Day 333: Wilderness White Pines

Solitude and white pine sentinels towering high above their younger neighbors permeate the small lakes and streams south of Lac La Croix.

In 1863 and 1864 significant forest fires burned in the wilderness south of Lac La Croix and more large fires burned through the area in 1894. Farther east, around Basswood Lake, there was significant logging activity in the late 1800s and first half of the 1900s, but the fires that burned in this area made it less desirable during the height of the logging era.

We figure many of the massive white pines that dot the portage trails and ridge tops survived the fires and now tower high above the younger forest. Slowly running our fingers over the course ridges of thick bark protecting these ancient trees, we marvel at their resilience. Standing tall for more than a century of fires, blizzards, ice storms, lightning, wind and drought– what magnificent beings.

Nestled at the base of a giant, its craggy bark pressed against my back, wrapped in the musty smell of dry needles and duff, listening to wind washing over the branches high above, this is the singing Wilderness that Sigurd Olson worked tirelessly to protect.

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