Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Voyageurs National Park: Ski to Bushyhead Mine

Today was a beautiful winter day. I took advantage by getting out for a ski. Instead of hitting one of the groomed ski trails, I opted to do a little bit of exploring by skiing the frozen Rainy Lake surface over to Bushyhead Island. I drove east and parked the car outside of Sha Sha resort and then headed out onto the ice. There were lots of snowmobile tracks on the snow. The packed down snowmobile tracks made the skiing much easier.
following snowmobile tracks
Since it is Wednesday, I didn't hear too much snowmobile traffic though. It helped that the Purple Trail from Black Bay to Kettle Falls wasn't opened yet.

I followed snowmobile tracks east, over areas of frozen slush and past several islands before reaching Bushyhead Island and my destination for the day: the mine adit that leads into the rock.
Bushyhead Adit
I went inside the adit to have a look around.
The floor was a sheet of ice. Even though I had brought my headlamp, I opted to not go into the adit very far, since I knew my ski boots would be especially slippery on the icy floor. Instead I turned around
looking out
and had a snack while sitting on a rock near the entrance.
resting outside mine
As I ate I caught a strong whiff of fox musk. I'm guessing a fox uses the adit for shelter.

The ski to the mine took much less time than I had figured it would, and so I set off further east to see what I could find. There was lots of variation to the snow surfaces I skied on. Sometimes the snow was granular and perfect for making shallow tracks. Other times it was a wind blown, bumpy affair with a crust on top that was not thick enough to hold my weight.
drifted snow
Whenever possible I followed snowmobile tracks. I soon found myself at a park-owned cabin
that the maintenance crew had worked on this past summer. I had another quick snack outside and then continued on.
ski tracks

My turn around point for the ski was a day use site called Little Cedar Island.
I used the bathroom there and relaxed and snacked at a picnic table.
resting a picnic table
There were great views from the site looking south
another Little Cedar view
and east.
view from Little Cedar Island
After a nice break it was time to move on. I skied past some interesting looking islands
little island
tracks to lone tree
as I made my way back west. I should have worn sunglasses though, since the sun glare off the snow was starting to bother my eyes by this time.
skier shadow
As I approached Harrison Bay, I was feeling pretty good and so I took a detour to the day use site there: Harrison Bay East.
Harrison Bay East
By now the sun was quite warm. After a snack, I basked in the sun on a picnic table.
resting on picnic table
Finally, I was ready to head back to the car. I skied past day marker 19
day marker 19
and headed back towards Sha Sha.

It had been a great adventure. It was nice to get out and explore parts of the park I either hadn't been to before, or had only seen from the Voyageur tour boat. As I drove back home I saw an eagle perch in a white pine tree.
Bald Eagle in Tree
It's the first eagle I've seen in a while.

1 comment:

luksky said...

Very beautiful pictures. I learned something new today. I had no idea what an "adit" was, now I know!