Slept the coldest so far last night. My dreams when I did fall into deep sleep were wild and crazy in an adventurous way. I was always with someone. The cast of characters varied, sometimes, old friends, sometimes I was flying, lots of lovable cats. Fun times but in the back of everything I knew I was alone on this solo. And then the long hours of cold half sleep. I thought a lot about warm blankets. Sleeping cold is a tough tour. It was -25 the little hollow that I made camp in the night of the blizzard. I switched stoves from the two burner Coleman into the light weight 1 pound Optimus stove, which is a climbing stove, and I like it a lot.

Slept the coldest so far last night. My dreams when I did fall into deep sleep were wild and crazy in an adventurous way. I was always with someone. The cast of characters varied, sometimes, old friends, sometimes I was flying, lots of lovable cats. Fun times but in the back of everything I knew I was alone on this solo. And then the long hours of cold half sleep. I thought a lot about warm blankets. Sleeping cold is a tough tour. It was -25 the little hollow that I made camp in the night of the blizzard. I switched stoves from the two burner Coleman into the light weight 1 pound Optimus stove, which is a climbing stove, and I like it a lot. I used this type of stove for years in the Arctic. Much more fuel-efficient, but you don’t have the luxury of that two burner space and the grill. The Optimus type of stoves must be watched carefully all of time. It is easy to spill a teapot of water in your sleeping bag and you always have to be watchful of tent fires. I hate to burn the tent down, that would be a bummer. I could always live in the woods around fire but with this deep snow it would take a lot of energy and time to set up a camp, dig fire pits and cut wood. I do like the Optimus. It is lower to the ground than the Coleman and it is a jet flame which brings back memories of the MSR stoves we used in the Arctic. I am on fuel rations and this pushes me into the Optimus because I don’t have enough fuel to run the Coleman with all of these delays with bad conditions. I had planned for this. It was really cold breaking camp in the morning shadows. My Kamuks are frozen solid and I have to make sure that they’re not pushed in when I take them off while they’re still somewhat pliable because they freeze solid and it would be impossible to get them back into shape if they were frozen crushed down. It warmed very quickly, clear and lots of heat in the sun.

The crust from the thaw was thick and hard, that was the good news, but the new snow on the crust gave me lots of trouble. For the first hour I was able to haul one load, then the top layer thawed and when the canoe went through this layer it froze in to the powder below. I decided to pack 60 pounds to the mouth of Jean Creek at Sturgeon Lake. It was great seeing the big lake. It was a milestone for me. I skied back to the canoe and couldn’t budge it with the remainder of the load. I went almost empty and had a difficult time reaching the pack I had dropped off. The third trip was equally as difficult. So I made camp in the hot sunny day, actually the temperature never got above 32°, but the energy from the sun was so intense it melted first 4 inches of snow. All of my gear was either wet or wet and frozen. So it was nice to get everything dry again. I laid around the rest of the day.

I plan to try and haul early morning under the stars. Hopefully the crust will be strong enough. If I get one more day of melting and a good freeze the conditions will be perfect. There is only 4 inches of crust on bare ice and 6 inches of the new snow from the blizzard on the lakes. Who knows what will be in store for me, but for sure the night will be cold. There are some high clouds to the South that might mean something. There was only a slight north wind today and that is a sign of continual high pressure, at least for the next 24 hours.

I am not going to kill myself making any more relays to make a three mile day. I needed to do that at the beginning to make some progress. Now I am close to the river country, so if conditions are bad I am just going to wait it out rather than burning my body out. It is still winter, but there is a feeling of spring out there and there is a lot of heat in the sun. The ravens where in their spring mood. Early dinner, early to sleep.

Out

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