It was -12 F when we took off and the dogs clipped right along on the hard-packed trail. We sped across the Four Mile Portage, which connects Fall Lake to Basswood Lake. Once we reached Hoist Bay on Basswood Lake we left the main trail. Slowly the trail grew fainter and harder to follow. After lunch there was no trail and we sliced across the unbroken expanse of Pipestone Bay. The temperature never rose above 7 degrees, but it was calm. Our skis rhythmically cut through ankle deep snow, glistening in the sun. The conditions were perfect for traveling and it felt wonderful to be on the move.
As the sun set we bedded down the dogs and set up our tent. A nearby ash swamp provided the warmth that now radiates from our stove as the temperature drops. We found 10 inches of clear ice when we chopped our water hole. We have everything we need here, but in the morning we will move on, anxious to see what adventures lie over the next portage.
As it was getting dark I strapped on snowshoes and followed fresh wolf tracks down the creek we will take in the morning. The creek was covered in wolf, otter, and fox tracks. We are just visitors here; this is their home. Their tracks help us understand what the inhabitants of the Wilderness are up to. All of the animals seemed interested in the beaver lodge in the middle of the creek and went out of their way to investigate it.
Please help us protect the Boundary Waters from copper mines in a sulfide ore body that are being proposed on the edge of our nation’s most popular Wilderness. Please sign the petition at http://ift.tt/1x2erSX!