For our third trip this summer, my crew and I ventured out to the Banadad Ski Trail in the Boundary Waters. On day one, we encountered a massive rainstorm, which didn’t let up for more than five minutes at a time. Somehow, the crew’s spirits weren’t dampened, despite the wet and cold that we encountered.
In the mornings the crew would groggily rise out of sleeping bags and under the group tarp for breakfast, getting ready for the day, and silently paddle across Rush Lake to the ski trail.
The first section of the trail that we worked on did not require much maintenance and soon enough, my crew and I ended up in a burn area. Our whole goal of the trip was to clear the burn area. According to our project partner Ted, it was the area most in need of work. Trees were scattered all across the trail, brush was beginning to grow, and dead trees were leaning into the trail corridor.
The Banadad Ski Trail and the Kekekabic Trail (our second trip), were both burnt in the Ham Lake Fire of 2007. Although the fire was the same, the remnants of the Ham Lake Fire at both trails were vastly different. Instead of brush taking over most of the trail, trees on the Banadad were still standing, although dead. There is something liberating about pulling a tree right out of the ground and chucking it into the woods.
One morning, my crew leader Joel and another crew member paddled back to our truck in order to pick up a tool that we needed. During that time, myself and my two other crew members hiked in the mile and half to our work site. While we were hiking, we happened upon two moose, a cow and a calf. They were absolutely beautiful and ran off into the woods, thankfully not charging us. I had mentioned earlier in the week that if we were to ever see a moose or two on trail, it would definitely be on this trip–moose scat and hoof prints scattered the cleared area. I was ready to see a moose and I’m so glad I did!
The Banadad Ski Trail was a beautiful trail before we arrived to it, and as we were
hiking out on day seven, I was amazed by the beauty of it all. The battle in the work that we’re doing is staying positive–something that I strive to do everyday. Every morning I wake up and breathe in the fresh air of the wilderness and realize that I’m truly in a wonderful place; a place where most people will never venture to, a place where wildlife is thriving, the air is crisp, and nature is truly wild.