Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Winter Camping, Clearwater Lake
by UncleMoose

Trip Type: Dog Sledding
Entry Date: 02/10/2011
Entry & Exit Point: Clearwater Lake (EP 62)
Number of Days: 4
Group Size: 4
Day 2 of 4

Day 2 - Friday, February 11

We probably stayed up a little too late gabbing last night, because Mike and the rest of the AC staff was already in the lodge preparing breakfast by the time we got ourselves awake. A huge 'thank you' to Mike, Mike's wife Nicole, Amy and Rachel for the amazing breakfast!

After breakfast we loaded up and headed across the Gunflint Trail to the Clearwater Lake entry point. Mike, Nicole and Rachel arrived shortly after with the sled and dogs. For the trip in, Mike took six dogs with the sled, and both Dan and Brian took one dog each for skijoring. I was on photo duty along with Dave, so the two of us traded off skiing and riding in the sled. The wind was up a little, making this first day a bit nippy, and later in the day we got a small amount of snow. Except for a few patches, slush was generally not a big problem on this trip, unlike last month's trip over on Shell Lake along the Echo Trail.

By afternoon we all reached our destination at the far east end of Clearwater Lake. But when slush began to invade the first ice based spot where we chose to set up camp, we were compelled to tear down the tent and move across the bay to a land based spot near the portage into Caribou Lake. This location turned out to be preferable in other ways, as it was also better sheltered from the wind. Shortly after reaching our second camp location, Mike turned the dogs and sled around and returned to the entry point. He and the dogs would return on Sunday to help us move gear back out.

The rest of the afternoon we finished setting up camp and gathered wood. In the evening Dave cooked up his amazing homemade stew and we ate like kings. It was a cold night, but temperatures were supposed to gradually increase throughout the rest of the weekend, making for pleasant conditions.

Click on any image for a higher resolution version.

Nicole and Mike Nelson unload the dogsled at the Clearwater Lake landing.

Nicole prepares the dogsled as Titus comes to help.

Rachel sorts the harnesses while giving Titus some much needed attention.

Titus tells Nicole he's ready to go.

Rachel gets the team going while Dave prepares to photograph the sled perspective.

Mike Nelson gets up to speed with the dog team.

The dogs fly around a point.

Dogs in stride.

The lead team is impatient to keep things moving.

Dan gets a tow from Tillman.

Dog gives Brian a boost.

Brian and dog skijor down Clearwater Lake.

Mike and team cruise down Clearwater Lake.

Mike catches some air in the sled as he crosses a snowbank. Brian and Dan look on.

Dan and Brian pause before continuing down Clearwater Lake with their dogs.

View from sled while heading down Clearwater Lake.

View from sled while heading down Clearwater Lake.

View from sled as we near the east end of Clearwater Lake.

Dan and Brian arrive at east end of Clearwater Lake.

Dan and Tillman.

Mike and team at east end of Clearwater Lake.