27 April 2006

Converted, conflicted

We've been home for a couple weeks now. Everyday distractions seem to hinder blogging, huh? Not that that there's anything interesting to report from here anyhow. Yeah, yeah, greener pastures, we know. Better silence than whining about work, no?

Anyway, northern Minnesota feels like a dream now--what happened to all that beautiful snow? Where's our cabin on the frozen lake? On the other hand, as best I recall, our trip didn't end without some adventure. We left the Gunflint Trail with an icy tear and reluctant van. Not as much reluctant as stuck really. Yes, really--stuck. At least it was a nice opportunity to play around the South Brule river. But when we tired of that, it was only by the grace of Bud's towing that we got back on the road (thank you, Bud!). Special thanks to the two women in a minivan who bothered to stop for a frantic motorist (whose van wasn't even visible from the road) and send help from town.

So, back on asphalt, we left the Gunflint Trail and Grand Marais and headed west to Ely. We just wanted to check out another part of the Superior National Forest, the Boundary Waters, and the International Wolf Center. We spent most of our time along the Echo Trail and decided that we should actually take a hike. We hadn't done any real hiking up to this point because of Jacks's foot, but he was starting to feel better and doing pretty well with the booties. Of course, we wanted to take it easy and thought a snow-packed access road, Moose River portage, would be just what the doctor ordered. The one-and-a-half-mile road ended up being a lot more work than we expected (we were forewarned that what looked innocently snow packed was in fact bottomless and waiting to swallow us up). Narra couldn't have cared less, Buko endured, and Jacks was just happy to be along, wet booties and all. We persevered with hopes of actually standing on the banks of the Moose River. The access road ended at a trail that claimed to be only another three quarters of a mile to the river, so we went for it. As if the access road wasn't bad enough, that little trail was a real challenge. Aside from snow-camouflaged streams--we couldn't see the walking planks--a number of trees had fallen across the trail. Again, Narra couldn't have cared less as she bounded happily over wayward birches. Buko will always try, and Jacks does what he can. To make a long story short(er), the boys reached their limit just shy of the river. We could hear Moose River in the distance, but it wasn't in sight. So close, but unfortunately, Buko got hung up on a tree; literally, he tried so hard to make it over but just couldn't. And Jacks looked on, stupefied and not without fear. Buko's eyes pleaded for his couch, and so, well, here we are.

Looking back on it, we miss winter. We love snow, icy trails, and the blazing whiteness of sun on fresh powder. A far cry from a history of beachcombing and tropical breezes. I'm not sure if we're actually converted, but snowshoes (and skijoring) are definitely in our future. At this moment, though, it's impossible not to be inspired by the freshness of spring. We'll definitely go back to the Boundary Waters and, next time, we want to actually see the water, even be on it.

BTW, speaking of spring, the picture above is from the Buchanan State Forest. Our ride home brought us through local roads--couldn't stand turnpikes anymore--and through forests and parks closer by. We forget some time that it's not so bad around here either.