It wasn’t for lack of trying. It just felt particularly difficult this year. Type two fun still has to feel worth it. Sometimes being temporarily miserable doesn’t feel rewarding or satisfying. Not much camping occurred on this winter trip.
Will got wet from below.
We got wet from above.
I got an insufferable cough.
Ice was infuriating.
Fire was uncooperative.
The cabin was critical.
Last year the ice on the Kawishiwi gave us enough scares so this year we opted to start on Moose River which is tiny and slow. We figured it would have much more stable ice and even if it broke couldn’t be deep enough to cause worry.
Just two hours later Will broke through. Suddenly he was up to his chest. Not cool river, not cool.
It wasn’t life threatening, just super un-fun. Doesn’t even feel like a fun story now. It makes me tired simply writing it.
Not much seems to test my fitness the way these trips do. If it’s not grand portage, or that damn igloo, this time it was hauling dead trees and sawing until my arms and back were past burning.
The day passed huddled around our makeshift campsite with Will upset over his wet, dead phone and his waterlogged boots that then threatened to melt next to the fire.
In the end we snuggled down for a pretty decent warm and windless night.
The next day we safely made it back to the cabin to finish drying Will’s boots and reboot our spirits.
We tried camping again. This time we opted for what was surely a safe bet, Ojibway Lake. Snowmobiles even zipped by on the west public access end. We set out for the isolated east end on a picturesque snow-globe like day.
Just past a narrows we saw open water, a fault line in the snow, and a quick check found us standing on just two inches of ice. RETREAT!
We found a suitable little nook to set up camp in.
And then it started raining. Raining. In January. In Ely Minnesota. We got wet. Not cool sky. Not cool.
A good fire will usually steam the wet right off us. But the fire was whipping around in the wind too much to be useful. When the rain turned into fat clumps of snowflakes it was sticking to us faster than we could steam it off.
So we ate a quick sad dinner and scrambled into our tent.
This is when the little cold I had been holding at bay turned into an unstoppable, insufferable cough. My cough and the wind flapping the tent made for a long night.
We woke up to icy clothes and overflow (slush) in our fire and cooking area. We felt thwarted. Two single nights in the woods. We tried. We were done. Back to the cabin.