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Big Bog-Warroad 37th Brooke Day

This years birthday cabin trip took us up to Warroad. To break up the drive we decided to stop halfway and stay in a yurt at Cuyuna Country Recreation Area. Once we arrived it was already pretty dark out. I also didn't realize the park was so big and we entered in the opposite direction of where we needed to be. The yurts were all walk in and we ended up in the one that was the farthest from the parking lot. 

Scott also didn't realize the yurt was heated by wood stove only. Let's just say he wasn't too pleased with this surprise. 

I was a wee bit crabby. I had totally forgotten that yurts are wood fire only heat. On a cold night it was going to take a while to heat up our cozy confines.

After a mild few days in Minneapolis the temperature here was 5F. 

We made due while waiting for the place to warm up. 

The yurt never really warmed up until about 4am. We all went to bed in our snowpants and coats and slowly shed layers while we slept. 
Going to bed is a bit of a stretch for the keeper of the flame.

It's always interesting to see your surroundings the next morning when you arrive in the night. 
Cayuna Country is the epicenter of Minnesota mountain biking and by extension fat biking in the winter.
A bike trail goes right by the yurts. 

Your stay does come with wagons and a sled to make hauling your items in and out easier. Had we planned better we would have packed bags for just the night instead of taking everything with us. 

A quick game of jenga while we pack up. 

I love these oatmeal cups for when we need a quick breakfast on the go. 

I never feel like these ready to go oatmeal fill us up, but they're sure easy.

Meadow and Theo had instant hot chocolate and cider along with their breakfast.

Then we drove up to our next destination. We had originally booked Cabin #6 at Big Bog State Recreation Area but the cabin had a faint gas smell.
Theo was not happy about it and I would've complained the whole weekend. The park ranger let us switch. No questions asked.
The nice ranger moved us next door to Cabin #5. Fun fact, cabin #6 was originally at Jay Cooke State Park. When they replaced their cabins Big Bog took one to add an extra cabin to their park.

This one was perfect for 4 adults and two kids. It would've been a tight squeeze in #6.

We hadn't eaten since our oatmeal cups. Another easy meal PB and J's. 
Brooke was not impressed with our lunch choice. I read in Outside Magazine that a PB & J is actually better trail food or equivalent to most protein bars.

Blake and Daniel arrived and were all very excited to see so much snow. 

Gotta love the layers of snow on the roof.

Since it was early we went snowshoeing to the northern section of the park. 
Big Bog is split into a north and south unit. The northern half is much larger. Meanwhile the southern half abuts the Red Lake State Forest.

This was the deepest snow I've ever snowshoed in. Once in awhile my foot would fall through to be waist deep. 
Snowshoeing at Bear Head Lake years ago was also very deep, but somehow Blake and Brooke never fell through there.

Even Ruthie was struggling.

This section is part of the Hiking Club Trail. 
The Big Bog Boardwalk.
Will be fun when we come back to do it in warmer weather. 

The kids called it done after a bit so we headed back. 

Meadow used to never complain, but these days she'll tell you she's done.
We waited for Blake and Daniel at the trailhead.

Eventually they returned. First Daniel and much later Blake.
Daniel turned around shortly after we did, Blake made it to the end. 

As it was Friday night we had to go out for fish. After reading the cabin journal someone mentioned West Wind Resort. When Scott called to see if they had fish they said they'll cook up the fish you caught or you can eat theirs. 
Too bad we didn't have our own catch for the day.

The wild rice soup was perfect.

 It was delish. I have to admit its great to be going back to restaurants again. 

A lumberjack breakfast to start our day of ice skating. 
Not quite the right pan setup, but it did the job. These Nordic Ware Naturals pans are super light and look so good.

We picked the cabin this year for the destination, not so much the cabin. Warroad has the longest ice trail in the United States at 5 miles. 
Well, what we didn't know until we arrived in Warroad is that it had already closed for the season.
Too much snow this season shut down the voluntary operation for 2022.
Instead we got some beers at Lake of the Woods Brewing.

Don't we all look sad?
Yeah, we do.

Minnesota's Northern Most Brewery is actually the southern outpost of the Canadian brewery up in Kenora, Ontario.

We had a few beers before deciding what to do the rest of the day. 

The ice skate trail was supposed to last until March 19. But due to all the snow they got this winter, it warmed up the ice and turned it into slush. The trail turned (back) into a snowmobile trail instead.

We decided to get pizza at the Nomad Tavern a stone's throw from the Lake of the Woods.
 It was a wise decision.

No patio sitting this time of year.

The last time we were here was on our way up to Winnipeg. Was kind of fun to see this place in different seasons. 
Just kind of without the ice trail.

If there's a playground, these kids will play anytime of the year.

We checked out the lake before heading back to Big Bog.

While driving back we noticed a tiny portion still open for skating. 
This was the original river ice rink that started the whole ice trail. 

If only we could keep skating on. 

Thanks, Doc. You made our day.

 We all played some hockey with the provided pucks and sticks and then headed back for real. Well actually we tried to stop by Zippel Bay State Park on the way, but it was very much closed to everyone except for snowshoers. With no snowshoes in hand, we turned around.

After our big lunch we just ate a bunch of snacks for dinner. 

No cake this year but I got to blow out a lighter for my birthday. 

Everyone but me played an epic game of Jenga.

This game got intense. 

Daniel brought his projector so we had a movie night with the classics Land Before Time and The Brave Little Toaster.  
Only one of these is a classic and ain't the one with a toaster.

And just like that the weekend was over. 

Until next year.

Before we headed out we checked out Upper Red Lake across the road. 

That's one (well two really) big lake.

We made another little stop at Schoolcraft State Park. Loved all the pine here and you can canoe on the Mississippi River. Would make another fun stop in the summer. 

Only Brooke and I ventured out. The kiddos were done adventuring at this point.

 We were all starving. So we stopped at North Country Cafe back in Crosby.

Theo is still not used to having to wait for his food.

Clearly it was good.

After 3 more stops we were finally really heading home.
It's kind of what we do. 

On my actual birthday, on Monday, I got an ice cream cake from Sebastian Joe's of course. 

Raspberry Chocolate Chip this time. 

Doesn't look  a day over 37. Oh, wait.

Meadow made me some oragami. 

Scott got me the Breakfast for Dinner cookbook. 
It's been on her list for years.

From mom I got a shoe care kit for my Red Wing boots. A great ending to another great birthday.


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