Saturday night - not quite roughing it.
Rule-free pot luck at Bearskin Lodge with the City of Lakes Loppet group who were enjoying a Northwoods ski weekend. Hot tub. Soft bed.
The Banadad Trail
A late start on our longest day. We started this leg with a new shuttle pilot (Kathy B.), a new coat of glide wax, and the temp right at zero. We headed southwest on Poplar Trail then hit the east trailhead of the Banadad. After just a km or two we got to Ted Young's place. He runs a B and B along with a handful of yurts along the edge of the BWCA. Ted tells us a group of Lutsen Lodge employees is ahead of us on the trail on their way to a yurt. Ted was interested in our trek and curious how the connections from the Northshore trails to the Gunflint ski trails will work. So are we.
We got back on our skis. The first half of the Banadad was built on old logging roads and is flat, straight and narrow with trees growing close on both sides. Half way up the trail we caught the Lutsen group. They had read about our trek on the Sugarbush Ski System website. We talked for a bit and they shared a swig of some awesome Fitger's. Then we all headed west. The Lutsen group on their way to the yurt and we still had two hours to the west end of the trail - where our car was waiting.
In two places the trail was stomped heavily by what appeared to be a party of moose. The size of their hooves and the depth of the impressions showed their weight and power.
Not often I feel compelled to tell about a sandwich. But here is one. Pretty darn good whole grain bread - but the magic was inside. Humus, Fully ripe red peppers, goat cheese. Flavors merged in our slightly warm packs. We nearly cried as we raved. Sandwiches from heaven.
Second Half of the Trail
The second half of the Banadad had long climbs and one long steep drop (hair-raising). The trail turned northward and we guessed we must be aiming toward the Gunflint Trail. We were getting tired but like horses headed to the barn we picked our pace. Twenty minutes later we passed the entry to the BWCA and ten more we were at the car. It started. Seventeen miles back to Bearskin Lodge for a hot tub and good night.