Peter Sallis Departs

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 3.54.03 PMIt is with some regret that I note the passing of Peter Sallis. He is last of the crew that brought the wonderful “Last of the Summer Wine” to the world. One of the great joys of watching the show over its 37 year run!

If you are in doubt about just how much I enjoy this show I share the pdf below.


Here’s a link to a PDF of the actors, years, deaths and departures. Not really phone friendly and on Google Drive. Zoom in and enjoy.


Notes after departure…

The group got onto the ice on Saturday without a glitch. They pulled sleds onto Snowbank Lake just ahead of 3:30 after a hearty meal in Ely. Some nervousness but the sleds looked well packed and the weather was warm. A bit slushy on the ice at the start but they found the snowmobile track that was well-packed and moved more quickly.


Rains approach Ely with heavier rain 80 miles out

It is a bit odd not being there, but it does give me a chance to post some things. One is that the challenge for this year will most likely be today. The rain that is just starting here may fall on them off and on today as well. They have several strategies for dealing with it, but the challenge will be there just the same- we’ll look for stories on their return. The worst year for year was about a decade ago in the Gunflint area where it rained for two days straight. Looking at the Weatherspark graphic it seems that the impact of the rain will be later and perhaps not so great.


Right now Thursday looks like clear weather, the drive should get us into town around supper. Look for an update later in the week and phone calls or texts as the students get service once more. As always, call, text or comment with questions.


Some details and links

ice bridgeI hope your preparation has been going well. We have no comments posted yet on what people have found for gear at a good price. Remember that the cost of things will be less if you do not wait until the end.

On that note, was picking up a few things at my local Ace Hardware this weekend and saw that they have the type of sled we need in stock. Unfortunately they are still at full price. In a week I’ll check again to see if they are closing them out.

Here’s some links from the meeting at conferences a week or so ago:

Details on this year’s dates and times

A previous post on boots and the importance of liners If you find liners at a good price be sure to post your find here.

2017 First Entry

100_0343Welcome to parents and participants in this year’s expedition. Please forward this site to anyone in your household who needs it and did not get the email.

After the meeting last night let’s begin with just a few quick entries:

Start by scanning back through this blog for previous entries on previous expeditions. Suggestions about boots and other gear are still valid and may help you as you work through the gear list.

There are two health forms due!

The school board form is at : Overnight Field Trip Form  and the SES form, that can be filled out on the computer then printed and signed, is at Field Study Common Application:

Thanks for getting those turned in. They can be given to me in the gold house or brought to the nurse in the office.

As you start to look around post comments to this site when you find sales, deals, and sites for any of the items off the supply list. That way others can use your good finds. Do not forget about Goodwill, Unique, Savers and other places. Often these have had the best selections of clothing and boots.


Away we go, looks like Ely will be cooling down in about a week!


Gear and wrap

crewThanks to all for a very successful expedition this year!

Great participants and a great place combined to give us plenty of challenge and plenty experiences to carry forward.

All the loaned gear needs to be returned sometime in the next week. Bring all the items back at the same time. Each one needs to be clean and dry. Here are some suggestions;

  • Sleeping bags should be washed in cold water with a mild detergent and rinsed well. Tumble dry on a cold setting (with a clean tennis shoe if possible). Hang to dry completely.
  • Sleeping pads should be wiped down with a simple cleaner (409 or similar) and then wiped with a wet cloth. Dry it, roll it, and put it back into the clean bag.
  • Bivi sacks, bivi sack bags, sleeping pad rolls, stuff sacks, duffel bags need to be washed in warm water with detergent. Zip the duffel closed leaving a small opening at the end of one zipper- this will keep the liner in the bag. Dry all but the bivi on a warm setting. The bivi should be either spun at a cold setting and hung up or simply hung to dry.

One Final Post!

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 8.00.14 PMNo phone calls, no emails and no texts tonight- students must be ready to go. Just finished packing the sled myself and everything seems to fit, although there will certainly be adjustments on the trail. Please get ahold of me if problems arise. A reminder to arrive tomorrow morning between 7:00 and 7:15 to get things packed away. Parents do not need to stay after drop off but are welcome to if they would like.

A word about the weather. Every year of the 19 we have taken this field study there has been some kind of challenge. Two feet of snowfall, temps always below zero, no snow on the trails, constant rain and more have given groups a bit of a test. This year the slush and water on top of the ice might be our chore. It is still drizzling in Ely at this moment and although our lakes are far enough north of Ely to have slightly different weather it would be difficult to imagine it being too much drier.

Tomorrow we should see some snow flurries and possibly more later in the week. No sign of rain in the forecast currently. It also looks like our Sunday night will be in the neighborhood of zero. A cold night but one everyone is prepared for it (and then some). We should be good to go for the week ahead.

The group did a great job of prepping the last two days! Even without Bear (he could not make it down to help) we got things done in time. Tomorrow’s final packing should go well as well, especially if we do not leave the food in the school freezer (usually we can just leave it out back on the fire escape 🙂 Looking forward to seeing everyone in the morning. Sleep well and have a nice breakfast before you arrive. We will be stopping for lunch in Ely around noon and for a bathroom break about half way there.

Some Final Prep Items


Nalgene Bottle

We had a good run in class today. Skis, poles, snowshoes, ski boots in hand, groceries purchased and individual gear checked. The group worked well and got plenty done.

