Friday, February 22, 2008

Ice Fishing to Tuscarora

Yesterday was cold, but the kids were off of school and it was time to go fishing. We bundled up and headed into Tuscarora Lake.

The trick in the winter is to stay warm but not too warm. So after the Missing Link Portage, we all had to strip off some layers.

The Tuscarora portage in the winter is just lovely. It's pretty refreshing to hike/ski it without a canoe overhead.

When we got to Tuscarora we trekked across most of the lake--straight into the wind. At that time I was trying to remember what was so fun about this experience---thinking about the appeal of winter camping---why folks do it.? When I'm trudging across with my head into the wind, all I can do is recite The Cremation of Sam McGee over and over again....."when our eyes we'd close, the lashes froze, until sometimes we couldn't see.......or it's the cursed cold, and it's got right hold til I'm chilled clean through to the bone..." That Robert Service was really gifted with those descriptions, because we were living it in that wind.

Yesterday some guests came back to their warm cabin after camping in the subzero temperatures for a few nights---they had a great time under the full moon, but both of them had frozen their left thumbs. The thumbs were still black. I hope they will be OK, they suspected that the artificial hand warmers they had kept their fingers so warm that they didn't even feel their thumbs. Still, they were beaming to tell their stories.

And our friend and seasoned winter camper---Jim spent some time in the Quetico this month---check out to see the appeal.

After crossing Tuscarora, we found a sheltered spot to start a fire---and drill some holes. After 247 slow jigs, Daniel came up with a little lake trout. The cold didn't bother him one bit! He caught another, and so did Andy--to supplement dinner last night---and we all slept HARD. We had a day!

Monday, February 18, 2008


We ventured up to Hovland this weekend for a fun family event----the Schnobrich family hosted a race.

Monica directed. She's tough.
The racers prepared---for a ski division and a snowshoe division.

We suspect that the entire event was held just so that Randy could shoot his gun in the air.

Competitors raced through the woods.
The crowd waited at the finish. Those Hovlanders know how to do it.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

No School

Life has been spinning at a hectic pace for us around here. Usually, it’s different for us because we live at the end of the road. We're busy enough taking care of winter cabin guests, and planning for next summer season. Last month was busier. Daniel had a couple of hockey tournaments, Shelby had some cross country ski races, Andy went to the Chicago Sports Show, I have been teaching a semester math course in Grand Portage….

So when we had nasty weather last week, first Monday night freezing rain turned the Gunflint Trail into a skating rink, then Tuesday night bitter cold blizzard conditions gave the kids two unexpected days off of school. What a pleasure to just hang out.

The truth for the kids is, when the spinning stops, it takes a while for them to catch their breath and figure out what to do. I think extended empty time is great for the creative ideas.

Then there is time to notice the small things.

Then there is time to invent ways to use the frozen lake. They rigged up a tarp as a sail, and used the spark as a glider--- celebrating the cold wind. These are sparkle days.