Category archives for Outdoors

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…

A Year in the Wilderness: Howling Wolves Remind Us We Are Only Visitors – Week 7, Post #3

The lake’s glassy surface beckoned us, so after setting up our camp we slid the canoe back in the water for a quick paddle as the sun set. We pulled our canoe up on shore and were about to continue our camp chores when a pack of wolves broke the silence with a chorus of…

A Year in the Wilderness: Feeling the Pull of the Basswood River – Week 6, Post #2

The Basswood River in Minnesota’s Boundary Water Canoe Area spills over many ledges and squeezes through rock walls where it empties out of Basswood Lake. There is a mile-long portage that bypasses the first mile and a half of river, where most of these rapids lie. Gazing up the river this morning from our campsite…

A Year in the Wilderness: Week 4, Post #1

Yesterday morning I poked my head out of the tent and found a thin, white blanket of snow. It was the first snowfall of the season in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Northern Minnesota– another milestone in the slow and steady transition between fall and winter. My wife, Amy Freeman, and I have…

Exploring Lake Superior’s Spectacular Ice Caves

Millions of years ago, layers of sand were deposited by rivers, which turned into sandstone. Glaciers later transformed the sandstone into several miles of dramatic cliffs and caves along Lake Superior’s southern shore. Superior’s wind, waves, and ice continue to sculpt the sandstone caves of the Apostle Island National Lakeshore in Wisconsin. In the summer,…

Paddle to DC: Pushed to Exhaustion on the Hudson River

Long journeys tend to have a few moments that stand out. Often they are the most miserable points. The points when the thoughts of a warm bed and calling it quits start creeping into the back of your head. Day 74 proved to be one of those moments for Amy and me as we work…