Winter is probably going to be here through the end of March, at least. This week is frigid. Thursday is a high of negative five. Today was only a high of 16. It's something I am used to. What is so great about Madison is that there are still plenty of outdoorswomen/men who remain outside.
As I have always loved winter, I say the best way to get through it is to utilize it. This past weekend, I put my cross country skis to use by visiting Mecan River Lodge, in Princeton, Wisconsin. This is about an hour north of Madison. The lodge features guest rooms, a restaurant, a store, ski rentals, and ten miles of ski trails (they also have kayaking, hunting, sleighs, etc.) Although only a high of about 20 on Saturday, it was a sunny and snowy day. The texture of the snow was perfect for cross country skiing. Before entering the woods, you are in an open field. Once you are in the forest, the surroundings are natural and, at times, breathtaking. Because there are a lot of pines, the woods is not as bare as you would expect, due to the time of year. At the end of the trail, you pass up the barn, and can watch the cows grazing up close. It was so peaceful. I can still hear the quietness of the snowy morning (even if it is an oxymoron).
Princeton has a great little down town area with some pretty hip shops. Although a very small place, I understand that some of the shop owners have come from larger cities to have a quieter experience in this community.
After skiing, we sat in the Waterfront Grill in Green Lake, Wisconsin, overlooking the lake. Now, you have to understand that anywhere you go in Wisconsin that has a frozen lake is currently occupied by ice fishers, sitting in their ice shelters. After martinis, we walked across the ice. A weird feeling, knowing that you are walking on a frozen lake.
Now, I walk to a lot of places around town, so I have mastered the art of what to wear when it is below zero: leggings, with a pair of pants on top, a shirt, a turtle neck, a sweater, a scarf, a hat, a heavy winter jacket with a hood, and mittens. UGG boots are a must. They feel like slippers, and you do not need to wear socks with them. Whoever invented UGGS is a genius. I did not want UGGS because I understand that while not in Madison, in many other cities, they are already on their way out of style. I don't care. They are so darn cozy. After walking on the ice, in most of my usual uniform, I could not warm up.
So, my friend and I took it upon ourselves at around 8:45 that evening to run the trail we had skied in the morning, although it was about zero degrees, so that we could warm up. Well, it worked. And we did it in our UGGS. With the moon closer to the earth, it appeared much larger, and provided almost enough light for our run through the woods, although we did have a flashlight. The snow sparkled off the reflection of the moon. With that much light, it was a fearless run, and we got hot.
Try to enjoy the cold months, if you can!