January 2012, Froze butt hang, Sturgeon Lake Minnesota
I Left for Minnesota at about 6 Am, January 16. I went south and around Chicago then north to Sturgeon Lake, MN, and Camp Miller, YMCA camp.
I settled into the Jack A Mcleod Leadership Lodge at about 7Pm. Cooked a bit of dinner on the George Foreman grille and hit the hay.
Tuesday morning I walked about camp and took some photos. StairGuy arrived at about 10Am and we headed off to the Superior Hiking trail for a hike.
I wanted to see a couple of shops in Duluth before we got there so we stopped at a couple of them and looked over the Empire Canvas, Anoraks and the Evergreen ones.
We arrived at the Crosby-Manitou parking area near Bensen Lake around 2 pm and headed off towards the Lake Co Rd 7 crossing.
We went about 2 miles before it was dark and stopped at the snowmobile warming shelter.
We set up in the trees and cooked in the shelter before hitting the sack at about 9 pm.
Wed Am it had been about -12f overnight. We heated water and ate then headed off.
We decided to try to complete the length of the trip today as the temps were to get colder and we wanted to be a bit fresher when the others arrived on Thursday.
The trail has about 8 inches of packed snow and in spots the packed in tracks are hard to follow as my stride does not match many others.
It does not help that I used an external frame, old school, pack. I had all of my gear in a 65 liter but it was just too tight and would have been to much of a chore to get back inside in the cold.
During the day we stopped a couple of times to snack and have a drink but kept moving most of the time. Near Egge Lake there is an old trapper’s cabin, which was neat to look around at.
Later I spotted a spur trail that went down hill to a snowmobile path which later crossed CO Rd 7. We took the shortcut, as my leg strength still is not up to what it was before I broke my leg in August.
It did not cut off a lot of distance but was a smoother track.
We got back to the truck then collected StairGuy’s vehicle and headed back to Camp Miller, arriving about 6Pm.
Book was there and we got something to eat and made our bunks for the night.
Thursday Four Dog and Paul arrived and we headed for the camp area and started setting up about 1Pm.
Others arrived and the fun began all over again. We had a big dinner, a bigger fire, and a lot of good conversation.
I did not record the temps much in camp but others have posted the lows.
-18.9 was the low for the whole week I believe.
Friday More folks arrived and we had more gear to look at and more food and more fire and more conversation.
We went up to the lodge and had a good carving instruction led by Book. I did not carve as I did not want to risk an injury in the middle of the trip.
I got a lot of very good pointers and a blank to work on when I get time.
Saturday More of the same. Pretty relaxing, with all of the folks getting better at their gear and improving confidence in their abilities.
Sunday, Overnight temp was only down to about 18f, pretty warm by previous nights, almost balmy…..
We all worked as a team to break and clean the camp area and get the gear to the vehicles and then to clean the lodge that we had used as a safe haven.
I left there at about 11:30Am. This time I headed home via the MI Upper Peninsula route. It has a lower speed limit and is mostly all 2 lanes. I arrived home at about 12:30. 1722 miles total for the trip
I was warm every night, and all day, no issues.
Things to note:
1. Keep your glove liners on, ALL OF THE TIME. Learn to work that way. Take Extras. Even the nylon quilts are VERY COLD.
2. I used poly sock liners, and 2 mm Neoprene socks, http://www.cabelas.com/product/Cabel...h-All+Products inside my Mukluks, never changed them, even slept in them with my liners on, Thursday to Sunday. No moisture in my Mukluk insulation at all. Warm feet all the time, though they smelled pretty bad by Sunday.
3. A balaclava, or a scarf is a “must have”. Topped with a wool hat, never needed more.
4. During the daytime I wore long johns, wool outer pants, light sweater, wool jack shirt, and a fleece outer layer. Glove liners and mittens. It was not very windy. At night I added my Anorak or my hooded parka.
5. A pack is awkward with a winter load, at least for me. I will stick with a Pulk whenever possible.
Nights inside 2, nights outside 4. A pretty good test of keeping your down dry, and yourself warm.