Think back to some of your most fond Christmas memories. Can you recall what you got for presents? It’s tough. But if asked to recall who you spent Christmas with and the fun activities you did together, well that’s usually a little easier. The best Christmas memories might include familiar flavors like that honey glazed ham your mom makes every year and familiar sounds like that song your brother sings around the soft light of the Christmas tree. Some of the best Christmas memories come from unplugging, disconnecting, and recharging. In the border waters, that’s the easy part.
Today, families are looking for more meaningful ways to connect beyond the harsh, cold electronic screens that occupy most of our precious time. Christmas is a great time to press pause, lift your head up from your phone, and take in the splendor of the beauty that surrounds you and the presence of the people you hold closest to your heart.
Now, we might be biased, but we think one of the best places to spend Christmas is up north. Can we let you in on a little secret? We’ve figured out a recipe to slow down time. Or at least our perception of it. And we’re sharing that recipe with you.
Step 1: Plan your trip and holiday meals. If food is an important part of your family’s tradition, plan to pack and bring along the ingredients you need to make those heirloom dishes. Check with your resort or lodge prior to booking to be sure they have the right equipment to prepare and cook your meals, too. Preparation will take the headache and stress out of cooking when you are there. If you’re planning to cook up your fresh catch of fish from your ice fishing venture, plan a backup meal in case the big one gets away.
Step 2: Make a list of activities for everyone in your party. If moving past gifts and onto more meaningful experiences is on your agenda, here are a few activities to include:
Step 3: Unplug. Turn off your phone and enjoy your surroundings and present company. Sometimes, the greatest gift you can give is your undivided attention. Plus, that is how memories are made. It’s the holiday season and it’s a time to reflect, honor, and cherish the gifts you’ve been given.
Fresh powder means something exciting up north: it’s sled time. As the first snowflakes touch the ground and start to accumulate, snowmobile covers are lifted, and fuel or gear runs eat up entire afternoons. After you’ve tuned up your sled, checked for fuel, and cleared away the dust, you’ll be anxious to hit the trails. When it’s time to dig out your snow pants, puffy winter coat, and thermal undergarments, we’ve got some tips to keep you safe, informed, and excited about hitting the trails.
Excited to get out and ride? With so many trails to choose from, the hardest part of your trip might be choosing which trail to ride first. Here is a map to help you plan your route.
Remember to have fun and be safe!
Let’s set the mood:
You’re on vacation at Rainy Lake with your family or loved ones, and the dinner table has just been cleared. The sun set an hour ago and the fire has kept everyone warm since the night chill set in. The stars twinkle and the moon seems to be hiding just on the edge of the horizon. Everyone sits back in their seats, drifting in and out of the inevitable sleep that is around the corner.
The story teller in the family continues to brag about the fish she caught in the lake earlier that afternoon and how just when she had it within reach and lifted her rod, the line snapped and the record-breaking fish sank back down into the green-blue water and twisted away, never to be seen again. She continues to talk about the murky water and points to the window before gasping and exclaiming, “It was just like that – green and blue water that swallowed up my fish!” Everyone races to the window and looks up to the skies, ablaze with colors and light. It’s the aurora borealis like you’ve never seen it before.
What Causes the Aurora Borealis?
Aurora borealis, or more commonly known as the Northern Lights, look like bright flowing ribbons in the sky. When electrically charged particles from the sun collide in the earth’s atmosphere, they create photons which display as ribbons of light across the night sky. While they can be seen year-round, the winter months bring prolonged darkness (especially farther north) and give everyone more time to catch a glimpse of their beauty at night.
What You Seek, You Might Find
Cooler winter months often bring silver-grey clouds, allowing for fewer chances to see the clear night sky. But with less light pollution from surrounding cities, your chances of spotting the Northern Lights on a clear night are increased. It’s all about timing.
How to Plan for the Northern Lights
Step 1: If the forecast calls for a clear night with little to no cloud coverage, you’re halfway there. September through March is prime time for Northern Lights viewing but weather doesn’t always allow it. So check the local weather app and proceed to step 2, if the sky is in the clear.
Step 2: Check any of the following apps for viewing predictions. Many factors beyond weather influence your chance at seeing the Northern Lights, including geomagnetic activity, location of the moon, and your exact location. To help you navigate your plan of action, there are apps that predict Northern Light activity and tell you when and where to go for your best chance at seeing the phenomenon. Here are a few popular apps available for iOS and Android:
Need help planning your trip up north? We can help you find accommodations and activities to fill your day with before you settle in and wait for the sky to set ablaze.