Day 3 - Saturday, January 15
On Saturday we ventured out for a day of skiing. Our first stop was another camp also located on Shell Lake that had been set up before New Years by a group from Midwest Mountaineering down in Minneapolis. On the way we discovered that slush, on the lake under a heavy blanket of snow, was becoming a problem for our skis. Once a ski passed through the slush and then hit the cold air, ice would immediately form on the skis and in the bindings.
We visited briefly with the Midwest Mountaineering folks and then continued on toward Little Shell Lake. We didn't make it very far onto Little Shell before the slush and ice began to take its toll on the equipment. Bindings froze up, ice built up on the skis, and I broke a pole trying to knock off ice. The decision was made to return to camp rather than fight the conditions further.
At camp we prepared for a cold night. Forecasts from before we had left predicted temperatures well below zero. We were grateful for the warmth from the tent's stove while dinner was cooked. Tonight we enjoyed Dave's chili, coffee, hot cocoa and a few nips of scotch and whiskey. After a fun evening of talk around the stove, it was time to lay out the sleeping bags once again. We absorbed as much of the remaining heat as possible from the cooling stove, knowing that by morning we'd be relying only on our internal furnaces.
Click on any image for a higher resolution version.
Saturday morning at camp on Shell Lake.
Path made when looking for firewood the evening before.
Our camp on a small peninsula on Shell Lake.
Dan closes up his sleeping bag for the day.
Mark feeds the stove. The stove is Dave Morlock's creation.
Mark, Dan, Mallory and Matt get warm by the stove. The heat creates lots of steam and humidity which fogs the camera lens and makes photo taking a real challenge.
Mark, Dan and Mallory in the tent.
Off on Shell Lake for a day trip of skiing.
Dan and Mark skiing on Shell Lake.
Dan scrapes ice from the skis. Slush under the snow is becoming a problem. When the slush hits the cold air above it freezes instantly.
Dan and Mark discuss the slush and frozen bindings.
Dan on Shell Lake.
Mallory and Dad (Matt) make a path on Shell Lake.
We stop in for a visit to the Shell Lake camp made by the Midwest Mountaineering group. A few of them (Ted and Wendy Paulsen) have been camped here since before New Years.
Skis piled up at the Midwest Mountaineering campsite.
Sierra(?) and Sunny play in the wood cutting area of Midwest Mountaineering's campsite.
Visiting with the Midwest Mountaineering folks.
Back on the skis and heading for the portage into Little Shell Lake.
Covered animal tracks on snowy Shell Lake.
A wolf makes use of the old ski track.
Mark winds his way toward the portage leading to Little Shell Lake.
Stocking the wood pile in advance of a cold night ahead.
Dan at camp on Shell Lake. It's going to get cold tonight!