BOTI! Although I doubt that many of you even knew we were off the island, we got back onto the island late yesterday, after a fairly quick trip to Minnesota. Nora had a test that had to be done at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester…which went very well… and we decided to make a mini-mini vacation out of it. Nora’s exam was around midday on Friday and as soon as it was over, we headed north up hwy 52 to the Minneapolis area, our destination being the Great Wolf Lodge and waterpark. We don’t have anything really exciting planned for spring break, so we thought this would be a nice treat for us all.
It ended up being a nice treat, as the lodge, waterpark and staff were great. We were there for less than 24 hours, but with everything that we did, it sure seemed a lot longer. We were able to check into our room upon arrival, so did that and quickly got changed into our swim suits to head down to the water park. The first concern on my checklist was passed, as the water was quite comfortable. I don’t know the exact temp, but would have to have put it in the 82-85 degree range, as it was not bathwater upper 80’s, but not the “have to get used to it” lower 80’s either. Other concerns like crowds, safety and general atmosphere also passed the test, as there were tons of lifeguards to cover the different activities, the water park was not overwhelmed with people, which I believe is due to the fact that only guests staying at the lodge can go inside the water park. The other visitors at the park/lodge were very nice and friendly and Gracie even made some new friends while there.
Gracie and I partook in all of the water slides and I have to say that a few were pretty intense. It’s fun to have her be old enough that she can do everything, but not too old that she does not want to. Nora joined us on the less stressful activities like the wave pool and lazy river. I guess if I had to make one suggestion it would be to have the air temp in the waterpark a little warmer. It was warmer than the lodge, but sill cool enough that when you were not in the water, you could get a bit chilled.
Anyway, after being in the waterpark for around 4 hours, we went back up to the room, got into street cloths and headed down to one of the restaurants in the lodge and had supper. Then it was time for Gracie to tackle the rock climbing wall. When we told Gracie what we would be doing as part of our MN trip, including showing her pictures of all that was there, it seemed to be a tie as far as her excitement level was about the waterpark and the rock climbing. She is like a little monkey around here, climbing on furniture when inside and anything she can like trees, rocks…etc, when outside, so I was interested to see how she would do on the rock wall.
After getting into her harness, she was given a good explanation on how to “handle the ropes” by the staff and then it was up the wall she went! I figured she would make it at least a third of the way up the three story wall, but since she chose the path with an outcropping in it, I was not so sure how well she would get past it. Well, the outcropping was nothing for her and she scooted right past it. Up, up, up she went. As she neared the top, her pace did slow some and I was beginning to wonder if she would make it all the way up. She seemed to be using her arms more than legs, but was still headed up! She was about a foot from the top when the burn in her hand and arm muscles finally got to be too much and down she came. The harness she was wearing is hooked up to a pulley device that allows the climber to slowly return to Terra Firma and she did a great job of rapelling as she came down. She had two climbs and was so excited to do it again, that her muscles still had some burn in them and she only made it around 2/3rds of the way up the second time.
In the same area as the rock wall, they also have a suspended obstacle course that the kids can do. I suspect that adults could probably do it too, but did not see any! So it was back into a harness and then out onto the course. The course is two levels and the participants remained hooked up to the harness and safety line the whole time. The other end of the safety line is hooked up to an overhead track that a rolling wheel rides in. She took to this like a fish to water. Everything about it was right up her alley. A bit of danger, heights, the threat you could fall to your demise at any moment and of course the physical demands. She mastered the first level very quickly and headed up to the second level. Not only was the second level one more story higher (3 floors up), but it had more challenging obstacles. The main one being a rolling log that was stopping may who tried in their tracks. She got to it and headed across. The few kids that did make it across did so in a side-by-side shuffle movement, grabbing the ropes that were dangling nearby for help. Gracie started out that way, but about halfway through got a little turned around and found herself walking across the log like a tight rope. This was a much more difficult way to cross, as the log would spin very easily and it was hard to keep your balance. There was a moment when it looked like all was lost, but she fought off the fear of falling off and aching muscles and made her way across.
I don’t know what it is like for other parents, but the one thing that I have really tried to instill in Grace is to not give up. That attitude has allowed me to live a wonderful life. There have been some immense challenges, probably some that I could have walked away from and never been given grief for doing so, but it was instilled in me to not give up and I am trying to pass that adage along to Grace. So it was extremely rewarding to see her in dire straits about half way across that log, fight off the fear, gather herself together and press on and make it! The pride on her face was priceless too. And now, the next challenge she faces and questions if she can make it, I will just bring up the log cross at the Great Wolf! I have a feeling that it will be a watershed event in her life.
So after having breakfast at the lodge on Saturday, we did a bit of shopping and then headed our way home. The lodge/waterpark is about a half mile away from the Mall of America, but we did not even think about going there. That seems to be a 2-3 day event in itself! Maybe next time. The trip home was uneventful and it was very nice to pick the pups up at the boarding kennel and have the whole family together again. The pups were well cared for, as they always are there, but also very happy to see us. Nothing quite like the excitement of a dog when they see you for the first time of you being separated for a while. In our case it was around 56 hours, but seemed like weeks!
Not much else has been going on up here. A quiet week as far as snow. We got a little here and there and it is currently snowing out at I type and we look to see snow fly right through Tuesday. Probably not enough to make it bottomless powder, but with the fresh snow and temps to be in the teens and 20’s for highs, perhaps some outdoor play will be had this week. I know I would really like to take a snow shoe in our woods and maybe even a ski somewhere up here. Perhaps I will even get out on the sled for some track spinning. I also am chomping at bit to get into the shop and get going on some projects. I have been letting a friend use the shop for the past few weeks and I think going out to chat with him while he is there has really lit a flame in me to make some sawdust too!
The only other think I would like to cover before signing off is to remind you all of the Sauna Raffle that the Keweenaw Snowmobile Club is having. The link to the place where you can purchase tickets on-line is located at the very top-right of this website and will remain there until the sales end sometime around March 6th-8th. You do not need to be present to win or live here. You will need to arrange getting the sauna from up here to where ever you want it, but it fits on a two place snowmobile trailer very well. All the proceeds for the raffle are going to the savings the club has to build a new groomer barn. The one we are in at the moment is literally falling down and or caving in! So get your tickets, it is a beautiful sauna!
Until next week..
Good night from the Keweenaw..