Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wisco Weekend

Since winter is still firmly entrenched around here, Kerry and I decided to make the best of it and get away for one last weekend of XC skiing.  We purchased a groupon for a weekend stay at the Heartwood Conference Center and Resort near Minong.  We had not been there before but the place looked pretty nice  online, and also had a ski trail system  on site so we decided to go for it.  We got a room with a small kitchenette so we were able to fix up our own meals.

We drove up on Friday night and met the snowstorm head-on as we made our way to Hinckley.  Traffic on the freeway was cruising along but the surface was starting to get slick.  We saw 12 cars in the ditch between North Branch and Hinckley.  Two of those were rollovers. We made our way over to Danbury where we stopped at the Fishbowl and had a fantastic fish fry.  Me, blackened and Kerry had the lightly battered Tilapia.  Both were excellent.  We washed it down with a good beer and cider.  

We pulled into the resort around 9:30 and were impressed at how nice the place was.  Saturday we had a lazy morning of making steel cut oats with blueberries and cranberries and planning our summer road trip (Canadian Rockies!).  It was in the single digits so we weren't in too much of a hurry to get out on the trails.

By noon, the sun was out in force and it was time to get the skis on.  This was my first time skiing since my wrist surgery and I was quite happy to find that when I started poling, the wrist felt pretty good.  The trails had been groomed the day before but now had a three inch coating of fresh stuff.  The temp was now around 24 but the sun was beating down hard causing the snow to melt in some areas, and as we transitioned from a melting area to a cold area the bottoms of our skis were icing up and making for some very interesting  conditions ("skiing" more akin to snowshoeing).  We made our way to the warming shack out on the trail system where we had a tasty snack and continued around the loop back to our home base for some lounging, spaghetti cooking and wine drinking.

Sunday morning we made breakfast, went for a short walk around the resort and made our way back home.    A great weekend away!

For a resort in WI, what's wrong with this picture? 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Standing Cedars and a Morning Treat

Last summer, Kerry and I did some exploring on the Wisconsin side of the river on the motorcycle.  On a pleasantly winding road skirting the bluffs of the St. Croix, we came across a State Natural Area.  It looked interesting, so I kept it in mind for future exploration.    

Last weekend I decided it was time for that exploring.  I got my stuff together the night before and made my way out of the house dark and early.  I caught the sunrise in Wisconsin.

There's a small parking area alongside the road and when I arrived, there was a van parked there with a thick coat of frost on it, clearly indicating that it had been there a while  I liked seeing this as it tells me that it's probably OK to park there overnight.  I threw the snowshoes and backpack on and headed off.  

A minutes of hiking and I came to the forested bluffs and a view over an old boyscout camp.  This is private land adjacent to the natural area.

I'm guessing the van passengers are holed up in this valley hideaway.  

After crossing a few more small valleys I found a nice high point overlooking the river and pulled out my stuff to have a little snack with a nice view.   

The Tribute blend is the best VIA packet ever.

Time to head back home and start the rest of the Saturday.  A bedroom painting project is calling my name.  

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Weekend Up North

A couple of weekends ago we spent some time with the fam up at our cabin.  My wrist was still in a brace so no skiing or snowmobiling (actually sold our sled to save up for a better one) but we managed to get out an have some fun snowshoeing and fishing and eating lots of good food.  

Spotted on our walk down to Dagget brook.  This guy fell and couldn't get up.  

Scott brings in the big catch of the day