Mar 02 2011
It´s late winter here in the Northwoods – a few days of thawing weather have created a thick crusty layer on the snow – thick enough that a human can stay on top of the crust in regular shoes. With the lakes and creeks still frozen over, exploring is so much easier. I included some scenery pictures so you could get more of a feel for the area.
A nearby frozen creek in the morning sun. Generally frozen-over creeks in this area are tricky to walk on at best, unless you really know the dangerous spots (fast currents, freshwater seepages etc.)
Frozen ponds like this one may be a little more safe to cross. Better yet are many of the lakes around here (some people run their snowmobiles on them), unless you happen to get close to an in- or outlet with flowing water…
The Northwoods are a pretty diverse ecosystem – not so much in species diversity as in the mosaic of different plant communities. This is the area where southern (mixed) hardwoods and the northern boreal forest overlap. There´s a tendency for certain plant communities to form local pockets – such as spaghnum moss bogs, highland hardwood forests (maple, ironwood, oak etc.), balsam fir thickets, alder swamps etc. Shown in the picture above is a small mixed stand of hemlock and cedar (Northern Whitecedar) next to a clearing.
A couple of wigwams covered with snow at one of the camps where I stay at. Though they´re designed as summer lodges (with thatched grass for the sides and birch bark panes for the top) I´ve used them in subzero conditions – the temeprature is pretty much like outside but they help to break the wind or protect from precipitation.
The interior of one of the lodges with a few crafts: Coyote leggins and loincloth hanging from a string (upper left), mukluks (upper right), beaver hides in frames and snowshoes.