there for 30 seconds, three times per leg. I can literally feel tightness and cramping disappear.

That one stretch is a part of a daily stretching routine I perform (including Hamstring stretches) to physically be able to guide bike, snowshoe, canoe and camping tours on demand without falling apart. I’m not alone, that Piriformis stretch will help your physical longevity too.

For more see www.upnorthguidedtours.com. We are a fat bike, snowshoe, canoe and camping guided tour outfitter in the Cable Area of Northwest Wisconsin US. Thank you for reading, enjoy getting out there for the longterm. -Josh

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Blog #12: Harkenings of the BMX Days

Got a message from the guy who was my best friend during our 4th and 5th grade years about a week ago. He looks back fondly at our time together throwing the football around and listening to Rock ‘n Roll. I on the other hand remember the beginning of our BMX days, although football and Rock ‘n Roll are great as well!

My buddy had older siblings and a Dad who knew that style mattered. So he had a chrome Haro BMX bike w/ black components and black mag wheels. I did not, but I did get a bike to tool around on, and that was good enough for sure. Yes we did find some primitive dirt trail others started building, yes we did enhance existing jumps and added some of our own, and yes we did have our “backwoods fun,” but that was just a bit of it.

It was really about getting out. Out of the house, out of the neighborhood, and out on bike. My buddy had a print shop in his neighborhood that had an old cooler, the type with a sliding top door. You reach in, grab a pop in a glass bottle, remove that cap with the imbedded bottle cap remover, and instant old school refreshment. I can just imagine how it was for the shop staff: two sweaty, smelly boys walk into the place of business; hoot’n and hollering; just to grab two $.35 sodas. Reaching in I could never see much with the sweat in my eyes and the visual remnants from the glare of the Sun. Sometimes I’d grab a Grape Fanta, sometimes a Dr. Pepper, but sometimes a frigg’n Tab! “Ty, do you have another $.35?” Knew the answer was NO by the snickering.

That’s what I look fondly back at, it was the beginning of my “doing it for the good Xs” riding attitude.

Lot of years have gone by, still ride for fun, albeit fat bike, and I do Up North Guided Tours when I can to get you out for an off-road, off-the-beaten-path experience that will remind you of how it felt when it was new. Accepting Reservations for this Summer now: 715/413-2076, josh@upnorthguidedtours.com, and www.upnorthguidedtours.com. Thank you for reading. -Josh 4/26/2020

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Blog #9: Wolves, Fat Bike, and Cable WI

Wolf Pup Caught on Camera During Night Fat Bike Guided Tour
Wolf Pup
Wolves and the Night Fatbike Guided Tour
Wolves and the Night Fatbike Guided Tour

In mid-September of 2016 our shop offered a free night Fatbike guided tour to the local off-road cycling community of Cable, WI. I ran van support and shot four pictures in rapid succession of the tour as it headed my way. Two of the four, the Wolf pictures, are shown above.

It was around 10:30 at night, and I could see the riders’ lights coming towards me, so I climbed down from the van with camera in hand, and started walking towards the riders. When the riders were about a football field’s length from me, I stopped and started shooting pictures. The first and the second shots were the “Wolf Pup” and then the “Wolves” pictures, in that order. The 3rd and 4th shots simply showed headlamps getting closer to me, no animals were depicted.

The guides and tour participants stopped when they got to where I was standing, we conversed, they hydrated, and they completed the tour while I headed back to the shop to await their arrival. The tour was successfully completed by around 11:30 pm, I got up to our cabin in the hills a few miles North of where the pictures were taken by about 12:45, and then I proceeded to take my dogs for a 15 minute walk. Totally bushed, I grabbed a sleeping bag and headed out to our rear screened-in deck to sleep on a recliner. That deck is suspended over our backyard by around 12 ft.

At approximately 1:45 AM I was awoken by a howl, and then for about 35 seconds I experienced all the audio imaginable of hovering over a stampede of wild animals. It was incredibly intense, totally exhilarating, and completely life affirming. My sincere feeling is that if I was at ground level during those 35 seconds, this 1st hand report would not have been possible.

Irrespective of all the exhilaration I fell back asleep easily and did not wake up until later the next morning. When I got up I took a cursory, gallery glance at the pictures I took, selected the one that had the clearest view of the on-coming bike lights, and posted it on social media. About a year later I was looking for some older content for posting purposes and finally took a real look at the four pictures, including the two Wolf pictures. Yes, I got lucky, but there is more at play here.

