We're home! We had a great time in our yurt in the woods. Our trip started with dropping Winnie off at my parents' house, which was a little sad since it was the longest that we've both been away from her at once since we got her. She was a trooper, though, and only barked twice after we left the house. The drive up was pretty uneventful until we got to Grand Marais. We stopped for a few last-minute supplies at the Trading Post, including (another) new headlamp and a most amazing new pair of gloves for me (Lynnie mittens- so warm!). We started up the trail just before dusk, and right around the time that everything along the side of the road looks like a deer or a moose, we saw our first moose of the trip! We saw three more along our drive, plus a fox, which is the most wildlife I've ever seen along the road up there.
We arrived at the B&B around 5:30, and were pleasantly surprised that because it was New Year's Eve, Ted and Barbara were serving dinner for their guests as a special treat. We had a great little party in the woods with the other guests and the B&B owners, with lefse and smoked fish, chicken wings, hummus, and champaign. Somehow it all went together perfectly!
After a nice sleep at the B&B and an incredible breakfast of stuffed french toast and poached pears, we put on our skis and made a 3k trek out to our yurt. Our supplies were snowmobiled out there for us, and after we got the fire going, we skied back out to the road to meet up with Chris' aunt Joan. She met us with a wonderful birthday present for me, that can only really be appreciated when it's 15 degrees and you're about to go out into the woods - a giant bag of gorp. Yum! Joan took us to Poplar Creek trail a few miles from our yurt, and I went on my first for real ski trail. I started out a little rough, but I got the hang of it after a while, and after we'd gone 5 miles I really felt like a pro :)
We got back to the yurt and got to work heating the place up and cooking up our beef and barley soup for dinner. We also started heating up the sauna (pronounced sow-na if you're Ted) to complete our ski day in true Finnish style. Our first night of sleep was a little choppy, since Chris had to get up four or five times to add wood to the fire. It would have been worse if we hadn't gone to bed before 9 and gotten up sometime after 8 the next morning.
On Wednesday, we drove out to Bearskin Lodge and got passes to ski on their trails. We skied all the way to the cabin to check in and see what it looks like in the winter. It's pretty different! Definitely looks like it's hibernating. We stopped for lunch and within the first few minutes of sitting down, we spotted a little pine marten cruising under the bird feeder. When it saw us, it ran around the cabin, took off up a tree, gave us a dirty look, and made an amazing leap onto the roof of the little cabin to safety. We didn't stop long (stopping means getting cold), and took the road back to the lodge. Chris swapped out his classic skis for his skate skis and took off to do the Bear Cup World Cup ("challenging uphills and screaming downhills" said the description of the trail) while I warmed up and relaxed in the lodge with a book. I'll let him talk about that experience...
We got back to the yurt around dusk and caught the sunset over the nearby lake, then started the whole fire/soup/sauna routine again. We figured out how to keep the fire warm (feed it way more than you think you should!) and got the yurt really comfortable for our final night. The winds picked up to around 30 miles per hour sometime around midnight and the temperature dropped, but thankfully with our perfected fire technique we stayed really cozy.
The winds were still bad the next morning, and we were really happy we didn't have another day of skiing ahead of us. We skied out to some hot cocoa at the B&B, and our supplies followed on the snowmobile. On the drive out, Grand Marais had the same winds as we did up on the trail, making for some amazing waves on Lake Superior! We got some good pictures out on Artist's Point, then stopped by Joan's house for sandwiches and headed back to the cities.
Winnie forgave us immediately for leaving her behind, but we had to promise to bring her with to the cabin next time :)
More pictures to come!