National Winter Trails Day on the Gunflint Trail

sking on National Trails Day 2011  

  Without even knowing January 8th was National Winter Trail’s Day I celebrated it by spending time on the trail.  I didn’t spend quite as much time on the trail on Saturday as I did on Friday but I’d say two and a half hours was enough especially with the below zero temperature.

     We had an amazing time skiing theBanadad Trail off of the Gunflint Trail.  This trail connects the Upper Gunflint Trail Ski Area to the Central Gunflint Trail Ski Area and is 20 miles in length.  It travels along old logging roads through massive stands of pine, across swamps, over hills and next to beaver dams.  The word Banadad means "lost" in Ojbwe but luckily it is quite easy to follow and we didn’t have any trouble finding our way to the yurt on the first day.

     TheCroft Yurt is about 12 miles from the Eastern Trail Head near Poplar Creek’s Guesthouse.  It took us about four hours to get there with plenty of photo stops, snack breaks and time to just stand in awe and take in the scenery of the surrounding Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

     There is no electricity at the yurt and the only bathroom is an outhouse but it’s a perfect place to spend the night.  There’s a wood stove to keep you toasty and an outhouse nearby so you can get a good glimpse of the stars periodically throughout the night. 

     Mike snowmobiled in with the kids and our gear for the evening.  There are sleeping bags provided and you can have Boundary Country Trekking prepare a meal for you, but Mike acted as our chef for the evening.  He made some delicious beef stroganhoff and we enjoyed some gourmet s’mores for dessert. 

     In the morning we all left about the same time.  Mike and the kids by snowmobile and Sheri and I by skis.  About an 8 mile ski to the Western Trailhead took us about two and a half hours.   This portion of the trail we skied pretty early in the morning so we were a bit cold by the time we got back to where the vehicle was parked.

     The Banadad is such a wonderful place to experience the winter wonderland of the BWCAW.  We saw grouse, tracks of snowshoe hare and moose but no other people either day while we skied.  The scenery is fantastic and there are just enough hills to keep it interesting.

     I did end up with blisters on my feet but I like to think of them as souvenirs from a great trip on National Winter Trails Day.

Wood pile at the yurt on the Gunflint TrailYurt on the Gunflint Trail     Croft Yurt on the Gunflint Trail