Peat fire on Bone Lake by moonlight

I didn’t bring a camera.  Instead, I’ll try for a thousand words.

Last weekend, Scott Norr and I trekked north of Finland into the Superior National Forest – not quite into the BWCA.  Last fall, I upgraded my winter gear – new parka and -20 degree sleeping bag – and I still hadn’t used it yet.  The last weekend in Feb. had to be it, or I was going to have to sleep in my deep freeze with a frozen roast for a pillow.

Long story short, it was a great little trip into Bone Lake.  We skiied in about a mile on a snowmobile trail (no fresh snow machine tracks).  The lake is a pristine little finger stocked with several trout varieties.  We caught a few splake, but kept only one.  No matter.  The weather was georgeous, with the best part being the full moon.  I howled, but only once.  One can over do some things.

Our camp fire was next to the root clod of a fallen tree, which was our only mistake.  Sunday morning, Scott pointed out that the clod was smoking.  Jigging for splake, I was like, “Dude, I’m fishing.”  Later, however, it became apparant that this clod was really on fire.  The clod, a clump of roots about the size of a Volkswagen Super Beetle circa 1974 (blue), was billowing yellowish smoke from various ports.

My first guess would have been that such a clod was filled with dirt between the roots.  Some fire hazard, I thought.  Turns out that the mass is similar to peat.  Who knew that such a storied fuel source would be such a great fuel source?  We really didn’t want to read about the Bone Lake Fire in the next day’s (week’s)  Cook County News Herald, so we spent a couple of hours fighting the fire with the traditional axe and frying pan.

I really like fire, with explains why my Bone Lake story is mostly about the fire.  By the way, it was my task to get up out of my warm bag (that’s a bit of a stretcher) that moring and get the fire going.  Scott enjoyed watching me struggle to light matches with my frozen claws (Jack Londonesque) from his bag for quite awhile before he just couldn’t stand my ineptitude any longer.  30 seconds of his assistance, the thing was blazing.  You know what happened after that.

I must also mention that there was an old wolf kill 50 yards from out camp.  That makes pretty much any winter camping experience complete.

My word count is 433, which is worth about a 433 megapixel picture in this economy.


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