Tag archives for wilderness

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…

A Backcountry Recovery in Yellowstone: “These Horses Saved My Life” (Part 5 of 5)

“Life is very, very short. It’s up to you to fill the book of life with beautiful and interesting chapters.” – Veteran Ray Knell The short days on an adventure are often the most memorable. The days when you relax, soak in the experience, and aren’t constantly pushing yourself. The days that you really get…

A Backcountry Recovery in Yellowstone: Tracked by a Curious Bison (Part 4 of 5)

Rain and cold were our companions as we rode our horses and mules north along the eastern edge of Yellowstone Lake, North America’s largest lake above 7,000 feet. Muddy trails made travel slow and spirits sink. We had a massive 30-mile day ahead of us. The wind intensified and chilled us to our bones. The temperature wasn’t freezing, but…

A Backcountry Recovery in Yellowstone: Camping in the Lower 48’s Most Remote Place (Part 3 of 5)

I woke up to the not-so distant howl of a wolf in the deepest backcountry location in the Lower 48. The half light of coming dawn allowed me to barely see our five horses and two mules standing at attention seeking the source of the deep howl. Another wolf joined the chorus, this one further…

A Backcountry Recovery in Yellowstone: Adventures on Horseback (Part 2 of 5)

See “A Backcountry Recovery” Photo Gallery Getting ready for a long horse expedition always takes longer than expected. The morning we headed into the Teton Wilderness to meet veteran Green Beret Ray Knell and travel with him through Yellowstone was no exception. A common misconception is that horse journeys are easier than bicycling or backpacking…

Monumental Decisions: What is Wilderness?

The long story of wilderness, national monuments, and how America’s public lands are going to change during the last year of the Obama Administration. In his famed 1862 essay “Walking,” Henry David Thoreau wrote: “In Wildness is the preservation of the World.” That sentiment has resonated through the American consciousness ever since. The legacy of…