Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Snowshoe Outing with Travis

One of the things I was really looking forward to doing on my last trip to Grand Portage was to snowshoe up the ridge to the top of Mt. Josephine. We were starting from Hwy 61 where we left Travis' truck. The plan was to do something different, well different for Travis since this was my first time snowshoeing Mt. Jo. Instead of returning to the truck we were going to hike down the hiking trail back to Travis house where we would use my car to go pick up Travis truck. We set off about 1:00 in the afternoon.

During the prior week, on his days off, Travis broke a trail up to the top. Mind you we were traveling a route that has no designated trail, something we often do, but he is quite familiar with the route. I certainly appreciated his effort since it made the going much easier.

You gotta believe I was impressed when we left the highway and started down the trail he had made. I'm thinking to myself that this hike is going to be a piece of cake with a trail like this, much better than the hiking trail.

You can almost see the pride on his face as he stands next to his masterpiece trail.

But wait he soon turn off the big wide trail onto this skinny one. I stopped, hesitant to continue on. With a little encouragement Travis was able to convince me it would be OK so I followed.

It was a beautiful day for a snowshoe hike. The forecast was clouds and snow and I had hoped we would be going "snowshoeing in the snow" (that's an inside joke in case you don't get it).

But the day turned out to be just beautiful with temps in the upper 28s and some sunshine to boot. There were some interesting formations of undisturbed snow along the way.

And shadows. What does this look like?

And how does snow wrap itself around a branch like this? Weird.

Speaking if weird how about this snow fall.

Being the good guide that Travis is he regularly checked on me to make sure I didn't get lost. I appreciate his concern.

At one point we got together to plan our assault up Mt Jo. (actually he was figuring out why my camera was displaying weird things and this was a test shot just to check the image review. I thought this accidental image is pretty cool.)

Almost to the summit. What a beautiful view, huh!

Travis is certainly enjoying the view.

We do goofy things sometimes while we're out. hahaha

Sometimes Travis would get quite far in front on my. He kept assuring me that I wouldn't get lost and just follow his trail. (Good advice since I did make it back)

Here's Travis hiking along enjoying the beautiful day.

The next moment I find him resting, just plopped down in the snow. (Actually he fell and it was pretty funny to watch. I didn't feel bad for him since he already had a few chuckles watching me fall, I fell alot. Thankfully the snow is soft.)

After his 'rest' we finally made it to the top of Mt. Jo. What a view it is out over Waswagoning Bay and the Susie Islands.

The view back to the west was a mighty fine view as well.

Out over Grand Portage Bay the sun was shining thru the clouds making some quite nice sun beams.

It was starting to get late and this was the last image of Grand Portage Bay with Pete's Island. It was time to begin out descent down the mountain.

If you've ever climbed Mt. Jo you know it is a climb, not just hike. The trail is steep and in some places steep and rocky. It was quite an adventurous trip down, trying to keep from sliding off the trail and down the mountain side. My snowshoes have grippers under the ball of my feet and I used them alot. But every once in a while my weight would shift back and my snowshoes became skis. My feet would just fly out from under me. I must have fallen a half dozen times coming down that trail.

We finally got down to level ground. It sure felt good walking normal again. Back to Travis' house we went then back to pick up his truck. We were both pretty sore by the time we got to his house but that was expected and it actually felt pretty good. I think we hiked about 3 1/2 miles in almost 5 hours. We had a good dinner at the lodge then an evening at his parents capped off a fantastic day.

I'm looking forward to hiking Travis' trail again but this time returning back to his truck. Once is enough snowshoeing down the hiking trail.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Artist Point on a Stormy Friday Afternoon

Last weekend my plan was to head up to Grand Portage and spend the weekend with Travis. Originally I was going to head up after work on Thursday but work made me change those plans so I headed up Friday morning.

The plan was to shoot along the shore as I drove north but I really didn't see anything worth stopping for so I just ended up driving straight to Grand Marais.

I was meeting my friend Don Davison in Grand Marais to give him some Lefse. He said he was heading out to Artist Point to shoot the crashing waves. I figured I had a half hour or so and decided to head out there with him. I'm sure glad I did.

The weather was quite mild, for February, in the upper 20s lower 30s. Even with the wind blowing it wasn't to bad. The lake was rather angry and was putting on quite a show.

This was the first time I was using my new ice cleats and they sure worked out very well. Ice abound on artist point and I was very sure footed with the ice cleats. We walked around shooting these images.

A half hour turned into a good hour and a half as I worked myself all over both sides of Artist Point. By the time I returned to the car I was exhilarated and soaked.

I stood in one spot knowing I was going to get some spray but got alot more than I was expecting. Got my clothes soaked and my camera all wet. The camera was fine and after changing my pants back as the car I was reasonably dry.

From there it was off to Grand Portage with some treasures in my camera and a great experience behind me. Just another grand day on the North Shore.