My understanding is that there are two packs in the hills of Cable, each of which has approximately 13 members. The rules of thumb during an encounter with a large predator are to make yourself look big, make noise, provide the animal with ways out, provide the animal with space, and to not turn your back. In practice we do not make a ton of noise, nor do we scare the animal, but we do make ourselves look bigger, and we do whisper things like “I’m just going to go around you, no harm intended,” etc.

But what to do when you encounter a stealth pack of wolves? First, DON’T GO HIKING IN THESE WOODS ALONE AT NIGHT. But second, know that a night bike rider has a couple real advantages over Wolves. Wolves do not like bikes and they do not like night illumination. Bike-wise, not sure if it’s the metal, shininess, moving parts, bike speed, bike noise, etc. In any case these Wolves got out of the way of our bike tour, which is the same experience I had with Mexican Wolves in the early morning light on the Goat Trails of Palm Springs, CA back in the Spring of 2010. They saw me on bike and hightailed it to from where they came. Illumination-wise, light at night is simply not natural, it freaks them out. Bike and illumination saved me during the first encounter of that evening in September of 2016.

I have not seen or heard the Wolves in the hills of Cable since then, although I have heard them at night down by the lakes. They are amazing animals and help to make Cable the wilderness that it is to this very day. Make no mistake, we take the lessons from our experiences very seriously, and those lessons are the foundation of Up North Guided Tours. Since then sag van support, especially at night, stays with the van!

For a real wilderness experience, with the right guide, look no further. See more @ www.UpNorthGuidedTours.com; and call 715/413-2076.

#wilderness; #fatbike; #wolves; #cableWI; #upnorthguidedtours

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Blog #8: Zen and the Art of Snow Bike

Snow Bike Zen

You know by stepping outside early on any Winter’s day just what kind of Snowbike day it will be.  It’s in the falling snow; it’s in the air you breath; and it’s in the firmness of the ground you stand on.  What is the temperature, are the air and snow moist, is there new snow, how’s the ice factor, how’s the wind, and how direct is that sun?  Your mind and senses already scanned thru the questions, you already know what to do, when to do it, and what is to come.

You know what tires you are going to use; you know how much pressure to start with; and you know if it’s a plowed gravel, singletrack, frozen lake, or old school slog kind of day.  You know conditions change.  You know taking a bit out is easier than putting some in.  You don’t need a gauge to tell you PSI, you do it by feel.  You already know that it’s a 2 pairs of wool sox or a ditch the outer shell day.  You know that brining a rain shell just may save you from hypothermia on this glorious day!  You know a Contigo filled with warm lemon tea and honey is good for your soul, spirit, and bod.  

But most fittingly, you know that when you close your eyes as you approach the berm head on, when you lift on your front end midway up the berm,  and then when you pivot on your rear tire 180 degrees at the top of the berm, you will open your eyes and the berm will be safely behind you.  Sensei!  You know that tapping into The Way is the way.

Remember all you Zen Masters, make sure to have fun and be safe!  You can always practice your art with us.  Thanks for reading!  For more see www.UpNorthGuidedTours.com, email josh@upnorthguidedtours.com, and call 715/413-2076. 

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Blog #7: Fat Bike, Falling w/o Getting Hurt

Fat Bike Enduro Feature

Fat Bike Enduro Feature
Rode it all the time, then one slippery day, I lost momentum and fell backwards down it!

Ok, the title is a bit of a misnomer, but calling a blog Minimizing your Chances of Getting Hurt When U Fall Off Your Fatbike is lame.  Now in a serious tone, any seasoned mountain biker knows there are some falls you take where you simply have no time to react.  We, as off-road cyclists, know those falls have to be taken as they come, even though we take pre-cautions and ride under control (a relative, case-by-case term that is based on our individual abilities).  After all, we love the challenges of our sport, but we all know it comes with known dangers.  I have a chipped tooth I never had fixed as my example.

All that said and forgetting bad arial landings and Red Bull stuff, there are 3 ways to fall when riding Fat/MTB/BMX Bike: over the handlebars, to either side, and the worst, straight backwards.  The purpose of this Blog is to discuss techniques to minimize the likelihood of getting hurt under each scenario.  Under all three, the most important take away is to keep your body loose and flexible w/ some bend to your knees, ankles, elbows, and wrists.  Think about the difference b/w landing on a foot with a rigid vs. a bent knee.  There are a lot more ways medically for things to go wrong when our joints are locked.  Also, please note that our human reaction when falling is to get back to the ground as quickly as possible, which makes us want to stretch out our leg, effectively locking the joint, just to make contact one second sooner.  Further, we have to scan the ground we are falling on so we are prepared for the surface we are landing on.  That quick, in real-time, scan can be the difference b/w twisting an ankle and riding away.

