Friday, January 11, 2013

Holiday summary

So the two-week holiday is over and we are back at work, the fact that seems to require at least another two weeks of adaptation. We had an amazing holiday, with beautiful Christmas ambiance, an unforgettable change of the New Year, plenty of outdoor activities and of course plenty of good things to eat and drink. We started our vacation in around -35 °C but the temperature rose quickly and around the New Year it was close to 0 °C some days. 

And we also witnessed the sunrises getting a bit earlier, the sunsets getting a bit later, and the sun itself rising a bit higher on our backyard sky as the days went by. Like the sun, we kept having high holiday moments throughout the days, but also one big low moment.

Christmas and Solstice

It was lovely to spend the Christmas in our small cabin with beautiful Christmas ambiance. We had the Christmas cards that we received from our friends and family decorating the walls, we lighted candles every morning and night, listened Christmas songs from a laptop, eating chocolate and... On Saturday before Christmas Eve, Julien got a Christmas tree from the forest surrounding our cabin. We got ornaments from Scott and Kerry, and after careful decoration, for Piia the tree was the most beautiful tree in the whole world.

On Saturday we also had our pre-Christmas dinner with Scott, Kerry and the girls. Following Finnish traditions Piia made Carrot casserole for dinner and for French traditions an almond pie for dessert. We also had delicious deviled eggs, salad, different kinds of cheese and traditional pierogi from Pennsylvania. And so had the feast started, of course with plenty of wine as well! The dessert hid a surprise in it: it is a French tradition to hide something inside the pie (this time it was a piece of plastic) and whoever gets it, is the king or queen of the party. This time Scott had the honor, and he chose Kerry to be his Queen. It was a great night to start the holiday!

Then on Christmas Eve we created our own special menu combining American, French and Finnish traditions, to celebrate both Christmas and also Solstice in our own cabin. 

So for starters we had deviled eggs, baguettes and cheese. For main dish we enjoyed moose steaks with red wine sauce fried potatoes, and finally for dessert cheese cake with blueberry sauce. Of course it wasn't like back at home, but pretty damn close!

We started the Christmas day with rice porridge and cloudberry soup, like we always do in Finland. It hid an almond in it, and whoever gets that, will do the dishes. Since Piia do them anyway, it was convenient that Piia got the almond

New Year

For the New Year’s Eve we were first invited to Sandra and Todd’s house to enjoy the early evening with bonfire and good food. It was a nice outside gathering and we met our friends and also many new people there. 

We didn't spend the whole night there since we had dogs to feed, so we decided to welcome the New Year in a way we have never done before. So at 11.30 pm we prepared the dogs and the sled for a very special midnight run. And indeed, we did the countdown for the New Year 2013 while mushing on the Winter trail! 

No better way to change the year!

On New Year’s Day we accidentally found our friends’ house while driving with a snow machine looking for new trails to run with the dogs. We ended up spending the evening there, with good food, good stories and too much to drink.

Outdoor activities

You can take it for granted that we spent a lot of time outside during our holiday. Mostly we did mushing, almost every day, and the dogs were very excited to go out so often. 

Just before the holidays we had two new dogs joining our Escape Team: Cuppy and Bingo.

The sweet giant who gives you high five every time you go and say hi to him. And although he can’t see, he’s running in the team as everyone else, working hard, not wanting to stop. Here Cuppy running with Stella.

Also a sweet giant, with an extra amount of energy and enthusiasm. He’s jumping up and down wherever he is, but when you go to pet him, he will roll on the ground and enjoy the attention.

With our reinforced team we did some smaller and longer runs, tried new trails and we also did one overnight trip to a Colorado Creek cabin, which it’s about 20 km run from our cabin. 

So one morning we packed the sled and one snow machine with overnight gear for the dogs and us and enjoyed the beautiful way up to the cabin, Piia with sled and Julien with a snow machine and camera. It was only fair that after leaving the easy Winter trail and climbing steadily towards the Colorado Creek cabin, Piia had to work with the dogs as well. With all the outdoor clothes that you put on you when you start mushing, it’s very sweaty business to run uphill and push the sled with you. But after that you respect your dogs even more for the hard work they do, and you are allowed to eat as much chocolate as you dragged on your sled!

The cabin was a small but cosy and we enjoyed our night there with full moon light. 

The next day Julien mushed with the dogs and it was Piia’s turn to take the snow machine and the camera. Sun was already setting on our way even though it felt like we left in the morning time. But the day was still a couple minutes longer than the previous day!


Other than mushing, we also spend some time running the dogs lose. Boy they enjoyed that! 
They played together, ran in the snow and clearly couldn't believe their good luck for being able to run free like that. You could really see the smile on their face!

We went also skiing around the property and driving the snow machine along the trails of Two Rivers. Due the warmer weather, there are some overflows along the creeks.

And we enjoyed the candle light and music!

Despite all the great holiday moments and adventures, we can’t say the holiday was perfect. And even though we started our new year in an amazing way, we also lost something at the same time. On the New Year’s Day morning we had to say goodbye to one of our team members, Casey, who left us peacefully while sleeping in her house. She was an amazing sled dog, small but always working hard, and yet always wagging her tail and ready to go again. We miss her very much; she left an empty place in our god yard and our hearts. 


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