Bryan Carlson on January 26th, 2013

Group of kids sledding

The adventure was a blast! Ten people braved the 20-25 degree Fahrenheit temperatures for a fun day of sledding and adventure. The kids brought their toboggans, inner tubes and saucers to a safe steep hill with no trees, rocks, cliffs or any other dangerous obstacles. Lunch of hot chocolate, roasted hot-dogs and marshmallows was later served at a campfire. Finally, we all explored a frozen pond and hiked into a steep walled canyon with a spring fed creek. It was absolutely breath taking!

Make sure to join us during out next SMOS Adventure on February 9th!


A fun wipeout at the sledding hill

Continue reading about SMOS Adventure – Sled and Hike

Jim Goodwin on December 16th, 2010


Do you remember those days from your childhood of rushing down a snowy slope on a runner sled? The air rushing past your face, the twinkle of the sun off the ice crystals on the surface of the snow, the thrill of passing someone just before you reach the bottom? Well, Jim Goodwin and his wife Karma remember it vividly, as if it was just last weekend.

In fact, it was just last weekend for them! I guess some people just never grow up, even when they are adults. But adulthood has its advantages. Today, Jim buys and rebuilds sleds so they can handle more speed and weight, and then he and Karma load the 15 sleds they own onto the back of the travelall, and fill several vehicles with local kids and head out to Johnson’s Grade, a back road south of Northport that the county no longer maintains during the winter. So Jim took over the maintenance of part of it for sledding. If you know the road, then you are aware of the two hairpin turns half way up the grade. All beginners are trained starting below these corners. They are taught how to steer the sled with their hands, but are not allowed to go above these turns until they learn how to use their whole body to turn and until they have learned the many safety rules which Jim teaches. Once these things are mastered, then they can experience the entire mile-long run.

A fire is often built at the bottom of the hill, and if the event is an all-day affair, hot dogs are brought to cook over the fire. Many a graduate from Northport High can attest to the fun times they had on Johnson’s Grade. A caution sign is placed at the bottom of the road to warn motorists who might venture up the road and the travelall always follows the sledders down. At the bottom, sleds are loaded onto a hitch-mounted hauler, snow is brushed off the sledders and they are loaded back into the travelall and hauled back to the top of the run.

Have we rekindled any childhood dreams? If so, you are welcome to join us. The sledding happens nearly every weekend in winter and is open to anyone whether you have a sled or not. If you get on the call list, Jim will let you know when he is heading out. Otherwise you could call him at 732-6175, or just look for the "Caution Sledding" sign set up near the bottom of the hill. We will be back down in a minute or so. HAPPY SLEDDING!!

[editors note: Sledding is not an official SMOS function]

Continue reading about Johnson’s Grade Sledding: Adrenaline Rush of the North.