Not a soul in sight for 15 days, Ely bushwhacker emerges from the wild

MPR News live: Join a chat with Jason Monday at 11a.

Jason Zabokrtsky at the end of his 15 day bushwhacking adventure through canoe country wilderness. (Photo submitted)

Outfitter and guide Jason Zabokrtsky has emerged from two weeks in the wilderness after bushwhacking his way from the depths of Quetico Provincial Park, through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and into Ely, Minn. via the Old Cloquet Railroad line about 8 miles north of town. He made the entire 80 mile trip without seeing another human.

Outfitter and guide Jason Zabokrtsky greeted upon his return to Ely, Minn.

Statewide: Traversing canoe country without a boat
Statewide: Day 11: Wilderness bushwhacker is wet, cold and in Canada

The last 6 days were filled with rain, sleet and snow. “My toes got really cold. But while they were cold, it was acceptable. I was constantly wiggling my toes in my boots, just doing what I could to keep them warm. I kept myself hydrated so my heart didn’t have to work too hard, also I ate a lot of snacks to keep my calorie county high,” he said on his cell phone as he completed his final few miles of the trip.

“What surprised me was really how wild it was out there. It is pretty special to get away from the water and go where nobody goes. It really feels — it is just a feeling of being in the wild in a different way,” he added.

Here is a snippet from his trip report where he felt like he was in the deepest part of the wilderness far from any lakes in the Quetico.

Around, 2:00 PM, about 3 hours in the 11 hours of drizzle received today — I was treated to the sound of wolves howling nearby. One wolf was particularly close. It sounded younger with a higher pitched tone. Another older sounding wolf in the distance howled back with a deeper tone. The tenor of the howling was not that of a celebration after a successful hunt, but rather a more somber tone like a sled dog howling in the rain and wishing for snow. While standing still listening to the wolves I suddenly heard a crashing in the woods behind me. I had hoped to see a moose in its own terms in the deep woods and I was not disappointed. These were two moose crashing up behind me in full rut. A large bull followed a cow. It is very rare to hear a moose make a vocalization and real highlight today to hear a bleating sound of them communicating. They walked less than 40 feet and my pulse quickened with excitement and some concern. Bulls may be territorial. They have been known to chase guys around trees, and statistically they may be the most dangerous mammal out here. They are incredibly grand creatures and I feel fortunate to have been so close to them.

Zabokrtsky will take your questions Monday at 11a over here. If you can’t make the chat submit your questions ahead of time here.