Saturday, March 21, 2009
Do something in the winter without the sled dogs? As folks in Minnesota say, "You Betcha!". I needed to get away and relax for a day without the dogs. Of course, I love being with my sled dogs. At the same time, it's important to rejuvenate myself, clear my head and spend some time alone in the kind of peace and solitude one can only find in the wilderness without the otherwise welcome demands put upon me by being in the company of my magnificent sled dogs; just for a day.
Having a parcel of land off the Arrowhead Trail north of Grand Marais, MN that will someday be the site of the Points Unknown; Dog-Based Adventure' Educational Center and B&B, I wanted to spend some time scouting by snowshoe to continue my search for the perfect building site. It will be a very long process and with the current economy, may take an extra couple of years than originally planned, however it is a dream that will become a reality.
It was a gorgeous day with blue skies and big fluffy clouds floating overhead. Before heading up the Arrowhead Trail, I stopped at a very quaint little store just before the Arrowhead turn-off on Highway 61. The Chicago Bay Marketplace just opened within the past couple of years and I discovered it for the first time last year. Sandwiches, bread, pastries and other homemade delicacies can be found here, along with a wide variety of organic and non organic grocery items. It is an inconspicuous little store, not quickly catching the eye of the passing tourists. The owner told me that the locals are keeping her very busy, much busier than she had even would have imagined. I had a homemade ham and Swiss sandwich, a glass of milk and a brownie to go. This would give me quite enough energy for my afternoon snowshoe.
Snowshoeing was hard-going due to the temps having been in the 50s for the past few days. This day was no exception. The snow felt more like slush. I sank in consistently eighteen inches and at times found myself down over two feet but, with the mission at hand, I was happy to be out, spending the day in the woods and letting go of any and all cares. After snowshoeing, I found myself falling fast asleep on the tailgate of my truck as I watched those big fluffy clouds passing by.
Upon my return down Highway 61, I spotted piles of wonderfully blue ice chunks that had come from the recent shoreline breakup of Lake Superior. This made for a beautiful and peaceful rest stop as I snapped photos of my glorious find.
The dogs were happy to see me upon my return. I had only been gone since their breakfast time but they knew I was not on site all day and met me with smiling faces.
My solitary snowshoe adventure happened just in time. The following day, after temps had been in the 50s and then over night things froze up again, I was out on the trail with the dogs and had my foot hyper extend when it slipped off my brake and got sucked under my drag pad. I am not a good patient and fight to sit still with my foot wrapped, elevated and iced as all of my dog yard chores get done for me by the wonderful people around me. My dog sledding season is over as I nurse my very stretched muscles and ligaments back to proper health. Liz, Jon and Don, our Points Unknown musher crew continue to take our guests out on the trails until the deterioration causes those trails to be unsafe for dog sled travel. With temps warming up again into the 40s and rain on the way, I would imagine the dog sledding season will be over for everyone up here on the Gunflint Trail very soon.