Saturday, January 16, 2010

Snowshoe support

Lynn and I are in Grand Marais, MN. Shuttling our son's Jeep. He and a buddy, Dave, that came out from Rhode Island started out Wednesday for a 5 day point-to-point non-supported snowshoe hike in the BWCAW. Chris has his dog pulling a sled. We drove up today to the where Chris left his Jeep.

Our job is to shuttle his Jeep from the start to the take-out. Then I'll ski out to meet them tomorrow as they finish at a pre-determined spot we talked about that is about 4-5 miles from the end. My plan is to have a couple Guinness, some smoked Lake Superior Salmon and the cigars Chris gave me for Christmas ready to go with a campfire roaring .

So today, about 15 miles in off the pavement with 5 miles to go to get his Jeep , I pulled over to let a log truck pass. I went too far and dropped off the road and got stuck in the ditch with snow almost up the window on the passenger side. Should have taken a picture of it.... A guy in a diesel Dodge 4x4, 4-door PU came by and jerked me out. Glad I had a tow rope.

Chris took his dog, Cooper, an Alaskan Husky, to pull a small sled with their supplies and equipment. He's a pup, but growing fast.
The Route from Google Earth: The yellow line is the boundary between the USA and Canada. The hike is a little over 30 miles from McFarland Lake, to Flour Lake via the boundary lakes.

Another view. You can see the 2 "car drops". The one on right, east, is the start. The small red line is the route. Click to enlarge.
Google Earth Download
Scenes along Lake Superior coming up from Duluth Friday afternoon.
Looking out over Grand Marais just after sunset Friday.
Got both Jeeps back to Grand Marais and then I xc-skied for 2 hrs at Pincushion Saturday afternoon.
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Taken from the ski trail:
Yellow Birch vs. White Birch

Superior Hiking trail overlook of Grand Marais and Lake Superior. Hazy late evening.

After a great dinner of Nova Scotia Stew (tomato based, with mussels and salmon!) at the Gun Flint Tavern and a couple Lake Superior Mesabi Reds and Surly Cynics was ready for a relaxing evening with a good book...er.. computer!
Later, at the the same Tavern, some local talent entertained the patrons.
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Local store with some character. The Beaver House. Looks like the walleye lost part of it's tail!
Day 2
Found a good place for the guys to take out, a portage on the final lake Chris and Dave planned on crossing. I threw on the classic xc skis after securing my snowshoes on my back pack that contained 4 Guinness, a hunk of smoked Lake Superior King Salmon and cigars.
Grabbed a wind breaker, headlamp, extra gloves, stocking cap and batteries, just in case.
Some sled dogs out working on the 2nd lake (Duncan) I was crossing.
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Half way through the Stairway portage there was a small waterfall. The water had froze out front creating an enclosed waterfall.
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Got to the predetermined meeting spot, the entry of the Stairway Portage after an easy hour of skiing, 12:30.
Example of open water. Stream coming from the waterfall keeping a section of lake open.
I started throwing together a fire and the waiting game started. At 1:30 decided if the guys didn't show up by 2 I was going to get into the Guinness. At 1:40 I saw them making their way towards me.
Chris and Cooper pulling the sled up the first pitch at Stairway.
Dave working with Cooper to get him up the 2nd, last pitch.The guys had a little trouble the first day with a channel that wasn't frozen that they had to go down. Had to make their way through the brush. They had to make up a day's travel in effect. One night they were awoken at 4AM to wolves howling, too close for comfort they said.
I suspect the wolves had come across Cooper's trail and followed it to the campsite and tried calling him out to be an early morning snack. Cooper was in the tent and wasn't allowed to venture out.

Coming back out to the last lake before the take out. 4pm. Deep shade of blue.

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