February 20, 2014:
|Wool, wool & more wool|
sleeve wool shirt with a base layer. Always prepared for lunch or a moments rest I have extra layers on standby secured under the straps of my toboggan. My jackets, hats and gloves come on and off many times through out the day so I keep them easily accessible to regulate an ideal body temperature. The wind can be unforgiving with improper clothing so I also use a very light weight shell jacket that virtually cuts the wind completely. It's all part of the routine out here, never neglect the smallest detail with gear, body and mind, it can go from good to bad like water goes from a liquid to a solid at -50.
|Entering Red Rock Lake|
The day moved along briskly as we hiked 4 miles west, maneuvering over our first portage from Lake Saganaga to Red Rock Lake. A "portage" connects one lake to the next, usually by stream, river or simply a path through the woods. Some are 50 yards, others could be a mile or more and there's often the danger of open waters or thin ice in the Winter. These portions of our trek can be time consuming and difficult to navigate. With the lack of heavy winds in the forest we must break trail through snow twice as deep and traverse slopes of steep elevation. We leave our gear behind so we may navigate our way, pack the snow and clear debris. Having to walk back to retrieve our sleds makes each portage 3x the distance and energy expended, but there's a sense of wonder in the woods, so I find these passages to be visually stimulating and exciting. This particular portage was minor compared to some we will encounter, with open waters flowing into Saganaga we had to bushwhack through only a small stand of trees to get to Red Rock. An Otter hole greeted us just on the other side with tracks and marks of his belly glides coming and going. I was hoping to see Mr. Otter pop out onto the ice while we stood there admiring his path. The first sign of life among us brought a glow and chatter to the group, so simple, so awesome.
|An Otters Creation|