Over the Bars.  Very simply: head back, torso upright, let go of the handlebars, and step over the bars off the bike with the foot that is in the 12:00 to 3:00 position.  Keep that knee bent into making contact with the ground, your other leg and foot will follow leaving your bike behind you.

To Either Side.  Bend the leg on the side you are falling to and keep that ankle loose but ready for contact with the ground.  At the same time you need to visually scan the terrain you are landing in so you are prepared for your first foot to make contact with the ground and you are aware of rocks and other natural features below.  Remember, you, with a change of your own body weight distribution as you are falling, can redirect where your feet and hands actually land.  It all happens quick, but the idea is to land on the most solid piece of ground as possible.  Keep that knee bent, wait for your first foot to get to the ground.

The Dreaded Backwards.  Very steep, close to vertical, but short inclines taken at speed with momentum are great gravity features, but misjudging same and not having enough momentum, can be disastrous.  Nose of the seat in your spine or up your ass when that rear tire gets to level ground…  Nasty stuff.  Point here is that you have to re-direct your body weight as you are rolling backwards to either side of the bike or to the side you are naturally falling to as dictated by the terrain you are riding.  Then follow the To Either Side routine.

It’s nice to be able to write this stuff down and have you folks read it, but the reality is that the foregoing has to be thought about and actually practiced while falling to be truly effective.  It can become like 2nd Nature.  Not saying we want to take you out on a Fatbike Falling Adventure, but we can help you hone your Fatbike skills by practicing advanced techniques, while having fun.  Contact josh@upnorthguidedtours.com or 715/413-2076 and see www.upnorthguidedtours.com for more.  Thanks for reading!

#fatbike #fattirebikes #upnorthguidedtours #fatbikesafety

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Fat Bike Philosophy

Primitive Fat Bike Trail in Cable, WI

Fatbike is the most versatile, human-powered method of accessing the backcountry.  Low tire pressure and lack of motor leave little to no trace, switching out tires and chain rings allow riders to utilize fat bikes during most seasons under most weather conditions, and the wide tires and rims let you ride terrain that is close to impossible to ride via standard mountain bike in a substantially safer fashion.  Fatbike is the utilitarian solution to backcountry travel!

Wider tires which are run at extremely low PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) and wider rims distribute and displace bike and rider weight, and that in turn leads to little to no tread markings on all types of terrain, including: grassy , two-track, single-track, technical (rocks and roots), and overgrown routes.  Lack of motor reduces noise and air pollution in the backcountry.  In other words, Fatbike is not a cause of environmental damage so long as Fat Bike is not ridden on anything but gravel roads during mud season.

One Fatbike can responsibly handle most weather conditions.  Responsibly is the operative term granted we do not ride ‘em, nor do we advocate riding ‘em, during mud season as routes, except those on gravel roads, are too soft and even Fatbike tires have too much negative impact during those few months. One is the magic number since all you need is one Fatbike to handle all your off-road riding so long as you switch out a couple components.  Here’s what we do, tires: we run a set of low-resistance rollers for summer and fall months, that means a low-rise tread pattern to increase rolling efficiencies; and during winter we switch between a set of snow tires for solid snow conditions and a set of studded tires to handle icy conditions. Chain rings: we run a larger chain ring for summer and fall, and we opt for a smaller chain ring during the winter.  The larger chain ring during summer and fall allows for faster downhill bombing, whereas use of the smaller chain ring during the winter makes pedaling easier when riding snow and ice.  In other words, we customize our Fatbike fleet based on riding conditions to enhance your experience.

Wide rims and wide tires not only lessen environmental impact, they maximize your fun!  The wider stance not only creates stability, which is safer than skinny-tired bikes, it allows riders to thrive in steep, technical terrain with confidence.  That opens many riding options: off-road riders no longer have to follow meticulously maintained trail lines to get their miles in.  We are free to roam!

Submitted by Up North Guided Tours, LLC for Forest and Lakes Monthly, and originally appeared in the Forest and Lakes Monthly October 2017 edition on page 7.  Up North Guided Tours, LLC leads fully-supported, backcountry Fat Bike, Snowshoe, Hiking and Canoe day trips and camp outs in the Cable Area of Northwest WI for small/private groups of all skill levels using our equipment.  We utilize all forms of off-road riding our area offers, and we promise you a unique off-road riding experience!  Call or email Josh for details 715/413-2076 or josh@upnorthguidedtours.com, see our site at www.upnorthguidedtours.com, and check us out on Facebook!