I hope this is not duplicative but the original entry did not seem to post correctly.
Friday Feb. 28, Ely MN
At Wintergreen Dog Sledding Lodge
Well a little more mixed day. We slept in given the exercise and energy used Thursday so we passed on the dog feeding and kennel cleaning this morning.
After a tasty and filling breakfast, we were offered the opportunity to choose between two options. Dog sledding or snowshoeing/cross country skiing to the Hegman Lake Indian pictographs. The rock wall overlooking North Hegman Lake has a panel of rock art images. The group chose the pictographs since we still have one day left for dog sledding.
The plan was to drive to the trailhead and then traverse the trail to the site, about 2.5 miles away, have lunch and then return to the trailhead and drive back to Wintergreen. After some car issues, we piled into a Suburban and headed out with one guide. We picked up one of the puppies to take along with us.
Chris and I chose snow shoeing. After we were on the first lake for a while, we realized the terrain and distance were challenging and several of us were not positive of our ability to make the entire round trip successfully.
So, three of us (Chris and Ed included) returned to the trailhead and waited for the second guide to pick us up. I know not the distance or the time we were out but we were plenty tired by the time we returned to the trailhead. It was a wise, although disappointing, decision for us. We returned to the lodge a little after three.
The other four continued on. They had a hot meal with a fire started by the guide. However, while getting close to the final destination, two of the party stepped into hidden pools of icy slush. While only portions of their arm and hands got wet, it was enough to say turn around and head back to avoid any hypothermia issues. Their boots were well made and successfully kept their feet dry. I think they returned to the lodge around 4:30 pm.
Slush might seem counter intuitive when you are dealing with weeks of below zero weather. However, the heavy snow depth creates pressure on the ice to form small cracks which allows lake water to come up on top of the ice and under the snow. The heavy snow acts as an insulator and this slush does not fully re-freeze even though the lake ice depth is over two feet deep. The slush level can be quite deep and is hidden beneath the pristine new snow.
I had experienced this type of slush Thursday afternoon when stepping off the trail and was luckily able to pull out of it before any water ended up in my boot.
So the group of four did not make it to the pictographs but certainly got a greater period of exercise. The sun also came out later in the afternoon so it was a pleasant hike. The temps today reached almost 10 degrees I believe.
Dinner was beef stroganoff. As mentioned in an earlier post, the group gets along quite well. Our evenings are spent in friendly discussion and tonight we also pursued the topic of the PolyMet mining proposal.
The temp tonight goes back down to about -20 and the high tomorrow should be about -9 with mostly sunny skies and winds in the 8-14 mph range.
Tomorrow more dog sledding. Sunday we head back to St. Paul.
Ed and Chris 10:30 pm