Kimzyn Cross Country Skiing at Camp Nawakwa in Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin
Activity Time: 1 hour
I recently went winter cabin camping with 2 girlfriends and our younger kids. It was billed by my friend who organized it as a weekend relaxing knitathon with a sprinkling of cross country skiing and snowshoeing. In my previous job, I often had to write convincing local guides to remote winter resort areas and one thing every area had up its sleeve was that it was a beautiful winter landscape in which to cross country ski or snoeshoe. So I figured I would now have my chance at last to experience the splendor of this and see for myself if hauling a shit-ton of winter gear and food supplies 6 hours north in negative wind chills was going to seem justifiable.
The last 3 hours of the trip was a real cardio workout, Iceroad Truckers style, with me clutching a steering wheel and pretending that solid ice roads and white-out snowfall on a highway were surmountable challenges that would one day be fodder for dramatic storytelling. Somehow we arrived at the beautiful, remote camp cabin in the woods on a frozen lake and enjoyed our spacious, modernly equipped lodgings. Food stations were set up, rooms were claimed, couches were sprawled upon and opening cocktails were had. Soon, we tired of all that relaxation and the sunlight was burning so we put on the gear (layers underneath with snow pants and all the trappings) and went out to find the sporting equipment.
Perhaps it was the 6 hours ride and the stressful snowstorm and the fact that I could feel a tightness in my chest that usually followed by a sore throat and led to a nasty bronchitis, but I felt a little pooped and cautious at the get-go. It was the sort of pooped and cautious that told me to take a nap, but I couldn’t bear to miss anything so I suited up with the rest of them.
I strapped on the ski boots. They are much more comfortable than downhill skiboots. I figured out how to click in to the skis, then shuffle along. I tried to overcome my fear of falling, because normally falling a few feet could be fun, right? But I once broke my leg ice skating and the doctor told me I would always be prone to boot breaks. So every time I do a sporty thing with boots I am terrified of falling and re-breaking my leg. But dangit, from what I could feel of it beyond my fear, exhaustion and looming illness, it seemed pretty fun. You could lean forward a little bit with the stride and sort of glide in to things and end up traveling a lot longer than your actual stride. This was cool. My girlfriend, who was also experiencing this for the first time, had a titanium knee and had promised her husband she would do nothing insanely adventurous-so she was audibly freaking out next to me, echoing my own inner monologue. The rest of our party skied back to the cabin in a jiffy to make some dinner, but my titanium knee pal and my son (who kept falling down and claiming a hatred for the sport and demanding assistance), we just took our own sweet, shuffling time. We weren’t willing to pop off any kneecaps in minus 20 degree temperatures. But what a workout it was! I never felt a bit cold once I started gliding along and hit that step count pretty easily that day regardless of the hours spent sitting in the car on our duffs.
What Broke Me:
Exhaustion and the beginning of bronchitis wore down my reserves enough to make it difficult to suppress my fear of injury. Normally, well rested and hydrated, I’d punch those fears in the face. But I was a bit low and instead of quitting or overdoing it, I just gave myself permission to take it slow and enjoy what I could and quit when I needed to.
How I survived:
Fear lies. I reminded myself, my son and my pal of that. Let’s prove it, I said. My friend loved cross country skiing so much, she went and did it again, alone, while I lay coughing on the couch the next day. She inspired me to get try it more than I could have on my own.
Activity Steps: 3,429
Calories burnt: 388
Daily activity steps hit: 11,898