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We began our long walk toward the gas station, pausing occasionally to cock a thumb at the rare passing car. I wasn’t too put out by our situation. Doug had been an insightful and humorous listener on the ride up and, as we hadn’t planned on hitting the trail till morning, I had nothing more important to be doing at the moment than spending time with him on this little pre-adventure. Besides, with each passing car, I was learning how to string together profanity in ways I had never even considered before. Eventually, the kindness of Michiganders (and one loquacious Canadian on his way home from a hockey tournament) came through, and we were soon back at the car with a very expensive gallon of gas. We spent the night in at a motel not too far from the trailhead, staying up way too late talking as Doug packed and re-packed his backpack.

Morning dawned on a beautiful day. The skies were a clear blue with the kind of fluffy clouds that landscape photographers dream of. From my vantage point by the hotel balcony overlooking Lake Superior, I noticed that the ice shelf extended as far as I could see. Not even a trace of open water. Out in the distance, a train of snowmobilers headed across the bay on the frozen lake, and my heart gave a little lurch. I began to suspect that something awesome might be about to happen.


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