Winter camping…almost.

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My friend Jeff knew I was an experienced winter camper. He developed a desire to give winter camping a try. He asked me if I would want to go together some time. We starting putting together a plan a few weeks ago to get out this weekend for an overnight camping trip. The forecast ten days out called for highs in the lower 20’s (all temps in this post are in Fahrenheit). As our planned trip got closer the forecast changed. The temps started to get colder and colder. Two days out the forecast low’s for the nighttime were closing in on the -20 degree range. Still doable, but at the lower limit of the clothing I have. We talked about it and still decided to go.

When I got up yesterday, the morning of the trip, a windchill advisory had been added to the forecast. At that point I suggested to Jeff we may want to postpone the trip. I felt confident both I and Jeff could manage in those temps. Although Jeff is fairly new to winter camping, he is not unfamiliar with strategies for staying warm in those temps. He has bike commuted through the winter. And he has researched winter camping thoroughly. The issue is the “fun factor”. With day and night time temps never rising above zero, even the simplest tasks become more and more difficult as the temps decrease. It all honesty, it’s just not as fun in those temps. We decided to postpone until we have a weekend with daytime temps above zero and with less wind.

In lieu of an overnight camping trip, and seeing that we were already packed, we decided to take our packed pulks and take them out on an day trip into the woods. This would give Jeff a chance to test his newly made DIY pulk sled. And also give both of us a chance to practice some of our cold weather skills. We drove up the North Shore of Lake Superior to Finland, MN. We went over the ridge inland from Lake Superior about five miles. The temps stayed around -2 with a windchill in the -30 range.

It was a beautiful winter day to be in the woods. We hiked up to a small ridge and found a nice wind protected spot to stop for an hour or maybe 90 minutes. We had a brew-up and practiced our snow melting skills with our stoves.

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It was a wonderful day spent in the snowy woods. I think we both were a bit sad at postponing and weren’t staying the night. But it sure was nice waking up in a warm bed this morning.

More pictures from the day: