Even in the winter months the Boundary Waters Canoe Area is open to those who wish to explore the wilderness. But what does it take to survive, or even thrive there in the winter? In this weeks Get Outdoors, Meteorologist Adam Lorch shows us.
"Go ahead and buckle that around your waist." said Beth Poliquin, General Manager at Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply.
I start my adventure at Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply in Grand Marais.
Poliquin explains, "So the benefit of the harness is of course so you can pull with your whole body rather than just around your waist."
Beth Poliquin sets me up with a sled and harness to carry gear, along with a tent and stove for shelter and heat.
"This is the Snowtrekker four-person canvas tent. We do rentals for camping, this time of the year for cross country skiing, and snowshoeing. And then in the summertime canoeing, kayaking, fishing stuff. So we kind of do the silent sports." said Poliquin.
We pack all our gear up and head up the Gunflint Trail.
Joe Friedrichs, Host of WTIP Boundary Waters Podcast, said "For somebody who’s just starting out this is challenging, but completely doable."
My guide for the trip, Joe Friedrichs, is taking me across one lake, through a hilly portage and into our final camping lake.
First thing we do is set up the tent. But our campsite isn't lake-side, it's lake ON.
"It’s perfect we shoveled out the snow off the ice. We have nothing but hard solid texture, no slush. So we’re camping on a flat surface." said Friedrichs.
But this is no normal tent either. The thick canvas keeps the wind from sucking heat out. Plus, it accommodates something we certainly need in the winter.... a heater.
Friedrichs explains, "It’s a canvas wall tent, but on the opposite side you can see the chimney there so we have a wood stove inside of it which makes it ideal for winter camping."
Once the tent is set up, it's time for some camp chores.
"We’re fishing for lake trout out here in the boundary waters. And we’re also going to be going to get wood here for our wood-stove tonight. We need a nice supply of wood to get through the night and then you have it in the morning so you don’t have to go out and get more wood." said Friedrichs.
We drill some holes, gather our firewood, and fish the rest of the night.
Friedrichs said, "More or less, it’s the challenge of it that I enjoy because I mean just everything that we found out in the last three hours is work."
Hard work is rewarded with fresh lake trout and eggs for breakfast.
You do need a permit to go winter camping, but the permits are free and available at kiosks near entry points.
Personal note: Big thanks to Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply for hooking us up with a bunch of gear for this trip! Check them out HERE
Also, big thanks to Joe for taking me out on this adventure and cooking some excellent meals. Check out his PODCAST HERE
Lastly, thanks to Visit Cook County for putting me in touch with all these great folks.