“Are You Bringing the Scooter?”

That wasn’t how my fall vacation started, but it was how my fall vacation began. 

It started several weeks before my husband asked that question, when I made reservations to rent a cabin high, high up on Minnesota’s Gunflint Trail for the last week of October. It was meant to be a quiet getaway in the north woods largely spent hiking and hanging out with the dogs (and when he joined me later in the week, my husband), knitting, reading, and just being. A good old-fashioned recharging of the batteries. But then amid my packing and other preparations, the question was asked. And then amid my indecision and waffling the statement was made: “If you have room, you might as well. The worst that can happen is you don’t use it.” Genius.

I’d stayed at this particular resort before, and I’d done a lot of hiking on the trails around it and up and down the Trail. Most of the hiking trails weren’t really scooter-able. Still, there was room, and so into the car Scoot (the scooter) went, making the road trip in its customary place in the front seat with its handlebars folded down and pressed against my right shoulder (and reminding me that someday I will need a bigger vehicle if I continue down this mushing road).

And so my vacation began. My beautiful mushing vacation, that is. As it turns out, a nearby riding stable was closed for the season, meaning that miles and miles of absolutely perfect trails – wide, semi-groomed, dog feet-friendly grassy trails through beautiful, soul-recharging scenery – were not being used by anyone until Scoot, Squash, Maisy and I arrived on the scene to use them. And use them we did.  We quickly fell into a daily routine: Get up early, eat breakfast. Go scootering. Come back to the cabin, in no particular order some combination of napping, reading, knitting, eating lunch, and/or watching a DVD. Then in mid-afternoon, go  for a hike/canicross (I had also brought my skijor belt). Come back to the cabin and in no particular order again some combination of the above until bedtime, replacing “lunch” with “dinner.”  Sometimes another hike after dinner, sometimes not. When my husband and Pip joined us later in the week, they fell right into the routine – although Pip and my husband generally stayed back at the cabin for scootering except one day that he graciously came along to take pictures.

It was never intended to be a mushing vacation, but that’s what it turned into. And it was so perfectly enjoyable that I’m planning on making it a yearly event until I’m too old to climb on a scooter and shout “Let’s Go!”

Now, here are some pictures that I am posting all over the internet. Or at least on the Mush Puppies Facebook page. And a few online dog sites. Anyway, you can see how gorgeous the trails and scenery are, here.

Here are some pictures my husband took on the day he came with us. I almost never get to see their faces, I love to see them looking so jolly.

Hiking/Canicross with bonus Pip:

And finally, the only video I shot, because the trails are so bouncy that I knew they would all end up like this. This was actually down a fairly steep hill, although it doesn’t show it well probably because I was crouched over ninja-style in an attempt to minimize my falling risk. I think they did quite well.

I generally hike with a bear bell up there and I just put it on the scooter; as it turns out, it was deer opening weekend so it was handy to tell the world we were nothing to shoot at as well as prevent surprising any large wildlife that doesn’t care for being surprised. But it also seemed to put a little bit of zip in their step, so I may just leave it on the scooter all the time even though it’s a bit annoying.

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