If you think you had a rough start to your day, read this: “It was one of those mornings that started by putting on cold, wet boots and hiking through alder thickets at seemingly every turn. And then it started to snow again, and the wind howled, biting at me as it whipped in full force off each of the lakes I encountered. Another inch of the cold, damp white stuff piled on the fir branches, showering me constantly as I plowed through the thickets.”
Outfitter and guide Jason Zabokrtsky is about to emerge from the wilds of Canada’s Quetico Provincial Park and cross into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. He’s currently bushwhacking and swimming his way through 80 miles of canoe country.
More from Zabokrtsky’s journal:
My feet suffer the most in these conditions. My wet wool socks inside of soaked hiking boots work to conserve toe warmth. However, the wet snow cakes to the top and sides of the boots acting with an icebox effect. And, what little warmth emanates from my feet melts the snow causing ice cold water to seep to my toes.
My warmth strategy is to keep moving generate body heat, drink extra water, eat regular snacks to keep calories available to heat my body, and to dig into my “Secret Spinach.” The choice “Spinach” for this trip is Pop Tarts. One bag contains 400 calories of quick fuel to fire the stove in my belly. They are a little like throwing kerosene on a fire.
I am still well and happy, and there is no place I’d rather be than right here, making my way through the wilderness
I am camped just west of Round Lake at 48 degrees 10’ 28” N, 91 degrees 41’ 25” W. With any luck I’ll reach the Basswood River and complete my trek across Quetico tomorrow.
MPR News will host an online chat with Zabokrtsky after he makes his way out of the wilderness and returns to civilization. Sign up here to submit questions and get an email reminder to join the event.