Saturday, January 27, 2007

Winter Woods

It’s another Saturday in the woods at Gunflint. We got an inch of snow last night and had some earlier in the week. As a result all the ski trails have fresh snow and freshly laid tracks. The small snow showers occurring throughout the day are just fun to be out in.

The temperature is about 15 degrees today and windy. Who cares what the wind chill is. We only count the absolute temperatures. On windy days like this, skiers in the woods are protected from the wind by the trees. Bruce and I have trouble relating to the East coast weather forecasters who talk about “frigid” temperatures of 20 degrees. You need a minus sign before that number to get frigid temperatures.

Yesterday John Silliman went skijoring with his dog, Rudy. This activity involves people on skis being towed down the lake by dogs on a harness. The ice conditions are perfect. Both Rudy and Tucker just love it. It was 4 ½ miles long. If John goes by himself with both dogs, they will go twice as far.

Today the lodge is just humming with activities. There is a group of about 40 AFS students here for the day. They will experience all those activities that we love in the north woods: snowshoeing, cross country skiing, dog sledding, etc. It’s fun to hear the various accented versions of English being used.

Of course, our guests are out in the woods enjoying the ski trails. They will try to avoid any low hanging branches. Just touching a branch today will send snow right down the back of your neck. Burr! Later in the afternoon we will see red-faced skiers stopping by for coffee and hot chocolate to warm themselves up.

I noticed that Jenny Hughes’ massage schedule was pretty full for the day. Apparently there are a few guests who wish to let Jenny relax their weary bodies after skiing. It sounds good.

Snowmobilers are out on the lake today too. Most of them are just going out for some fishing. Years ago Bruce and I used to snowmobile into Tuscarora Lake for lake trout fishing. We would bring some hot dogs to cook over an open fire for lunch. It was a fun day in the woods. That is basically what our snowmobilers are doing today.

The ice conditions are excellent with little or no slush. As a result we even have a few fishermen who have driven their cars out onto the ice. You park your car so it blocks the wind. If you get too cold, just start the car and warm up.

Later tonight the dining room and bistro will fill with happy guests. Each one has found their favorite way to enjoy a winter day in the woods. If the ski clears, a few will walk out onto the ice. Just looking up will give them the greatest star show on earth.

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