Welcoming Winter in the Wilderness

We decorated our tent with solar powered lights for the holidays!

We decorated our tent with solar powered lights for the holidays!

Welcome back from winter break. Happy New Year too! Did you know that Dave and I have spent 100 days in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness so far? New Year’s Eve was our hundredth day. I’ll give you a little update on what we’ve been doing and seeing out here over the past couple of weeks.

Dave and I finally feel like it is winter out here. We have experienced quite a few daily temperatures in the single digits (Fahrenheit). We experienced our first below-zero night recently too. The ice on Newfound Lake is four to five inches thick.

What is the weather like where you live? How is is it similar or different from the weather where Dave and I are?

Share your answer!

It was snowing when we changed campsites using our canoe as a sled shortly after Christmas.

It was snowing when we changed campsites using our canoe as a sled shortly after Christmas.

We moved our camp on the day after Christmas. The move wasn’t very far. We traveled about one mile between campsites. We enjoyed moving, especially after sitting still for so long. We are getting used to our new surroundings. We still had our canoe with us, so we loaded it and hauled it across the ice in order to move.

Several days later, we hauled our canoe to the edge of the Wilderness. We had it loaded with our paddles, life jackets and a few other light things. As we began pulling, we realized that both of us didn’t need to be harnessed up. The canoe barely left a track in the snow behind us. I pulled the canoe while Dave walked next to me and took some pictures. We pulled the canoe over a very small portage from Newfound Lake to Moose Lake. Then we saw a group of nine people. They looked like a train, walking in a line. Each person was hauling a toboggan. This group most likely came in from the nearby Boy Scout base. As we walked farther, we saw another group of nine people.

We walked down Newfound Lake admiring the sunset.

We walked down Newfound Lake admiring the sunset.

It looks like we will not be alone in the wilderness for the rest of the winter. The ice on most of the lakes is safe to travel on and other groups are traveling out here. People get around with snowshoes, skis and dogsleds in the Boundary Waters in the wintertime. We walked on a well-used trail across Moose Lake. I wonder how many pairs of feet have walked across this trail now.

How would you feel if you were alone for several weeks and then suddenly saw people?

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The sky was overcast and gray. An east wind blew across the lake. The temperature never did get as warm as the weather forecast said. We crossed several sets of wolf and snowshoe hare tracks. As we rounded a point, we could see a smaller group of people. Several friends and my dad walked out on the ice with our toboggans and other winter gear.

We were so happy to see our friends and my dad. My dad would be joining us for a couple of days. We hugged everyone and chatted for a while. When it was time for our friends to go, we gave them the canoe and they gave us the toboggans. They went back to the Moose Lake landing. Our canoe is now out of the wilderness and will be stored until we need it again in the spring.

Along with the toboggans came a few presents, cookies, treats, fresh fruit and a delicious salad. We also received some of our important winter gear like our anoraks, skis and ski boots. Dave and I were really excited to get all of these things. This will allow us to travel on the ice and snow much more easily now.

We went for our first ski the next day. We strapped the skis on and cruised across the lake. The cross-country skiing conditions are ideal here right now. There are just a couple of inches of fluffy snow on top of the ice. It will take us a couple of weeks to get back into shape, but we are so happy to be able to ski across the lakes now. We glided along, traveling the distance to Horseshoe Island in half the time it would take to walk there. We saw more animal tracks: fox and wolf. The sky was blue and the sun was out.

Do you have a favorite winter activity? What is it?

Share your answer!

One other big change will happen soon. The musher, Frank, will bring in sled dogs soon. We are very excited to begin getting to know (and traveling with) Acorn, Ace and Tank. We will let you know when the sled dogs arrive!

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One Comment

  1. bob baker
    Posted January 17, 2016 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Hi Folks! I wish i was there camping with you guys-You must consider camping at isle royale for an extended period of time! You should build a snow cave and stay in it!!
    Best Regards,
    Bob Baker
    Green Valley,AZ

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