Friday, March 10, 2000, 6:35 p.m.
We're back in the same camps we were in last night. Warmer tonight. Last night's low was apparently below zero. But on the sleds today, the sun was out and the wind was calm, downright pleasant.
A new, strange characteristic of the landscape revealed itself today. With the shift to and from freezing temperatures, the ice rumbles and crackles as it flexes under pressure. Rifts of ice, several inchies wide and crossing the entire lakes surface, buckled up during the night. Sometimes, as we sled by, we can see sub-surface cracks spread out like lightning bolds, poppng.
The dogs prefer the snow to ice. They pull the sled toward the snow patches, apparently because their feet have better traction. But the snow is so dry that the sled slows down as if the dogs are tugging it through sand.
The two teams met up for lunch, and we walked through the woods toward a waterfall, where we had a snowball fight. "I got a misdirected one," Marty said after she was hit. "That's the price you pay for going out with college students," she continued, smiling.
Along the way, we saw an otter (from a distance), a beaver (up close) and three bald eagles, soaring high. Continuing on the topic of nature sightings, we saw a young deer scamper across the lake this morning, and chased a squirrel away from our lunch yesterday. We've also seen tracks of wolves, foxes and rabbits.
Tonight, two dogs fought, one slicing open the other's paw. Meredith and Dave F. helped bandage the wound.
We still hold out the hope of seeing the northern lights under tonight's clear skies. But all we saw last night were thousands of stars and the glof of Ely's lights on the southern horizon.