Skip to main content

Booking it Across the Bay

George shares his weekend away in Wisconsin participating in a race on Lake Superior!

George shares his weekend away in Wisconsin participating in a race on Lake Superior!

One of the most important things about Carleton College is its location and outdoor access. There aren’t many schools that have a similar balance of access to nature and community, while still being academically rigorous schools. Luckily for me, Carleton’s location in Southeast Minnesota means you can go to many different environments and beautiful areas in just a few hours.

Another one of my favorite things about Carleton is CANOE Club, also known as the Carleton Association of Nature and Outdoor Enthusiasts. CANOE has become one of the most important clubs to me at Carleton, and I’ve participated in several trips and excursions with them (some of which are detailed in THIS blog post!) As a part of the CANOE board, I get to decide what sort of trips go out each weekend and get the pleasure of leading some of them.

book across the bay
Book across the Bay a few years ago!

One trip that I knew I wanted to go on, even before I committed to Carleton, was Book Across the Bay. Book across the bay (usually) is a 10-kilometer trail over Lake Superior you can run, ski, or walk on. The course has stops every kilometer with hot chocolate, cookies, and more. Theres Unfortunately, due to the extremely warm winter we have been having, the Lake wasn’t totally frozen over. The team over at Book Across the Bay made a last-minute adjustment, and the course ended up being partially trail, partially ice, about 6 kilometers long. I was a bit disappointed at first that my first time at BAtB was going to be a slightly shorter and less cool trail, but I knew that It was still going to be a blast.

Day of BATB

The day of Book Across the Bay was pretty hectic. Coordinating getting 60+ people all together onto the buses is not easy work! I had to wake up early on Saturday morning to make sure that we could get everyone together on the trip. Once we all got together, it was a casual four-hour drive to Ashland, Wisconsin, complete with several pit stops for snacks at the gas station.

As soon as we got to Lake Superior, I was instantly blown away by the size. It was my first time ever being to the Great Lakes, and ever being in front of such a massive body of water that wasn’t an ocean. Despite the lake not being frozen over enough to have the entire race on it, there was still plenty of frozen ice for my friends and me to play around on.

friends smiling for the camera
My friends and I cheesing for the photo! We are in the middle of the lake, standing on some rocks.
two people jumping in the sunset
My friend Marcus and I jumping for joy 😀

The Race

As stated before, the race was a bit different this year than normal. It was still an absolute blast though! We were running around in the darkness (did I mention the entire race is at night?) following a trail lit by candles encased in ice. It was really a surreal experience to be a part of a crowd of literally thousands, running around on a frozen lake. There was even a MASSIVE bonfire on the ice. I can’t really understand how it didn’t melt through more of the ice, as it was burning for a while!

bonfire at book across the bay
Bonfire at Book Across the Bay!

After me and my friends were all tired from the race, we went into the small quiet town of Ashland, Wisconsin, and thought we would stop for some Mexican food. Being a bit pretentious about East Coast food – especially Mexican food – I wasn’t expecting much. Surprisingly though, this small town of only about 8000 had some of the absolute BEST Mexican food I had ever had.

George holding a huge burrito
Me posing with my huge burrito COVERED in cheese!

After the long day, we all drove back in our buses to a venue, where all ~60 of us crashed into our sleeping bags. We woke up bright and early the next day and drove back to Carleton, just in time to have a busy Sunday filled with homework.

Even though my first time on Book Across the Bay was a bit different than usual, with the unfortunate weather, it was still an awesome weekend of bonding with my friends. If any of you are reading this and plan to go on the trip – know I will be there next year too!

George (he/him) is a freshman interested in GeologyEnvironmental Studies, and Classics, from New York City. He loves listening to music (currently Big Thief, Belle and Sebastian, and A$AP Rocky), as well as playing the jazz flute and guitar. At Carleton, he’s on the board for Carleton Association of Nature and Outdoor Enthusiasts (CANOE) and hosts a radio show with KRLX. You may see him climbing in the bouldering cave, playing ultimate frisbee for Karls, or thrifting in Northfield. Meet the Other Bloggers!