Finally a Chance to Ski

The bus won't be moving anytime soon. The snow keeps getting deeper around it and on top of it, a sure sign that winter is still here. And glad we are of that, because for some of us, the skiing is just beginning! On Friday, Sharlene, Addie and I got out on the trail for the first time this year. It was a beautiful day, with the temperature hanging right around ten degrees. The sun was out, and we decided to head over to Warren's Road. This is one of the easiest trails in our system, and it had been years since Shar and I had been there. Addie had never experienced it.

The snow was freshly groomed, as we encountered the groomer guy when we got started. What a delight to ski on tracks that had just been set. We glided along, quite happy to be out there. I missed skiing completely last season, thanks in part to my achilles tendon injury. One of the reasons we chose this easy trail was to see how it would respond. I'm happy to say that it did only its usual complaining when I started, and again at the end. It's almost like a squeaky wheel---once I've started, and it's juiced up a bit, my heel feels like nothing ever happened to it. Then when I am tiring, it kicks up some to remind me of its existence. I can deal with that. I think I'm ready for the Lonely Lake trail next.

That is, once the weather warms up a bit. We got nabbed by the Arctic blast cold front that moved in on Saturday afternoon. I went down to light the sauna around four p.m., and then proceeded to chop out the hole in the lake ice. Since it had just been opened the previous night, the ice was only about an inch thick. The wind made it very cold for the task, but worse than that was the snow that kept blowing into the hole. I shoveled thick slush out a few times, and it would fill right back up. It became quite plain to me that keeping it open for the next four hours (when it was needed) was going to be a real challenge.

Providence stepped in in another form, however, when the power went out around five. In this kind of weather, a power outage that lasts more than a few hours can cause some serious troubles to pipes and water systems. We had some empty cabins, so we went out and started fires in the woodstoves in those, to keep the temps above freezing. I gathered up candles and jugs of water for the fellows who were in Spruce cabin, and broke the news that I likely wasn't going to be able to keep the sauna hole open. They were fine with that, and rightly pointed out that the wind on the lake would whip the warmth right out of a body before even reaching the hole.

Between keeping the fires stoked, filling the oil lamps for light, and listening to the radio for updates---oh, and Greg had to go plow the Mile O' Pine Road---we had a busy few hours. I was preparing to spend the night at Cedar Point, since that cabin was particularly vulnerable to the punishing west wind. Greg figured that he would have to stay in Tamarack. The older cabins just aren't as well-insulated as the newer ones. It was an adventure to be outside, walking from cabin to cabin through the wind, snow and cold. Weather extreme at its best! Thanks to excellent clothing, we never felt cold.

The electricity was restored around eight, so it was a relatively short stretch. Two weeks prior, the power went out in the middle of the night. That outage lasted for about eight hours, but since most folks were still sleeping, it didn't cause much in the way of inconvenience. (Except maybe for early morning coffee drinkers!) This is just something we all take in stride up here, and we are very glad of our old-fashioned conveniences, like oil lamps, outhouses and woodstoves.