This one's for all you Sled Heads...

Smit-Dog

Mi. Trail Riders
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Oct 28, 2001
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#1
All this recent talk of playing in the snow brought back some great memories riding sleds up north. Dug up some old shots of me playing in the Grayling area (north of 72, just west of Stephens Bridge Road). All 3 were taken at the same place, just different years and with different sleds.

Most of the land we played on was the Army's training playground. We found a gigantic, man-made, U-shaped, half-pipe type ditch that was roughly 30 yards across and 25 yards deep. Along the bottom of this trench was a small railroad track. The Army set up a moving target that would ride along the track, and tanks (or whatever) would shoot at the targets that were above the trench, i.e at normal ground level.

This half-pipe made for a great sledding park in the winter. The outside slope to the trench was at about a 45° incline, while the far side was about a 75° incline. On a sled it felt more like a straight 90° incline though! The cool thing was when the snow would drift over the crest of the trench towards the inside. There'd sometimes be a 1'-2' lip of snow that you'd have to barrel through at the top. You just had to make sure you had plenty of momentum to carry you up and over the top, or you were in a heap of trouble!

-> Circa 1977 @ age 13, Polaris 440
This was one of my first sleds that I could call my own. I smashed the windshield, and didn't have the money to replace it. My step-dad would pay for everything except for damage I caused. After cracking the hood and belly pan pretty good on a tree, I realized that while a homemade fiberglass repair job looked like sh!t, it was about 1/100th the cost of new replacement parts!

-> Circa 1979 @ age 15, Polaris 340
We were into Polaris pretty hard when they first came out. Like the color-coordinated jump suit? Nice "Days of Thunder" glasses too!

-> Circa 1981 @ age 17, Arctic Cat El Tigre 5000
This was on my step-dad's sled. I was wearing my Simson street bike helmet - outgrew my color-coordinated helmet! This same day I was inching back over this same lip, thinking about dropping down into the trench. Just as I realized that it was too steep, and was about to bail and drag the sled back around, my step-dad's buddy ran over and pushed the sled forward. The front end dropped, and promptly dug in hard. The sled stopped vertically for a moment, my feet went straight up, hands still on the handlebars, up, up, and finally over the windshield, landed flat on my back on the hood of the sled, hands finally broke free from the handlebars, then the sled rolled partially on top of my legs as I laid in the snow. Nothing broken but my pride!
 
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#2
smit that area you speak of.. when i first started riding with my parents we used to camp in this area. we stayed at a lake that had like a boys home or youth camp across it. there was a monster hill ( ie: not bull gap ) that every one went to. we could ride the trails and fire roads to it.
 

Smit-Dog

Mi. Trail Riders
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#3
Jack - What time frame are you talking about? Actually this area was north of North Down River road, which is a few miles north of M-72. I don't believe we're thinking about the same area. This was all part of the Camp Grayling Military Reservation. Except for a few fire lookout towers, there wasn't a building, bunkhouse, or camp anywhere around. A handful of lakes, but very deserted and remote - at least back in the 70's and 80's.

Here's where we played...

-> Military Reservation Area (gray shaded area)

-> Close Up Map (cabin was on Turkey Run)

We could ride from the cabin to clear north of 612, almost to Otsego, and from Hartwick Pines to Lovells. North of 612 was a bombing range where we'd sneak in and watch jets bomb targets. Hundreds of miles of two track and fireroads. Way back before ORV stickers...
 
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