Boundary Waters, Trip Reports, BWCA, Stories

Snowshoeing on Hard Water
by TreeBear

Trip Type: Snowshoeing
Entry Date: 12/07/2019
Entry Point: South Hegman Lake (EP 77)
Exit Point: Angleworm Lake (EP 20)  
Number of Days: 2
Group Size: 2
Trip Introduction:
As we began to learn last trip, canoeing has become a little difficult for the season, so my old guiding buddy and I decided to try our hand at snowshoeing. I had winter camped plenty and we had both snowshoed, but neither of us had done either in the BWCA before (though we had taken dozens of canoe trips, and one skiing day trip between us.) What a great introduction!
Day 1 of 2
Saturday, December 07, 2019~South Hegman Lake, North Hegman Lake, Trease Lake, Angleworm Lake, Whisky Jack Lake

We started our day before sun up. Ironically, though it had snowed the morning of our October and November trips, it was not snowing this day. It may have even been WARMER than our November CANOE trip. We dropped our gear at the South Hegman Entry Point and drove to the Angleworm lot to hike back. We opted to leave our car at our finishing point and take the road walk on the first morning. Once back at Hegman, with the first light starting to show, we ate breakfast and prepped our gear. This would be quite the adventure!

We took the hike into South Hegman as we began to figure out how exactly to strap the Jet Sleds to ourselves most comfortably. As we hiked up the lake we began to settle into a bit of a rhythm. Someone else had been in to ice fish since the last snow. There were also these goofy fox tracks that kept jumping up cliffs and climbing huge boulders. From the amount of climbing, I would guess it was a Grey Fox. He was very good at climbing. Check out his tracks on this boulder in North Hegman:

We stopped at the pictographs on N Hegman. It was so cool having them completely to ourselves, especially with the icicle framing around them today.

It was a quick walk through Trease before coming to the most difficult part of our day. The 400 rod North into Angleworm would eventually take us nearly two hours to complete on this day. It doesn't seem like many people come through this way, and the portage didn't look like it had seen maintenance in a decade. Down trees all over the trail, brush encroaching from every side, and deep snow made for quite the workout. Sled tip overs and snag ups didn't help.

We were both exhausted by the time we finally reached Angleworm for lunch. We set up camp on the ice about half way up the lake just a little North and East from the old firetower. We ditched the gear there. We knew we had to stay active and use all of our daylight, so we went on a hike up to Whiskey Jack. The hills were tough in the snow, but it was cool to get a ways back in there. Scenery was well worth it as well. Sunset came a little after 4:00, and we ended up hiking back down Angleworm in the dark to reach camp and a warm dinner. What a day!