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…Oh girl dancing down those [snowy] and [icy] trails
Take it hip to hip, rocket through the wilderness…
-Roam, The B-52’s
Back from a Winter retreat with Thrive Women’s Outdoor Adventures!
We got close to a foot of snow in parts of Northern Wisconsin, played in single digit temps and had the trails to ourselves. And this song has been in my head for two whole weeks!
The retreat was our very own snowpolooza with snowshoeing, cross country skiing on the Birkie, fat tire biking and making new pals in our swanky lil cabins! The best part was building friendships and taking an extended weekend of self care. (I took naps! Plural…naps!)
I realize that instagram or this blog may lead you to believe that I hike everyday…or only do things outside…but let me assure you, I work in a cubicle, manage family life and juggle the day to day responsibilities of life just like everyone else. So, having some amazing women volunteer to make this a weekend of much needed rest, unplugging (and FUN) was a HUGE BLESSING! My heart is full and batteries recharged! Thank you ladies!!
Self care and quiet time are things I recently started to realize the value of. Chalk it up to personal maturity, teenagers or both, but last weekend definitely counted as self care weekend. Self care looks different for everyone. So…this is my idea of a perfect weekend, but maybe you have the means to go on a trip, launch on a solo hike, or just have been planning on cracking open that facial mask in the bottom of your bathroom drawer for a evening of pampering you keep meaning to make happen (ok thats me, I should be wearing that dang mask as I write this). Whatever it is that you need to do, to recharge, get a little break from stuff, or just breathe for a second…its important, make a little space, and find a way to honor yourself by ‘taking care’.
Thrive is a faith based women’s adventure group out of Hudson WI made up of some of the most amazing women! I signed up for this trip a couple of months ago, knowing it would be near my birthday, was very affordable, and was shaping up to be a weekend full of activities that I love with an opportunity to meet other women who love the outdoors!
Uff da, winter trips need a lot of gear! Day 1 started bright and early with a 5 1/2 hour drive in a winter storm that brought 8” of snow. I ended up driving alone as the other ladies were carpooling from Wisconsin, but took the solitude as a gift. The drive time was almost doubled due to weather, but I enjoyed listening to music, praying and entertaining long thoughts (versus the popcorn style thoughts that my brain is typically serving up).
The township road leading to camp had not been plowed and it was so deep that my car was bottoming out and dragging in deep spots. It was about a mile of white knuckle driving and we all jumped out to dig Pam’s car out the best we could until help arrived. We settled a bit, I grabbed the top bunk (!) and snowshoed about 3 miles right out our cabin door. It felt great to be outside and out of the car!
The snow had tapered off and temps were below zero with the windchill. But the 3 new toasty cabins at Roam Adventure Basecamp held 12 of us comfortably and kept us nice and warm. I meant to talk to the owner about his heating system, but I’m guessing that the outdoor wood stove was keeping us all warm with heated water pipes under the floors.
Roam Adventure Basecamp is located just outside of Hayward WI on about 100 acres of land. We were happy to see that it has a Spur Trail that connects directly to the 60 mile American Birkebeiner Ski Trail, the longest Cross Country Ski race in North America. The inter-connecting trail systems host skiers, snowshoers, Fat Tire Bikers, Mountain Bikers and Hikers year round!
My alarm went off accidentally at 6am and I got a text that school is cancelled back home. Cell service is on and off but I am hearing that they got about 10” of snow!
The morning started slow and we hit the Birkie around 10am. Mo, plowed everything out and groomed the trail for our morning ski. It was the first time in YEARS that I have skied more that a couple of miles and it was like learning all over again…in fact, I decided I never really learned how to cross country ski 9 years ago, and I have always basically fought through it like a ski robot, until Lori showed me how to kick and glide.
Ski day was, ironically, the 10 year anniversary of my 3rd concussion. I have had a fear of basically anything going downhill fast since then. One slip on a frozen lake knocked me out and made things tough for 6 months, with some residual minor side effects that continue today. Back then, concussion treatments were not what they are now and I certainly didn’t have it as bad as some folks. Really thankful for that.
So. This picture of me…the goofy kid skinny skiing with a helmet on, might seem a little silly, but it made me feel happy, free and brave—and I can say I skied on the American Birkebiener without falling!! I am thankful my beautiful friends didn’t give me crap about it…and I’m sharing this because I want you to believe you can do things you are scared of. I want you to do what you have to do to protect yourself even if you feel weird. I want you to feel joy, freedom and lightheartedness as you pursue your heart….And for the love of all things fast, WEAR YOUR STINKIN’ HELMET!
This cute little Boedecker hut provided a nice warm up after our single digit jaunt and made me feel like I was much farther from home. The big Birkie race is less than a week away! GOOD LUCK SKIERS!!
After a nap, we snowshoed another couple of miles enjoying the last light of the day, and all got to know each other better, as we squeezed into one cabin again for a meal together.
Woke up to -25 degrees without the windchill. The cabin was so nice and warm, I didn’t want to get up to go to the separate bathroom, or really get out of my cozy quilt at all! I wore my 10 degree Enlightened Equipment Revelation quilt out to the bathroom, kind of looking like a walking hot dog and felt like a genius. A very warm genius.
The open foot box works awesome if you put it on upside down and pop your head out. And if you are cold enough, you won’t care what you look like. Note: This video of me “being a genius in my EE winter gear” was NOT taken at the cabin. Its from the day I unboxed my Hat, Mittens, Booties and Wide/Long Revelation that I plan to use hammocking. My roommates probably would have thrown me in the snow for messing around like this at 6am.
After a hearty breakfast, we put our snowshoes on and had the privilege of being the first ones on the freshly groomed Seeley Pass Multi use trail.
The trail was lovely, and we paused a few times just to soak in it’s magic with intentional silence. The winding trail took us through a dense, hilly forest that is loved by cyclists year round. My favorite was the snow piled up high on the tree mushrooms, giving the appearance of little winter hats, fashioned for each one.
Nap. Lunch. Adventure
After a nap and lunch, we suited up again and I took my first ride on a Fat Tire Bike! I was on a Salsa and my new friend on her Surly Pugsly. I lumbered down the township road in 3°, and MADE MY OWN WINDCHILL! A few miles was plenty, and like snowshoeing, the resistance from the snow and cold weather amps up your workout so you really don’t have to go far to get a good burn. It was so fun, I totally want to do it again!
We rested a bit back at our cabins and squeezed in one more snowshoe out to the Birkie trailhead and stretched out our tired bodies.
You know that feeling on the last day of camp…when you are ready to go home, but you don’t want to leave your friends or all of the fun you had?
We enjoyed breakfast together, shared stories about the weekend and our faith journey and said our goodbyes. The snow would start soon again, and I would be driving in another snowstorm. This time homeward with a full heart and a bunch of new adventure buddies!
Thanks again to the Thrive leaders for putting on a wonderful event, and everyone else who came and made it a refreshing retreat. If you live in the Hudson WI area and are looking for a great bunch to adventure with, these ladies are the best!