Echo Trail in a climate-changed winter


Spent the past few days in Ely, MN, off the Echo Trail in the BWCAW. In January, this is typically a safe bet for winter recreation. These days, however, nothing is assured. We did have a couple passable days, and used one to explore the Hegman Lake area and find the famous pictographs there. If you've not seen them, check out the image in the "Lake Superior" album. The moose depiction is really something.

In spite of the cold the first couple days, we encountered some open water on Hegman, as well as LOTS of slush just under the snow cover. This made crossing the lake a challenge. Fortunately, we'd gone sans snowshoes, so didn't have to deal with them getting weighted down by the slush. On our last full day, we attempted the Secret/Blackstone Lakes trail. Very packed for the first half mile, so we again left behind our snow shoes. After that first distance, however, the trail got less & less traveled, and, with the warming temps, we were sinking in up to our knees with every step. The snow was becoming heavier seemingly by the minute, particularly in the sun, so we abandoned the loop about half way in. "Back in the day", I never would have expected such a warm day in January.

My partner on the trip is just getting into photography. It was interesting to see her learn from the same mistakes all of us have made. She was quite disappointed in soft images due to her aperture being too large. Fortunately for her, we didn't encounter too many great "photo ops", so the price of learning was low. It never ceases to amaze me how we can understand a concept on an academic level, but applying it seems to be the only way to really learn. I can't count the times that I've made a foolish photographic mistake when I'm anxious to get a shot. Experience seems to be the only antidote for that. Not a bad thing, as it's a good reason to just get out and shoot.

Although there were not many great opportunities, a few images could be salvaged by converting to monochrome. Check them out in the album.