It started at 5:30am on a Friday morning with the temperature close to -25. Bundled up and sleds loaded Jared and I began the 80 mile trek to our cabin and would check traps along the way. The previous week temps had been as high as 50 degrees causing the creeks and rivers to overflow and open new leads of water making our ride all the more dangerous as 90% of it is not over land but over the ice. A couple days of -25 however took care of most of the problem spots we deal with. There is one though that never seems to be good and it got us by surprise this time.
We stopped to look at the crossing and walked out into the overflowing water, it was 12 to 14” deep with a little slush, we could cross this easily. What we didn’t know was that just over half way across there was an ice ridge that raised 6 inches and on the other side was 6 feet of open water almost 5 feet deep! Too late, Jared was splashing through at 30mph and because of the cold he created a huge cloud of steam so I lost sight of him. All I could hear was ice and plastic breaking and then an engine that revved to the moon! Once the steam cleared there was Jared standing next to a flipped machine in the water waving his arms indicating it was no good. It’s cold out and Jared just did a swan dive into the water so time is of the essence here, that’s why there aren’t any pictures of Jared in the water. I ran up the bank aways then plunged in and helped him stand the machine back up then pulled his sled to the bank. Jared rode the machine over, hooked the sled back up and rode back down to good ice where my machine was still sitting. He was going to fast for brakes and couldn’t turn in the slushy water so he just yanked the sucker over on its side and skidded/splashed to a stop only 3 feet from the open water on an ice ledge. That didn’t have us scratching our heads, it had us counting our blessings, that was close. We searched around and found another way, equally as wet just no open water. Once safely across it was time to quickly change into dry gear, Jared carries a complete set with him. Just my feet were wet so I stuffed hand warmers in the collars of my boots and that was enough. It was a cold and soggy 25 miles further to the cabin.
A couple weeks ago we had a wolverine spring a trap and get a free meal then he followed our trail and ate the bait from over 20 marten sets springing a lot of those traps as well, pretty crafty. Once a critter gets a free meal though it is likely to return. Seeing how he got the trap out last time I fixed er up and when he returned on an empty stomach, he stayed on an empty stomach! Got em!
A few more marten finished out our catch for the weekend. Notice how iced up Jared is after his dunk, had to stand by the wood stove for a while before he could move the zippers. We checked another 70 sets the next day most of which had been robbed by another wolverine, what a bother. Got some good sets out for him though so we’ll see what happens when we check again in a week.
We broke out several more miles of the line and explored a lot of new country. The exploring part is so exciting that I didn’t turn back in time and ran out of fuel before I made the cabin, Jared had split off aways back to look for a stash of old traps so I did a little walking, no big deal, it’s a pretty place to walk!