Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

First Winter Trip Completed
by pastorjsackett

Trip Type: Snowshoeing
Entry Date: 02/08/2017
Entry & Exit Point: Seagull Lake Only (EP 54A)
Number of Days: 4
Group Size: 3
Day 2 of 4
Thursday, February 09, 2017

On Thursday morning at 7 a.m. we met for a quick breakfast, loaded up our gear in sleds and headed to the lakeshore. Once our skis were on, and Bill had our put on our harnesses. I was immediately amazed at how HEAVY my sled was. I could hardly move, and I'm not in great shape but I do work out little bit! I did not expect it to be quite this hard. That fresh ten inches of powder made the ski even harder! With Bill breaking the snow and creating a trail for us, the three partners were off. We headed off across Seagull with a temp of -9 and the wind in our faces. The sun was shining and we were working hard! Bill and Hannah had face masks but I only had my Buff and that was not working really well. With a break now and then, we moved across the lake and into the BWCA (still on Seagull). After two hours we arrived at a really nice campsite in a small cove on Miles Island. We shoveled out our campsite, put up the Snowtrekker for Hannah and me then the Seek Outside for Bill. After that we commenced a long process of gathering, cutting and splitting wood. I had no idea how long it would take to get all the wood cut but it turned out that we really needed a lot. I guess I did know this going in but it was still a lot of work. One thing I learned: in the summer the wood you use does not matter much but in the winter it really does matter. I grabbed a bunch of pine while Bill kept bringing back cedar. His wood, when split, burned much better than the pine. After making camp, we headed down to the water to fish for lakers in Bill's Clam pop-up ice house. Hannah took to fishing more than I ever thought she would (I realized that I had never taken her as I should have, while taking her brother all the time--I regret that, and already invited her to fish with me this spring). Bill suddenly hooked on to a nice, 24 inch laker. It went out on the ice for dinner. At dark we returned to the Snowtrekker for a nice meal--wow did that tent get cold fast! After we ate, we settled in to our tent. I read my book while the my partners played cribbage. It was almost time to turn in and before repairing to his Seek Outside, Bill said, "You have two choices now: either let your fire go out and sleep in a cold tent or plan on getting up EVERY HOUR to keep the fire going."

Every hour? Did I hear that right? Yep. Later, Bill headed out to his tent and we got in our bags. It got cold very fast. The outside temp was still below zero and the night was about to get long.

I don't think the fire lasted even an hour. I was up quick to fill the stove (here's where I learned that cedar out performs pine) and then just about every hour as predicted I was up again, re-filling the stove and (often) re-starting the fire. Hannah was pretty cold all night. I was concerned for her and did not want her to be uncomfortable. Hour after hour I got back up, sometimes by my cell alarm and other times by the cold.