Photos: Coping with winter in the Boundary Waters


Moving to Seagull Lake
1 Nov. 17: "In the morning we packed camp and moved east into Seagull Lake. Amy and I had not visited this area since the Cavity Lake Fire had burned the area in 2006. It is a beautiful, rugged, haunting landscape full of exposed rock and standing dead trees." 
''The lake steamed as it cooled.''
2 Nov. 29: "This morning ice rimmed the shore of the bay behind our campsite. The lake steamed as it cooled in the 8 degree morning air. The silence was broken by a gentle tingling sound, reverberating from the line where ice meets open water." 
''By 4 p.m., the rain turned to snow.''
3 Dec. 1: "It started raining around 10 a.m. and by 4 p.m., the rain turned to snow. As we set up camp, giant flakes floated down all around us. It is fun to think that this new blanket of snow will hopefully cover the ground all winter and be the last snow to melt in the spring." 
''It felt good to walk along on firm ice.''
4 Dec. 4: "Most of Seed Lake and the small lakes leading to Melon were frozen enough to walk on the ice along the edge. It felt good to walk along on firm ice." 
''If we were going to swim in December...''
5 Dec. 10: "So far we have gone swimming in September, October, and November. If we were going to swim in December, today seemed like a good day to do it. I chopped a big hole in the ice out in front of our campsite, stoked the wood stove in our tent, stripped down to my boxers and #darntoughsocks and ran down to the ice hole." 
''Amy headed to the ice hole to gather water.''
6 Dec. 7: "As the sun set, Amy headed to the ice hole to gather water for dinner and our morning coffee while I finished splitting the last of the wood. After our chores, we both returned to the edge of the ice to watch the sun paint the sky yellow, then red, and purple." 
''We carefully climbed onto the solid ice.''
7 Dec. 16: "When we reached the ice, we paddled as hard as we could and rammed the bow of the canoe up onto the ice, breaking off several large chunks. We reversed and repeated the process. This time the bow was firmly perched on solid ice. We carefully climbed onto the solid ice and hauled the canoe out of the water. The temperature hovered around freezing and the wet snow clung to the bottom of our canoe. We lunged into our harnesses but we couldn't get the canoe to budge." 
''We made luminaries of ice.''
8 Dec. 22: "To celebrate the longer days ahead we made luminaries of ice to decorate our campsite. We spent several hours filling special balloons with water and placed them in the snow to freeze overnight." 
''Their stockings were hung by the chimney...''
9 Dec. 24: "Their stockings were hung by the chimney with care ... Do you think Santa will find them in the Wilderness?" 
''I think we have the best decorated tent...''
10 Dec. 24: "I don't mean to be presumptuous, but I think we have the best decorated tent in the Boundary Waters this holiday season! ... The lakes are finally frozen and the land is covered in snow. In a few days some friends will haul out our canoe and paddling gear and haul in our toboggans, skis, and remaining winter equipment. What a wonderful Christmas present!" 
Sunset across Basswood Lake
11 Jan. 5: "'Joys come from simple and natural things: mists over meadows, sunlight on leaves, the path of the moon over water.' - Sigurd Olson. I would like to add the crimson sunset that lit the western horizon this evening as we snowshoed across Basswood Lake to Sig's list of simple things to be enjoyed." 
'Barking and howling signaled they were excited.'
12 Jan. 7: "The sun came out this morning and after breakfast we decided to go out skijoring. The dogs were curled up in their beds, watching our every move, as we did our morning chores and prepared to go skijoring. When we grabbed the harnesses they knew it was time to pull. Barking and howling signaled they were as excited as we were to head out." 
'''We packed up camp this morning.''
13 Jan. 6: "We packed up camp this morning and headed west. It was our second time moving camp with our toboggans and sled dogs. After 100 days of traveling by canoe we had developed a pretty good routine. We still have a ways to go before all our systems are smoothed and traveling by toboggan becomes an innate activity, but today went really well. We were able to pack up camp much quicker and the dogs did really well pulling the toboggans." 
''''The mercury hovered at -24 F... this morning.'
14 Jan. 10: "The mercury hovered at -24 F when I stepped out of the tent this morning. It was a crisp, clear, calm morning. The dogs were all curled up on their sleeping pads and the Wilderness was silent except for the cold snow, which squeaked with every step. The sun's glow on the eastern horizon illuminated the lake in a beautiful blue light. The cold air stung my face for the first time this winter as I scooped up an armload of ash, which we cut and split yesterday." 
''The sky was blanketed in stars last night.''
15 Jan. 11: "The sky was blanketed in stars last night and the temperature dropped to 26 below. There is something about the cold that makes the stars shimmer and dance. Totally alone in the Wilderness, we reveled in their beauty, torn between the warmth of our tent and the spectacle unfolding overhead. If being surrounded by millions of acres of roadless Wilderness makes you feel small, looking up on a clear, cold, moonless night from our camp on a frozen Wilderness lake makes you feel infinitesimal."