Category archives for Outdoors

A Year in the Wilderness: Navigating Spring Ice – Week 30, Post 14

It feels like a switch was flipped signaling the end of winter. Two days after being pinned in our tent by snow and 30-mile-per-hour winds, we found ourselves lounging in the sun. We gazed down Knife Lake past Isle of the Pines and on to the West where generations of Native Americans, voyageurs, and now…

A Year in the Wilderness: Hauling our Canoe Through Blizzards – Week 29, Post 13

As the first stars appeared, we trudged the final mile to our campsite. After 25 miles and more than 11 hours on the move, we were ready for a hot meal and a warm sleeping bag. The day’s persistent snow had slowly accumulated until our canoe, which was riding on top of our 11-foot Black…

A Year in the Wilderness: Winter and Spring Play Tug of War – Week 27, Post 12

The dogs trotted down Knife Lake pulling us silently across the last patches of snow lining the southern shore. In the spring, dawn is usually the coolest time of the day and offers the best traveling conditions. In a couple hours the sun’s powerful rays would cause the dogs to pant, the snow and ice…

A Year in the Wilderness: Navigating Blizzards – Week 25, Post 11

On our 176th day in the wilderness, we found ourselves staring into a blank, white canvas. From our position in the middle of frozen Snowbank Lake, no land was visible. Traveling inside a ping pong ball, our senses were heightened. The wind against our faces and the angle of the snow blowing across our skis were…

A Year in the Wilderness: What Cold Can Teach Us – Week 23, Post 10

Snow swirled across the lake with every frigid gust as we loaded our toboggans in the shelter of our campsite nestled in a thick stand of red pines. The dogs barked and lunged with excitement as we prepared to leave our protected campsite and head north into the biting wind. “Let’s go dogs, let’s go,”…

A Year in the Wilderness: Followed by Wolves – Week 16, Post 9

There are wolves all around us; scientists estimate there are close to 500 wolf packs in Northern Minnesota. We encounter their tracks almost every day and their ghostly howls often pierce the frigid night air, but we rarely see them. Normally wolves run away when they sense the presence of humans and are gone before we…

A Year in the Wilderness: Feeling Winter’s First Arctic Blast – Week 14, Post 8

The cold stung my face when I unzipped the tent door and ventured out. The sled dogs remained curled in tight balls, with their furry tails draped over their noses to conserve heat. Only Acorn lifted her head to sniff the air and let out a short, playful howl to acknowledge my presence. The wilderness…

A Year in the Wilderness: The Sled Dogs Arrive – Week 13, Post #7

Our best Christmas presents arrived a few days late this year, and instead of being delivered on Santa’s sleigh, they arrived by dog team. On January 2, our 102nd day in the wilderness, we spotted a dog team gliding silently across Newfound Lake. Eight dogs lopped along in unison, pulling local musher and county commissioner,…

A Year in the Wilderness: Hauling Over Thin Ice – Week 10, Post #5

The cold stung my face as I opened the tent and stepped into the inky blackness. Stars dotted the sky and the ice sang as it grew, emitting low muffled, pulsing groans into the still night air. I grabbed the axe and headed down to the lake. My headlamp’s narrow beam illuminated wolf tracks on…

A Year in the Wilderness: Thanksgiving in the Boundary Waters – Week 9, Post #4

Our 65th day in the Boundary Waters gave us an excuse to celebrate on two accounts. We mused over breakfast that we will be in the Wilderness for 300 more days. More importantly, we were celebrating Thanksgiving in the Wilderness. We have been looking forward to Thanksgiving for several weeks and the stuff sack full…