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Sunday, July 4, 2010

BWCAW Reminiscing

Zulu, one of the foundation males of our kennel passed away in January of 2010 at the age of 13 1/2 years old. This was his last trip to the BWCA. He shows his contentment and happiness by rolling in the snow, while all the time keeping his line tight. Phoenix is in point with Klaus. This was Phoenix's first trip of this kind.

Photo by Mark Schwartz
We discuss our route

Zulu leads us down the lake

Our base camp at US Point with Canada on the other shore.

The dogs are staked out on the ice with ice screws and enjoy their lounging time after a long run.

Vast views

Everyone's interest is peaked as a human walks back from the hole made in the ice for dog water.

Beautiful skies!

From nowhere comes a snow storm dumping heavy wet snow on us all.


Everyone relaxes at base camp. When sleeping and curled up in a ball with their noses under their tail, they are trying to conserve heat so they can remain warm. Notice that most dogs are stretched out which means that the temperatures are quite warm for them. Zulu is up and on call as he usually was.

Sweet Pea stretches from a good night's rest as Klaus gazes stoically into the distance.

When it's 90+ degrees outside and a warm breeze is blowing in my face, I can't help but take myself back to some special winter adventures we've done with the dogs to remind me that winter is just around the corner. Soon the warm breeze will be replaced with healthy crisp air that makes me feel more alive.

It's been several years since we've been able to take a trip by dog team into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota due to our busy winter touring schedule but this year we have made certain that two trips are on the quickly filling calendar. One trip is scheduled for our advanced group of participants that have gone through our rigorous training regime over the years and are now ready to go beyond trail running. We'll be taking this group on a winter camping trip by dog team where they will learn detailed points of this activity as they will need to be self sufficient. A mandatory navigation workshop will take place prior to the event and they will be tested on their abilities. We will be traveling as a group, however in the event that we become separated, they will need to know how to navigate their way back.

Our guests will receive a list of maps they will need, an extensive list of gear and a guide on how to prepare ahead of time, the food they will for the journey.

Our first trip into the BWCA will be solely for us to enjoy time alone in the wilderness with our dogs which has been something we haven't had the time to do the past several years. This will be Neil's first time winter camping on a frozen lake in the middle of the wilderness. Considering Neil spent 22 years in the British Army and participated in all kinds of adventures, chosen or not, from northern Ireland to Germany to Iraq, I'm quite certain he will be a natural. And because we will be in the company of the dogs that he loves and spends hour upon hour caring for, I'm sure it will be a very rewarding trip for him.

Think good ice and just enough snow! (Too much snow in the BWCA can mean slush and difficult times breaking trail for the dogs)

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