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3/4/05 – Cindy, Clare, Carl and I had a wonderful vacation. We stayed at the Silver Star Ski Resort in Vernon, BC. We were originally alerted to this ski area by local cross country skiing legend Phil Bowen. Several years ago, Phil was an Olympic prospect, training with the Subaru cross country ski team. Several high level cross country teams hold their early season training at Silver Star because they receive some of the best early season (mid-November) snow in North America. In addition to more than 100 kilometers of cross country trails, they have a fine downhill mountain that offers plenty of challenge for folks from the Midwest. We skied and snowboarded on the mountain every morning. Then Carl and I cross country skied in the afternoons. Between the exercise and the altitude, we were pretty tuckered out each evening. Thanks to Jeff Green for holding down the fort while we were away.

We returned to even more snow in northeastern Minnesota than when we left. We officially have 30" standing here at Sawbill, but there is significantly more in the "snow belt" closer to Lake Superior. Ample snow and consistently cool temperatures have teamed up for truly outstanding ski conditions right here at home. I filled in on the groomer for the Sugar Bush cross country ski trails this week. It was gratifying to see the perfect conditions, happy skiers, and abundant deer, moose, and wolf tracks on the trails.

The barred owl pictured below was perched right above the bird feeder behind our house. It was obviously scoping out the mice and squirrels that share the sunflower seeds with the birds. Being the middle of the day though, it kept dozing off while keeping its vigil.

A barred owl snoozes above Sawbill’s bird feeder. During the summer, you can hear this fellow hooting in the campground.

Today, when I returned to the store building after lunch, a beautiful, mature bald eagle was perched on the fireplace chimney. It was so obvious even the dogs spotted it. They didn’t bark or get upset, but watched with interest as it flew away. – Bill