Our Yurt to Yurt Skiing Adventure

‘Cause there’s still plenty of snow during Spring Break in MN!

After several years of talking about heading ‘Up North’ to the Boundary Waters to go Cross Country Skiing Yurt to Yurt, Fatima, Maud & I packed up our gear, hopped in the car and began an epic three night adventure!

We hadn’t had much snow in the Twin Cities area, so all three of us were just itching to get our skis on and enjoy a bit of the great outdoors!

The drive is about 6.5 hours total, so halfway there we stopped for a quick three mile hike to stretch our legs and get some fresh air in our lungs. It was pretty icy that day so we did plenty of bum -sliding down the hill for safety’s sake.

We arrived at the darling Poplar Creek Bed & Breakfast just before dusk and were heartily greeted by owners, Barbara and Ted. After getting settled into our spacious and super comfy rooms, they sent us on our way for a yummy ‘last supper’ at the Trail Center – didn’t look like much from the outside, but it was just delightful & delicious from the inside.

After a great night’s sleep and hand-brewed coffee, ‘Chef’ Barbara prepared a traditional Norwegian breakfast and Ted mapped out the next 21 miles of ‘fun’ for us.

Off we go for our first day of fun! Nine miles didn’t seem too daunting, even with 20 mph winds greeting every stride.  We were thrilled with the sounds of nothing but the swoosh of our skis amidst the beauty of the great northern Minnesota woods.

We made it to our ‘home’ for the night in just under 3 hours and after warming up our feet/hands we began to learn the intricacies of the wood stove and gas lighting from our camp guide, Jim.  After he snowmobiled away with a ‘be on the look out for moose’ last call, we settled in to a night of laughter, popping blisters, card playing  & a delicious spread of our favorite things.

And don’t forget, being out in the woods means the outhouse is your friend. At 3am in the morning, who cares about fashion: just give me a headlamp, some TP and off you go into the great unknown! Hahaha

While none of us got much sleep that night, the early morning brought about warmer temps and the desire to ‘get up and go’ as we had 12 miles to ski to the next Yurt and get back a little closer to civilization.

Day 2 proved to be quite the challenging one. We started off strong then faced a massive down hill slope that I chose to walk down vs. potentially crash. Fatima ever-so-gracefully came flying around the bend and landed at the base…just shy of the freezing cold water! As the day progressed, westarted to notice that our skis were all becoming sluggish and accumulating ice on them with every stride.  We were having to stop every 10 min or so and in essence ‘de-ice’ our skis with the pole tips or a knife. It was very frustrating to say the least and we were getting more tired and a bit nervous with every minute that passed us by. Did we have enough food if it got late, did we have matches to build a fire and stay warm, did we have headlamps to guide us through the dark, how could we call for help if needed?  And sure enough, an hour later, 2 ski poles were now broken from the constant banging of the ice and Maud was down with a sprained ankle. What should have have taken us four hours to complete ended up taking over seven. Thank goodness, Ted came looking for us as he knew something was wrong when we hadn’t arrived hours after our estimated time.  With Maud loaded up on the snowmobile, Fatima & I skied the rest of the way, she with only one pole and both collapsing with exhaustion when we finally made it ‘home.’

Warming up our homemade soup brought us great relief and I enjoyed a nice hot toddy to finish off the night…shut eye was 7:50pm!

The next morning we were up and at ’em, heading for the last ski of the day all the way back to our cars. We made it and were grateful to be back connected with the world and a hot cup of coffee for the long drive home.

Moral of the story: Be a bit more prepared when you are three gals alone in the great wilderness up north.

But would we do it again? Yeah, you ‘betcha!

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Winter Wonderland

As we dip into sub zero temperatures and much of the country gets covered in a powdery blanket of shimmery snow, I am rejoicing!

winter

However, I didn’t always harbor this level of joy and exuberance. Quite the contrary, I had downright disdain for anything and everything winter.

I am a Minnesota native, however, my parents were transplants from warmer climates and their only solution for frigid temperatures was to hibernate for the winter.

Not very sustainable, I must say.

Anyway, as soon as I graduated high school, I flew the coop, so to speak, to the sunny shores of Florida. After a few years, the charm of the Midwest called me back home and I returned without so much as owning even one pair of socks. I did my best to adjust, but my friends nearly disowned me each year, from November through March, because I did nothing but complain about the cold weather. 

skiingEnter my outdoor loving, skiing fanatic husband. At first, it was a lifestyle difference that I thought we would have to agree to disagree upon. Soon enough, he opened my world to the wonder, magic, and whimsy of winter. Snow is sparkly. Of course it’s awesome!

Once I learned the basics of “dressing for winter”, (it is somewhat of a science to do it right) and spent some time learning how to cross country ski, I was hooked.

Yes, I admit that the grimy, dirty snow we deal with while driving to and from work is little more than a nuisance. But freshly fallen flakes in the woods create a gleaming wonderland. winter-fatimaTypically, cross country ski trails are in parks or around lakes, and removed from the hustle and bustle. Gliding across the snow in an area that is quiet and the pure, white, snow is pristine all throughout the season, is a truly uplifting experience. 

Cross country ski racing is an Olympic sport for a reason…it’s really stinking hard! However, learning the basics of shuffling along and staying upright is just a smidge more difficult than walking. Anyone can do it!

I learned to ski by practicing on a frozen lake. The key to success? No hills! It was completely flat, and that minimized any falling so I left each day out on the lake with a smile on my face and no snow tucked in places that it shouldn’t be. As you get more and more comfortable, you begin to fall into the rolling rhythms of the trails and it’s effortless and smooth!

Besides the sheer beauty of the scenery, skiing gets you fresh air and exercise. Breathing in the crisp air, as you go gliding through the woods and raise your heart rate, feels so energizing. Because you are active, you stay toasty warm, and the chilly air on your cheeks is a perfect compliment to the warmth you feel down to your core.

If you ever had an inkling to try it, do yourself a favor, grab a buddy, head to your nearest park with ski rentals, and try something new. I promise, you’ll be a lot happier to see temperatures dip and the first snowflakes fly. If nothing else, winter will go by faster than ever before. 

group-skiing

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