I can add another event with a 'K' in it to my résumé— this time it was a 10K ski 'race' across the bay between Ashland and Washburn. We were new to the whole 'booking it across the bay' event and I was excited for all of it (I had a bottle of champagne and a container of gorgonzola crackers cued up for a mid-ski snack) until I heard there was a bus ride involved. To say I'm not a fan of small spaces filled with people would be an enormous understatement and the added component of skis everywhere in the small space was enough to send me skiing back to Bayfield. I tried to suck it up and keep my claustrophobia in check but as we got closer to Washburn, doubt started to creep in my anxious little brain (it didn't help I managed to get the car stuck in a snow bank trying to park...I'm not the best driver).
As luck would have it, we were walking down the street to queue up for the dreaded bus ride and the most spectacular thing happened— an empty bus pulls up alongside of us and the bus driver asked if we wanted to get on (before the other 200 or so people in line). We answered with a resounding 'hell yeah', Jack and I grabbed the front seat (near the door) and away we went, not a hint of claustrophobia to be found. It was shaping up to be the best night of skiing across the lake, ever.
Of course, there were puppets at the start— a wolf and a polar bear. A little bit of whimsy before we set off on our epic night ski across the lake.
There were a lot of people at the start and we made sure to stay in the back. I think the fastest person finished in 23 minutes, our crew finished somewhere around the 3 hour mark. Not too shabby for a group of inexperienced Dougherty skiers and a 6-year-old Jackson. We were so far in the back, I'm not sure how the start of the race was announced but we made our way to the lake about 6:05 and started our trek towards the first rest stop.
There were quite a few people in the back with us. In fact, there were quite a few people everywhere— 3500 skiers, snowshoers and walkers signed up to book across the bay. It was a beautiful start— the sky was lit up with the remnants of sunlight, the moon and stars were just starting to reveal themselves and the seemingly unending line of twinkling luminaries spread out in front of us.
There were rest stops every kilometer with water, cookies, apple cider (adult and kid flavored) and bonfires to warm our getting colder by the minute fingers, faces and bodies. It was really cold out— about zero degree by the time we crossed the finish line.
One of the rest stops had a bonfire and a fire breathing dragon— it was seriously impressive.
We finished with smiles on our faces, frost in our hair and lots of good memories of our first book across the bay.