Thursday, March 9, 2000, 4:25 p.m.

The day began at 5:30 a.m. with breakfast and then gearing up and loading the dogs into the trailer. Thirty minutes or so later, after a van ride, we were at Moose Lake. There was a dusting of snow on the roads, but on the lake most of it had billowed into piles.


After a frustrating and miraculous loading of the sleds, the dog teams shot down a graveley boat launch onto the lake. For the dogs, nothing seems to draw them more powerfully than the open lake, and their desire to tear down it tugging a sled. They work tirelessly all day. I was awestruck, prettymuch, by how fast and smooth the sleds can go. Before long, we'd left country, for a quick undeclared lunch in Canada.


Each group has three sleds, enough for everyone to ride (2-3 people per sled). Guides led on skis. All of our gear — clothes, tents, food, dog food — fit crammed into the sleds. We covered 15-20 miles between 9 and 4. The scenery is lovely but monotonous. It's all frozen lakes, except for one short portage that was a gravel road with icy patches.

An unxpected delight of this trip is the frozen lakes — huge, flat, solid planes. Wispy snow blows over the random, angled ice patterns. But the miles of flatness toys with depth perception, and the quickness of the dogsled throws off your sense of distance and direction.

Now in camp, it's below freezing, like it's been all day. But the sun is out and the wind has stopped. The crews are each camping on either side of Washington Island. We've built a fire and set up tents, though some of us plan to sleep outside.

Lakes visited today: Moose, Sucker, Newfound, Basswood.

In camp