We crossed two lakes (Ojibway and Triangle in the Superior National Forest). Then did a gnarly portage to the Kawishiwi river in the BWCA.
The portage took an hour mostly because Will insisted on using his new skis while pulling the pulk (aka sled). There was much crashing on the many hills and turns.
Once on the river we had planned on going northeast towards Lake One. That’s what we had told everybody. Not an hour later we ended up turning around. Falling through the ice was (is) one of my biggest fears. We had discussed at length our safety plan for multiple scenarios. Which is one of the reasons Will walked in front.
Things had been going splendidly. So my brain was slow to process why Will was lying down in the snow. Will had looked down to see his feet in water and the dark river flowing around them. The tips of his skis were just hanging on to the edge of the hole. He gently fell towards the shore, unclipped from the pulk and rolled onto thicker ice. Meanwhile my brain was slowly comprehending what had happened. By the time I was a sputtering mess of anxiety and fear Will was feeling quite smug and applauding his cat-like reflexes.
After reevaluating the map, we decided to turn around and head southwest on the river. The portages around open water continued to make my heart pound and churn my stomach.
That beautiful falling snow quickly got annoying. It was just warm enough that it would melt on our jackets getting us wet. I suppose when you go winter camping you should not be surprised if it snows on you. Remarkably it had never snowed on our past winter trips. Falling snow teaches even better camp mindfulness. Like closing up everything immediately otherwise you turn around and find your bag, or tent, or mitten is full of snow.
One of the joys of camping is how it simplifies life. No deciding on outfits. I wore the same clothes the whole time. No mirrors. Do I have a zit or a booger stuck to my face, who knows? No errands, or emails, and few decisions to be made. Can’t agonize over choices that don’t exist. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to do. Even a relaxed winter camping trip keeps you busy.
To make camp we:
- Packed down tent pad by walking over the snow many times.
- Shoveled out living space for cooking, fire, wood processing, etc.
- Added/changed layers for in camp.
- Chopped a water hole away from camp site.
- Found down wood.
- Sawed and split wood.
- Set up tent.
- Set up kitchen (stove, food, fuel in one area).
- Made the fire.
- Boiled water.
- Cooked food. Kept tending to fire.
- Made hot drinks. Kept tending to fire.
- Filled bottles with hot water to go in sleeping bags.
- Put everything in its place so if it snows at night we’d be able to find everything.
In the morning:
- Started fire
- 1st Breakfast.
- Re-opened water hole and get water.
- Boiled water for the day.
- 2nd breakfast and coffee.
- Pooped and burned TP
If moving sites: Burned all the wood, scattered ashes in the woods (leave no trace). Took down tent. Packed up the stove and kitchen. Packed up pulks. De-layer for more walking.
So on day three it sounded really nice just to stay put.
Next in the winter camping storyline: Bad Igloo, Good Cabin..