Our EFI intentions dissolved today, ironed out by a daunting 84 kilometers. Imagine skiing from Marquette to Gladstone, and yet quite a crew accomplished that feat under gray skies threatening to dump snow.
No one is regretting the decision to quit early. We are all doing what our body can endure. . .and still enjoy. The fitness level of these skiers--many older (decades even) that us--is remarkable. We'd love to have them come race the Noquemanon.
Our ski started at 7:30. Lyle, Amy, Jo, Kellie and Jeff all started from the top of the ski resort on a cat track that put some spirit in their legs. We had been warned it would be steep and icy so Ron, Mike and I took the bus to the start and started off with medium rolly-polly. Hindsight, we should have started with the rest of the crew because Amy was beaming. Regardless, my day started as sacred as church with Enya on my headphones surrounded by a cathedral of snowcovered spruces. In minutes I was weeping with thoughts of where I was skiing and those who have gone before me. Yes, Freddy Waara you were so close to my heart. Grandpa Axel and Uncle Bill were smiling at me too. I'm so grateful my parents were passionate about skiing and passed on that love. Ron and I hugged on the trail appreciating that we have also instilled in Eryka and Ian a love for a white landscape and the joy of glide.
The whole feeling was capped off when Amy paid tribute to a friend and I'll let her tell that story. It ranks the most heartfelt moment of the trip. And if I even try to hint at it, I'll start bawling again and Ron says I'm already too dehydrated.
Our trail took us through a National Park, equal to Finland's Yellowstone, and aside from the spectacular scenery we were hosted with that classic Finnish smiling hospitality. We can't really communicate because of the language barrier, even with the snowmobile driver who Mike says follows up like a mosquito.
We stopped at a hut for Munkki (donut) and Kahvia. (I think they use a cardomon batter.) And later we had soup, boiled kahvia and pulla (cardomon rolls) in a tee-pee.
Jo did 44km and got a look at a wild reindeer. I'll let her tell that story too.
We got to our hotel. Ron says what's so fun about a trip to Finland is you never know who you'll be sleeping with. Room assignments are a toss up but tonight Lyle and Amy have their OWN room and Jeff and Kellie have arranged to be alone too. The energy of those youngsters.
We get to go shopping at 19:00.
I'll leave battery for others to post their thoughts about this life changing adventure.
The more miles I travel this landscape the more I appreciate the values of these people.