The Pigeon Lives!

img_20170127_122356It’s always enough just to discover that the cabin hasn’t burned down, or isn’t occupied by another party. Getting there and entering the old shack, which to the best of my knowledge dates to around 1922, is a victory in and of itself. I wrote about this place in my book extensively, and never tire of it. (FYI, I dropped the kindle price to a mere $2.99, which is a heckuva deal for a year’s work).

img_20170126_205220This just might have been the best trip in ever. Twas definitely the easiest. Two feet of crust (following a week of rain and warm temperatures that had me despairing about the snowpack in Duluth) made for a lightning fast ski in. A new route also shaved a whole mile off the journey. Five miles really isn’t too bad for the jaw-dropping beauty and solitude we experienced at the very top of the Lower 48.

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Check out these ski tracks. It was a constant glide on fast terrain, rather than the usual slog through deep powder. A mere quarter-inch snowfall on the day we left just about obliterated all evidence of our passage through the wilderness! (The left side is the United States and the right is Canada.)

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img_20170127_120901I made a new friend back there this year, my friend’s pastor. I’m not sure I’ve ever met a pastor who could make such an arduous journey. I love having my stereotypes challenged and blown out of the water…

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The terrain here is remarkably varied. All of the pictures you see here were taken within 2.5 miles of each other. Hills, gorges, river in various states of contentment, etc…

Looking across to Canada…

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Since traveling required so much less effort than normal (just 3 hours in and 1.5 hours for the trip out), we used our excess energy to do more exploring.

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I thought he was crazy and urged him not to, but Dan actually packed in skate skis. He got tremendous joy from skating on the Pigeon River. This is our 22nd year of heading up here, and the conditions have never been like this. They might never be again. Here’s Dan, seizing the day. We’ve only made the five-mile round trip to see Partridge Falls a couple times. Usually it’s a long slog, but we were able to really whip through it this time…

img_20170127_145112This river drains many of the lakes that comprise the border route along the western edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. It is the original route of the fur trade (and thus became the international border). From here the voyageurs journeyed thousands of miles into the northwest. After crossing the Grand Portage from Lake Superior, this was the first of many smaller portages in the interior. Alexander Mckenzie came through here on his way to becoming the first explorer to reach the Pacific Ocean after crossing Canada in 1792. Numerous luminaries portaged around 45-foot-high Partridge Falls on their way up the superhighway that was their gateway to the vast Northwest…

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Not many people, then or now, get to see the falls from this vantage point in the winter. I feel really privileged. The conditions have to be just right. The rock to my right is 100% Canadian…

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As far as short two-night trips go, this might have been the best ever.


3 thoughts on “The Pigeon Lives!

  1. Wow Eddy, The pictures are amazing! What awesome beauty. The trip sounded really satisfying. SJR

    On Wed, Feb 1, 2017 at 2:35 PM, Ed’s Big Adventure wrote:

    > Eddy Gilmore posted: “It’s always enough just to discover that the cabin > hasn’t burned down, or isn’t occupied by another party. Getting there and > entering the old shack, which to the best of my knowledge dates to around > 1922, is a victory in and of itself. I wrote about this ” >

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