For a retreat, Teisha and I decided to go on a cross-country ski trip to one of the shelters at Duck Mountain.
"I've never tried cross-country skiing before, but if it's anything like downhill, I'm going to hate it." Teisha she said.
I hadn't gone cross-country skiing for over a decade, but it didn't stop me from trying to reassure her that it can't be much harder than snowshoeing.
Excited to be outside on a gorgeous day, we locked in our skis and hit the trail from Batka Lake. I glided my way to the gate before careening down the first slope with no control. Teisha's idea of "hitting the trail" was falling three times, less than ten feet from the car. I forgot to wax the skis, or rather that wax was even something I needed to consider. We abandoned the skiing component of our journey and opted for hiking boots instead.
We continued on our way to Ski Hill Shelter, roughly 6 km thanks to an accidental detour.
I was antsy after several breaks to shed extra layers or pack away the mitts. But we made it to Ski Hill Shelter with a decent amount of sunlight to spare. We got a fire running in seconds. Not that we needed the heat, but everything I owned was soaked.
There had been some renovations since our last trip and the entire shelter was now insulated. It's impressive how much hard work goes into these trails. I wondered what motivates people to take years and years of effort to build this. Maybe it's just rewarding to create something that will only be enjoyed by few.
After cooking a heavy supper over the furnace, Teisha retired to the loft for a nap while I investigated the firewood supply outside. The distant hum of snowmobiles disappeared along with the sunlight. From then on it was quiet.
I wandered back and forth from the woods gathering deadfall that could be used for a campfire. But the Pink Floyd-style lightshow the stars were putting on caught my attention. I forgot how dark the night sky could be.
Teisha stepped outside to join me in some stargazing. We cracked open a couple bottles of wine and stoked the campfire, illuminating the surrounding forest.
The next day, we hiked back to the vehicle feeling renewed and ambitious. I was excited again, whether for nature, adventure or creating something new just for the hell of it. As long as we keep having fun, the work is worthwhile-- no matter which direction we're heading.