The lodge was kind enough to include the Points Unknown mushers in their holiday festivities. A wonderful potluck feast including Prime Rib was shared in the lodge as the cloudy skies opened up, the wind picked up and the temps dropped drastically.
After dinner, everyone headed over to Okontoe for a sleigh ride. Their massive and majestic Belgian Freight horses pulled sleds filled with up to 14 people effortlessly through red lantern lighted forest trails. Blankets were provided for the ride and were certainly needed on this night as temps were likely downwards of 20 below with heavy winds. We were greeted at a warming shelter heated by a woodstove, with glowing smiles and warm cider and hot chocolate prepared by our host family. The family led us in Christmas carols as folks shared their special holiday memories. It was quite a treat when our hosts performed a beautiful harmonized rendition of “Oh Holy Night”.
The sleigh ride back from the warming shelter was truly magical. The skies were so bright, the Milky Way Galaxy had a predominant presence, unlike the big skies where we live in the off season where stars are faint due to rural town lights and the Milky Way Galaxy is only something you see pictures of in magazines. Top this off with a meteor shower and being in the company of the warm and friendly Gunflint Lodge staff and I would say it was the perfect evening.