29 March 2015

Whooo Buddy!!!!...?

You bet!

I've been a fan of Shug for a number of years, his youtube channel is entertaining and educational and just downright funny too! I know from his videos that we've been stomping some of the same terrain for a while now but never ran into each other, until the other day as my son and I were loading up to head into Crosby for the night.

We had a nice chat at the trail head about the various camps in Crosby/Manitou and backwoods loafing in general. It was a nice and unexpected highlight before we even got started.

Shug on the left, and my son.

He was as I figured, total nice guy, humorous and loaded with knowledge, good people!

The George H. Crosby Manitou park is one of the real hidden gems along the North Shore, a very rugged backpack only park, because of the challenges of getting to the campsites and general rugged terrain it isn't as heavily visited as some of the other more well known sites along the shore. I've written about the park several times and it is one of my all time favorite locations. Not only is it beautiful and physically challenging it is also a great place to break in new gear.

This weekend was really just about getting out though, with a tough travel schedule I hadn't had a chance to get in enough camping trips to satisfy myself.

Second son and I were on the trail after the impromptu meeting with Shug, we headed to Benson Lake first because we wanted to see the lake and if the ice was starting to break up.

It wasn't.

The terrain in the park is rugged, lots of rock, up and down, twisty paths, but this time of year it is even worse. In the shadows of the mountain the ice has not left the pathways such as they are, snow and ice over rocks on steep inclines and declines made the footing absolutely treacherous. Yaktrax or crampons are worthwhile gear here.

We took Yellow Birch out to Misqua and down to the river. The scenery was magnificent as usual. The trails twist down the mountain to the Manitou river, there are high and low vantage points but this time of the year most of the river is frozen solid and passable on foot for vantages you cannot get any other time of the year.

The Kenetrek Mountain Extreme boots were a pleasure to wear, I haven't been this excited about a pair of boots in a long long time. My Asolo Sasslong are not worn out but I wanted to break in a new pair before Alaska in August.

Once we made it to camp it was the usual, unpack, set up camp and then just enjoy the time.

The stove for this trip was a new Primus Omnilite Ti. I first saw it in a review over at Highing Finland, you can find the write up here; Primus Omnilite Ti.

Supper was uneventful but filling, anytime you burn that much energy pretty much any food taste good!

Some food in my belly I turned to piddlin'.

I often hear about how you can use a water filter in cold weather where the filter could freeze because if there is water the filter and it freezes then the ceramic filter will rupture rendering it worthless and dangerous to use. While all of that is true, if you handle it properly you can use one in cold weather. It's pretty simple, your goal is to keep it from freezing. After use I put mine in a zip lock bag and zip all but a corner, blow some air into it and then zip it completely closed. I keep it in a coat pocket until I'm ready to hit the sack and then I put it in my sleeping bag. I've been doing this for several winters now and have had no problems with this process.

Night settled on us and the wind came up, the temperatures dropped. I slid deeper into my Kifaru slick bag and welcomed the sounds of the night and the changing weather. In the distance an owl hooted.

Morning came with no clock blaring the demands of the world, I rolled over and listened to sleet hitting the tent, saw the clumps of ice and snow clinging to the outside. Our walk in had been treacherous enough in clear weather, snow and sleet meant the walk out would be even worse. I was thinking about this as I got water on to boil for breakfast and coffee.

On this trip I was testing  some of the gear I intend to use on my trip to the Brooks Range in Alaska later this year. The Omnilite stove, Kenetrek Mountain Extreme Boots, Kifaru pack which is a Highcamp 7000 on a Duplex frame. So far it is one of the most comfortable setups I've used. I loaded it up with 60 pounds of gear for this trip. It was comfortable throughout and handled well. I've been using it since November and have to say the Duplex frame has lived up to the hype.

We broke camp quickly and once loaded up made the decision to instead of backtracking our way in we'd head up mountain first. At the top of the ridge I knew there was a trail that ran north south and if we went north it would connect back to yellow birch and from there back to the trail head. The headlong climb straight up the mountain was strenuous to say the least but we made it up and connected with the trail.

Not long after we hit the ridge line the weather had turned worse yet and snow began to pound us.

Back at the trail head we snapped one more pic before firing the truck up and heading home.

Thanks for looking!

22 March 2015

A Walk Upriver & Salmon On Birch...

I took a walk upriver today, wanted to stretch my legs again and see how the water or ice was as the case may be. The Temperance River is a geological beauty. The Temperance River flows from Brule Lake within the BWCA and runs all the way into Lake Superior. I've paddled Brule many times over the years and I've been fascinated with the power of its waters. Temperance is a gorge, water cut rock visual feast, so it was a joy to spend the day hiking up river.

When ever I'm in serious need of restoration a late winter hike up this river always delivers.

There are very few stills in the video, it's the hike up and the fire etc, so I put most of the stills below.

I pinned the salmon fillets to the piece of birch bark, added rocks to the back and some sticks to support it, then built a fire in front of it.

Thanks for taking a look!