Skyline Drive - Scenic Byway Road Closed
Skyline Drive – Scenic Byway Closed for the Season

Winter, astronomical winter that is, arrived on December 22, 2011 at around 12:30 AM CST. Fast-forward a week, and we do have a tiny amount of snow and the ambient air temperature is often below +32 degrees F (0 C), but it honestly does not feel like winter. There are things such as snowshoeing, snowmobiling and ice fishing which northern minnesotans usually partake in during the winter that hasn’t been possible thus far. For the Jokela household we do not snowmobiling (fumes & noise) or much ice fishing (not enough time and equipment) but we are fans of snowshoeing. Hopefully sometime in the next few weeks we will get enough snow to be able to enjoy this season called winter. The snowshoes, skijouring harness and dog booties are all ready to be used. The new dog-hauler is ready to rolls, as well.

Melissa with the hounds in Grand Marais
Melissa with the hounds in Grand Marais

Even with a tiny bit of snow here in Proctor, it feels more like late fall than actual winter. On Christmas day, however, headed up the shore of Lake Superior to Judge C. R. Magney State Park (see Devil’s Kettle – Snowshoeing the North Shore for my last visit to this gem of Northern Minnesota). Along the way to the park, we made our traditional Christmas day stop in Grand Marais, MN. We had the hounds in tow with us this year as we now have a swanky hound-mobile with room for all four dogs. Windy and colder than at our southern end of the North Shore, but gorgeous none-the-less.

Right next to viewing the Devil’s Kettle in Judge C. R. Magney Park, as far as my favorite sights of the North Shore, is being able to look down (south) from Grand Marais and see the Sawtooth Mountains cut across the horizon. It is particularly spectacular as sundown is nearing.

Even with the great sights of Grand Marais and the strangeness of being in a town on Christmas day that appears to be completely empty and the only things working are the one or two stop lights; the whole region – from Proctor in the south to Grand Marais in the north, does not feel like winter. Maybe by Valentine’s Day we will winter, maybe?