It cleared off in the middle of the night and the temperature dropped. I slept warm and cozy at first and then the last half of the night I slept cold again. I have a double big system that is supposed to be good down to -30, but despite the overinflated rating I have been sleeping cold overnight and this is unusual. I usually sleep warm. I think the dampness of my clothing has a lot to do with it. I never overheat to a sweat while dogsledding but the exhaustion of this trip has been the hallmark of the days. {audio}podcasts/2014_Solo_Canoe_Haul/20140328_WillStegerDispatch.mp3{/audio} {audio}podcasts/2014_Solo_Canoe_Haul/20140328_WillStegerDispatch.mp3{/audio}

It cleared off in the middle of the night and the temperature dropped. I slept warm and cozy at first and then the last half of the night I slept cold again. I have a double big system that is supposed to be good down to -30, but despite the overinflated rating I have been sleeping cold overnight and this is unusual. I usually sleep warm. I think the dampness of my clothing has a lot to do with it. I never overheat to a sweat while dogsledding but the exhaustion of this trip has been the hallmark of the days. I am continually near exhaustion when I am hauling and constantly wet. It is paramount to control the wet and chill cycle. As soon as I stop the very first thing I do is to dress up so as not to allow the wind to drive in the chill. The chill is most dangerous and this is the challenge of hauling like I am doing. I hauled loads on a North Pole trip on the Russian side in 2000 and there it was very different because the temperatures were often in the -40 range with some wind. I’m not sure if I could adjust my clothing somewhat to avoid the worst of the moisture. On this trip the exhaustion has been all out.

It was -20 and clear skies greeted me when I got out of the tent. I loaded up but I could barely budge the sled. The combination of the snow and cold temps made it impossible. I tried a half load but it was too exhausting so I ended up skiing ahead with a 60 pound pack a mile and then went back for the sled. I was hoping as the day warmed the friction would become tolerable and this is what happened. The friction was still too much for a full load so I just got into carrying the pack forward, skiing back and then hauling my sled. This led to considerable effort but it was not as bad as the two days when I hauled with one load. I really got into the day and thoroughly enjoyed myself. It never got above freezing so no crust formed, but I didn’t suffer from the cold and wind as all of the previous days. I felt that I was finally getting into the trip. All day I watched the minute changes as the sun got high and a little warmer. Snow melted on dark objects, but the southwest wind kept the surface temperatures of the sun down so there was no melt and the snow crystals still have friction to them. I think tomorrow It will warm up enough to melt some of the surface snow. This rounding off the snowflakes creates less friction.

There was moving water where Quetico Lake narrows down, where a stream flows into it. There is a portage around that stream into a small lake, which I’ll make tomorrow. This is otter country. Otter tracks are all over from one hole to another where lake current opens thin ice. I had to be very aware in the afternoon of the tricky ice and it gave me something else to watch and keep my attention focused. I made my camp near an opening at the end of Quetico Lake so that I would have water. I am on gas rations right now and for the rest of the trip. This means gas only for melting snow or ice and cooking and no gas for extra heat in the tent. Finding water saves a lot of gas because it takes lots of fuel to melt ice into water, and especially from snow to water. Before I made camp I snowshoed down a half-mile to check out the stream and portage that I will be taking tomorrow. The stream was extremely beautiful, but dangerous where it flowed into the lake and up where it flowed out of the little lake above. I snowshoed the portage, It was waist deep with snowshoes in some areas. It is a steep drop so I will do it in three trips. Luckily it is not a long portage, but steep. I really enjoyed today and I am hoping a thaw is near.

10 four Roger and out

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