True to our Lindgren Style, we didn't have a clear plan of what we wanted to do as we entered into our Christmas vacation. Steve and I had a vague idea that we would like to go skiing, but we never went any further to even clarify if we would go cross-country skiing or down-hill, much less figure out where we were going to go. As vacation began, we got more serious about trying to make some decisions. I threw out that I would just like to go somewhere we haven't been yet. As it turned out, my vacation time started before Steve's so I reluctantly became the person in charge of the plan. I did some Internet searching on Lutsen Mountain, because I had a few friends and family members who had been there and said it was great skiing. Luckily, just one week in advance, I found a two bedroom villa in Grand Marais available for Dec 29-30th, which included two days of skiing for the whole family at Lutsen Mountain. It was stressful committing to this vacation because it had a two-week notice for canceling, so this was a no-refund, the-$-is-gone type of commitment.
We officially had a plan. Of course, we needed to shore up a few things, like what were we going to do with Bella while we were gone. Luckily, Russ & Kristy said they would doggie-sit her, so we dropped her off in Esko early Tuesday afternoon and headed up the North Shore drive.
Although Steve had taken a summer-time motorcycle trip two years ago, the winter version of the north shore was a first-time experience for all of us. We stopped a few times along the way to enjoy our surroundings.
Gooseberry Falls was amazing, although it was rather scary navigating the icy trail especially after Kippy slipped and fell just 5 feet from the edge of the frozen Upper Falls. Both Steve & I yelled at her to be careful which made her cry. My heart may never be the same again after that experience.We also stopped at a scenic vista to take a few pictures of the split rock lighthouse, but with time getting tight, we didn't actually go into the park. I was anxious about our accommodations in Grand Marais, because I had committed the family and spent the cha-ching and really, really wanted this vacation to turn out well. I'll cut to the punchline, it was SO worth it! This was one of the nicest places we have ever stayed. It was a two bedroom, three bathroom condo right on the shore of Superior. The living-room had a hide-a-bed sofa, so Abby made that her bedroom, thus allowing the girls to sleep separately and reducing the inevitable squabbles.
1. Steve & I found out we are not as skilled as we thought we were on the slopes. Conquering Andes Tower Hills did not make us experts.
2. Chemical foot and hand warmers are a necessity for Abby and I to be able to tolerate the cold, even though it was a balmy 20 degrees the first day and 10 degrees the second day. Warmers are the bomb!!
3. Steve needs to brush up on his map reading skills. He navigated us up Moose Mountain and down some blue squares and black diamonds on our first run. Poor Kippy took the brunt of that lesson.
4. We operated best by pairing Kippy with Steve and Renae with Abby. By the end of our second day we all felt better about our skiing abilities.
5. When you have a bad wreck and you are 40+ years old, expect to need some ibuprofen to be able to sleep that night. Wrecks for Renae over two days: 3; Wrecks for Steve: 2; Wrecks for Abby: 2; Wrecks for Kippy: numerous. Funny thing is that Kippy was the one who never wanted to stop at the end of the day!
6. It was a complete blessing that the sub-zero weather blew in the day after we left Lutsen.
It was a great experience and we all want to go back again!