Life in a Northern Town

A Snowy Walk To The Sugarbush

Spring officially starts on Wednesday but you wouldn't know it by looking outside, there is a lot of snow on the ground (and more on the way tomorrow).  Last year, the kids were at the beach in their swimsuits (check it out here). What a difference a year makes.

The Bayfield Regional Conservancy hosted a Full Moon Luminary cross-country ski out the Nourse Sugarbush at the end of January and the kids and I signed up for a little night skiing adventure. We skied the Sugarbush Trail, lit with luminaries, in a light snowfall— I remember thinking I needed to imprint that night in my brain, it was absolutely magical. When Will, Sadie and I were looking for a photo safari destination, I knew just the spot. A hike out to the sugarbush while there was still snow on the ground was just as magical in the daylight.

According to the Bayfield Regional Conservancy website, 'For hundreds of years, the sugarbush was a spring destination for Ojibwe people, who were the first to tap those maple trees for producing maple syrup. Slash marks from those days are still evident on the oldest trees.  The Nourse family has continued the tradition since the 1920’s.  A small cabin (c. 1920) and tin storage shed used for maple syrup production still exist on the property and are used for annual sugaring operations by the Nourse Family who retained lifetime rights to harvest syrup'. Walking among the old growth maples, before they were tapped, was the perfect way to recognize the passing of winter into spring. Although, I bet we have a couple more snowfalls in our future before 'real' spring settles in for good— this is Northern Wisconsin, after all.