Archive for the ‘Mushing’ Category

Mush for a Cure & Canoecopia

Friday, March 13th, 2009

Two fun events involving Bearskin staff members are happening this weekend:  Mush for a Cure here on the Gunflint Trail and Canoecopia in Madison, Wisconsin.


Our musher Erik Simula will be running his dog sled team in Mush for a Cure, a FUNdraiser for breast cancer research. Many events for this race will be held at nearvy Trail Center.   See the schedule of fun events on the Mush for a Cure web page.  A community spaghetti feed, a mass sourdough start (mushers jump out of their sleeping bags to begin the race), and outrageous pink costumes all add to the fun.  Last year Erik received the DORK award for biggest crash on the trail.  He hopes to pass that off to somebody else in this race.

Mush for a Cure started small three years ago and has grown dramatically. If you are one of of Erik’s many fans and would like to make a pledge for breast cancer research  to support Erik and his team, e-mail us at    Watch the Mush for the Cure website for updates on the race.  This event might be one that you would enjoy attending in future years.

You can also get a taste of the Gunflint Trail if you are anywhere near Madison, Wisconsin this weekend.  Canoecopia is billed as the biggest canoe show in the country.  Most of the exhibitors are outfitters and paddle sports retailers, but resorts that offer a canoe country experience also exhibit.  We sent Quinn and Andy off to the show in our big red Bearskin truck with boxes full of brochures, a giant Ye Old Camp Bearskin map copy, and one of Erik’s hand made birch bark canoes.  They are going to have great fun talking to folks about beautiful Bearskin.  If you happen to be one of the thousands of people visiting Canoecopia this weekend, stop by and say hi to Andy and Quinn.  You can get a snapshot view of what Canoecopia is like here:

Weekend update for January 23-25

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

The forecast for the upcoming weekend includes some colder temperatures, but with the potential for sunny days. The snow continues to be wonderful. Guests repeatedly tell us that the snow is the best it’s been in a decade and that the quality of the grooming has been excellent.

As I type this, I’m watching a group of women skiers from Cabin 3 glide by on the lake path. Frost is making the trees along the lake’s bank look like white cotton candy today, so right now the skiers appear to be posing for an idyllic Christmas card photo. (Where’s the camera, where’s the camera?  Never nearby when we need it!) To keep up on current trail conditions, check out our trail reports at



Menu for January 23

Chez Jude will be here again this weekend and the menu looks fabulous. See   for details. Reservations are available for both Friday and Saturday nights. There are favorable changes in the menu pricing. Also, the kids’ menu is now available online. ( )  Chef Judi Barsness is willing to make accommodations for guest’s special dining needs, as well as for children’s dietary idiosyncrasies. Just let us know ahead of time.

Dog sled trip heading towards Aspen Lake

Dog sled trip heading towards Aspen Lake

Erik Simula will be here this weekend for dog sled trips. While many spots are already full, there are still a few times available. Call our front desk for reservations. Watching Erik go down the lake this week has been breathtakingly beautiful. The snow is so sparkly that it almost looks as if he is mushing through glitter. The dogs seem to be moving quite fast and easily through the deep snow, much more so than they were earlier in the winter when the snow was wetter and less fluffy. It looks staged, it is so perfect.  More mushing info at

Learning how to put on a ski -- ski lessons

Learning how to put on a ski -- ski lessons

Quinn has some openings next week for ski lessons. Today he had a first time lesson with an 8 year old who was new to skiing. Quinn started on skis when he was 3 years old, so he doesn’t have much recollection of those “first times.”  He made a plan for a step by step lesson that would teach how to use the skis and the poles individually, and then put both new skills together afterwards. A few minutes into the lesson, his young student was already skiing. It’s amazing how quickly children pick up this skill.

Our massage therapist will also be available on Saturday, as well as next Wednesday. To make reservations for any of Bearskin’s activities, give our front desk a call at 1(800)338 4170.

Restaurant opens, mushing starts–what a week!

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

What a week it has been!  Somewhere in the past few days there was a holiday. Grandpa McCloughan came to visit, our own little tree was hurriedly put up, gifts were exchanged and when we weren’t all working, our family attempted to do the Christmas spirit thing.  A pre-Christmas sleigh ride and service at Okontoe helped provide some connection to the reason for the season.

But mostly our time for the past week was spent preparing for two huge new changes at Bearskin: The restaurant opened and dog sledding rides started.


Chez Jude, the harborside Grand Marais restaurant that is serving weekend meals at Bearskin this winter, opened for the first time on Friday, Saturday and Sunday this week.  As expected, the food was excellent. Barb and Dave Tuttle were among the first restaurant guests Friday night.  Dave declared the wild rice soup with shitake mushrooms served that night to be the best soup he’d ever tasted; we’d agree — it was all outstanding. Menus and future dates can be found at   Reservations can be made by calling Bearskin at (800 338-4170) or e-mailing  

A word of advice:  We do encourage you to think ahead and make reservations early.  Our restaurant space, as you can see from the photo, is lovely but small; we can’t accommodate very many people. Saturday and Sunday nights this week did fill up and many weekend nights in the future are already almost full.  Give us a call or e-mail us ahead of time if you want to be part of the Bearskin/Chez Jude experience.  The Gunflint Trail community has a shortage of available dining options in the winter so folks who have nearby cabins and homes are welcome to join us for dinner, with reservations.


We also began the mushing program at Bearskin this weekend.  Erik Simula and his team of dogs were very busy taking Bearskin guests and other Gunflint Trail visitors on dog sledding adventures.  Webcam viewers have been asking about the new “thing” they can see on the lake at the far edge of the webcam picture at  That is Erik’s tipi, his home base for the dogsled rides.  Our guests who took trips with Erik this weekend all reported that they enjoyed the musher as much as the mushing.  It is both an exciting and an informative experience.  Erik is here on Saturdays and Sundays all winter.  There are limited numbers of trips available each weekend, so if  these are memories you’d like to make, we suggest you call for a reservation early.