Tomorrow we will work on sleds that need it (a surprising number of participants had not yet purchased rope). We’ll walk through a typical day, repack our food for the wilderness, hand out the information for home, and get our crew gear ready to go.

We’ll also be sure that we understand the BWCAW and why it is so unique.

The gear list continues to need review. Set out everything on your bed or on the floor and slowly review the list to see what you may still need. Remember our discussions today and the lists of gear that past students have made for you.

We’ve landed on a departure time of 7:30 on Saturday morning. Arrive at the school between 7:00-7:15. The staff will be there by 7:00.


One week to go…

020_16AHere’s a few things to consider as we prepare to head north!

It is assumed that your health form is in the nurse’s office. See her tomorrow if this is not the case.

Our Schedule

  • We have class on Thursday and Friday this week at the school. These are all-day intensive theme classes. You are expected to attend your home high school classes, if any, during these days. We will be: learning about wilderness travel, creating our menus, buying and repacking the food, learning to use camp stoves and gear, and reviewing your gear during these two days.
  • We depart this coming Saturday soon after 7:00 am. We ask that you arrive between 6:45 – 7:00. This will give us enough time to make our way to the first night campsites in time to make some supper.
  • During the drive to Snowbank Lake we will stop for a bathroom break in Hibbing and for lunch in Ely. Ely will be the last town of any size that we will see for the week. Bring some cash for the drives if you will be needing snacks at the stops. Road meals are included in your payments.
  • We will be traveling in the BWCAW until early Thursday morning when we will make our way back to the forest service parking lot to pack the vehicles and head off for a camper shower and some breakfast before driving home. Our lunch stop on the way home will most likely be a Subway or something similar.
  • We hope to arrive at the school Thursday in the early evening depending on road and traffic conditions. Typically we pull in between 6:00 and 7:00.
  • You will get a copy of this schedule and emergency contact information on Friday.

Your Gear

  • By now you should have secured the gear that we have mentioned in the meetings as being difficult to get. Sleeping bags, boots, liners especially. One of the participants suggested that Sorel is running a half price sale on liners, be sure to check on shipping options if you decide to go that direction. A copy of the gear list is at:
  • I do have some sleds and sleeping pads available. Please check with me if you will need one of ours.
  • We will provide you with a large duffel bag for you to pack your gear. Items will need to be packed into smaller bags inside the big bag when possible. For example, your wool socks might all be packed into one water tight bag, your underwear into another, your toiletries into yet another, an so on. The easiest waterproof bags are off-brand zipper style bags. The name brands tend to be twice the price of the more generic ones but do not serve our needs any better. One and two-gallon sizes are what you will use.

The weather

More to follow…

Let’s Talk Boots

sorrelThis week several students have stopped down in Gold House to have me look at boots and sleeping bags. Please feel free to continue to bring in gear for me to review. We will also be looking at these during the two days of intensive theme classes before we depart on Saturday.

Boots seem to be the biggest concern this week. Let’s review a few items about boots.

  • The outside of the boots need to keep your feet dry as they march through the snow and slush. Be sure to waterproof the boots if they are made of leather. If the outside of the boot gets too wet it will freeze making your effort to get in them a challenge in the morning!
  • The next layer of the boot is a removable liner. These liners are typically made of wool felt but some modern versions have synthetic insulation as well. The gear list suggests two pair of the liners. This allows you to have one dry pair when you need it. Even if the boot is waterproofed the sweat from your feet will provide plenty of moisture to the liners.
  • Moving inside, the next layer is a warm pair of socks. These need to be non-cotton socks that have some bulk but still allow a bit of room in your boots when on. You want 2-3 pair of these including the pair you might wear at night.
  • The last layer is a sock liner. These thin, synthetic socks wick moisture away from your feet when they are in the boot. This helps reduce both moisture and friction to prevent blisters. You will need a couple pair of these, more if your feet tend to sweat.

For those who have not yet picked up boots you should be looking now. Places like Savers and Unique and such will often have a handful. Sorrel has some selections on sale at their website.  Boot liners will be more difficult to find in stores. Online the price has been ranging from $25 – $40. If someone finds a great deal be sure to let me know and I’ll spread the word. Consider commenting to this post with a link to what you have found.

Hope this helps.

2016 First set of reminders

Greetings to all. Good to see most of you at conferences on Jan. 21. If you look through the blog you will find other notes for this expedition in other years. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind for this year, a month away from departure.

  • The Winter Expedition site is at  There you will find copies of the handouts from the various conference night meetings. This includes the equipment list.
  • Health forms and payments should be taken care of before week’s end. If you need more time with the payments please contact the office at 952-431-8750. Health forms are at Health forms can be completed online and then printed, signed, and turned in at the nurse’s office. Likewise, they can be printed and completed offline.
  • BOOTS! Be sure to invest time finding a pair of boots and two liners. Try them on with two pair of socks or one thick pair. Remember- no cotton( or a very small percentage of) in those boots. Wool, synthetics, blends are all good.
  • BAGS! You want to sleep well at night to keep your mind sharp for the travels and camp activities of the next day. Most people accomplish this with two bags. One around zero degrees and one around 20. Be sure you fit comfortably in any system you find. Bring the bags in and drag them down to gold house if you are unsure that they will work.
  • Pads. You need at least one good blue foam/ closed cell pad or one good Thermarest style pad. You will lose most of your nighttime heat to the ground below you.