Saturday, January 8, 2011

The International Wolf Center and Hegman Lake

Pictographs at Hegman Lake
Day one of Eric and Noelle's great Ely winter adventure! Our first stop was the International Wolf Center in town, The center was interesting with some great exhibits. We attended a great interpretive program and checked out the Ambassador Pack, the resident wolf pack.

After the Wolf Center we headed back to our hotel room for a delicious lunch of sandwiches, soup and chips before heading back out for a drive up the Echo Trail. Our destination was the canoe put-in for Hegman Lake. Of course in the winter we were not headed there for a canoe trip, but for a ski across the frozen, snow-covered lakes to check out the famous Native American pictograph panel found at North Hegman Lake. The drive was a bit snowy, but we made it to the "trail-head" in one piece and excited for a great strip. We strapped the skis onto our feet and headed on down the portage trail. The trail was a bit tough for skis and by the time I made it to the wilderness boundary I was worried about how Noelle was handling the conditions. After meeting up at the bottom of a steep downhill section, we decided that since we were unsure of the conditions up ahead we would return to the car and  switch over to our snowshoes.

The going on snowshoes was quite easy. We soon entered into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and then made a our way down to South Hegman Lake.

The weather conditions, while quite cold, were wonderful with warm sunshine and no wind.

The snow coverage on the lake was good, but there was a layer of slush under the snow. Every time we placed one of our poles into the snow, it reached to the slush layer and was coated with a layer of ice.

After repeating this hundreds of times thick balls of ice would form on the bottoms of our poles making them quite heavy. It is probably a good thing we decided against the skis. Ice buildup on the bottom of the skis would make for some extremely slow going.

Soon we crossed from South to North Hegman Lakes, where we passed a large erratic boulder in the lake and soon found ourselves at our destination the Hegman Lake pictograph panel.

We spent a few minutes there before turning around and retuning to the car. Despite the limited sunlight left in the day we passed three groups of people headed out on the lake. I was glad to be headed to the car.

After getting back to the car we drove back into Ely where we showered at our hotel and then headed over to the Boathouse Brewpub. The food was okay and the beer was good, but nothing that exceptional.

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