Believe it or not, there are yurting adventures to be had in the Midwest! In our case, it just took a six hour drive – a reasonable distance for a three day weekend. After the enormous success of our first yurt trip in southern Colorado, I surprised Molly by booking two nights at the Keewaydin Lake Yurt in Craig Lake State Park, MI for a Christmas present. This well-appointed yurt required a 4.5 mile cross country ski or snowshoe in and featured a nice deck overlooking Keewaydin Lake as well as some decent cross country skiing on the area’s logging roads.
Since wood-burning stoves and toddlers do not mix, we arranged childcare for our son, Crosby with his grandparents. After leaving him with my parents in Chicago on Thursday, we headed north to the family lake house in southern Wisconsin to put a few miles behind us and to pick up some gear we had stored there.
We arrived at the Van Riper State Park ranger station at around 3:00pm to check in and grab the yurt key. The ranger was not nearly as helpful as most we have encountered and basically said “Yeah, just go down the road until you see a sign for the yurt”, so we took the key, headed to the trail head, and started skiing. Well, shit. Not far into the journey, there was a major split in the trail/road with absolutely no indication of which way the yurt was located. We picked the more heavily-traveled trail, and of course, this turned out to be the wrong one. Luckily, some loggers or trail groomers (still not sure who they were) happened upon us pretty quickly and informed us of our error. We were on a snowmobile trail which, in the winter, is more heavily used than the park road and made it appear to be the correct path. We quickly reversed course and pushed on into the fading light.
The rest of the trip was, thankfully, much less stressful. Skiing in took about two hours and we arrived just before dusk with enough time to start a fire, unpack, and start cooking before dark. We had purchased some candles on the way up and found some already at the yurt which proved to be sufficient light for cooking and reading. The next day we took advantage of some morning sun and explored a few of the area logging roads. The snow was great and the trails untouched. Sunday came too early as always and we packed up reluctantly and hit the trail, already planning a four day yurting weekend for next year.