Nature Matters: Backcountry Winter Adventure

By KBJR News 1

January 24, 2011 Updated Jan 25, 2011 at 9:45 AM CDT

Jay Cooke State Park, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) Mid winter cold has many northlanders hunkered down, spending time indoors. Yet there are still adventurers among us who remain undaunted and venture out anyway.

In this week's "Nature Matters" David Hoole brings us on a hike to a backcountry campsite where kids are enjoying winter ...overnight.

Wolf tracks share the trail on a sunny morning deep in Jay Cooke State Park. The large predator who passed through is well suited for winter travel, it turns out the group of young people who stayed at the remote campsite are too.

"We weren't expecting such a long hike."

They had come in the previous night.

"You didn't really know what was ahead of you if you didn't have your light shining that way."

No daylight meant the group needed to set up camp in the dark.

"The soup didn't thaw so we had bagels with peanut butter and some jerky and some trail mix." "Then around eleven we finally got our soup." "and we were falling asleep while eating it."

The group packed their gear in on long toboggans and slept in a tent made for winter camping.

"You want it to breathe so they're canvas typically. Obviously they're not mosquito proof because you don't have a problem with that, you do need a heat shield for a chimney on these winter camping tents."

(Slosh sound)... "You better get out of there." The group's guide worked to everyone warm, staying dry is their own responsibility.

"I didn't have snowshoes on, I broke through the ice."

This boot through the ice was minor, deeper water could have been more serious.

"For sure, in the winter there's more danger involved, just because of the cold and the wet, so teamwork does it right? ... Yeah, yup."

Most of these young adventurers are from Proctor where the High School DECA program has been working to get fellow young people interested in the outdoors. Interest has caught on for at least one....

"I've always liked the winter, but now that I've slept outside in the winter I even like it more, so I'm going to do it again."

At Jay Cooke state park, I'm David Hoole for nature matters.

Guided trips can be a good way to safely explore winter camping,
Glen Sorenson is the guide featured in this story.