Warming Back Up at Luther

We've returned! After surviving winter camping, completing our own independent research, and drinking excessive amounts of hot chocolate, the Winter Ecology class has finally departed from the Boundary Waters. While everyone is appreciating our reunion with the outside world, we all will miss this cold place that we've come to love. Here's a glance at what our last week looked like.

1/14 - Max Walker
Today I spent the morning finishing my lab report in the tree ecology of one of the forests near Camp Menogyn. Two of the tree species in our data are dependent on fire as a disturbance, although the forest has not been burned for about 260 years. This prompted interesting predictions for the future of the forest within our reports. We spent the afternoon exploring the surrounding areas in search of inspiration for our independent research projects.

1/17 - Camryn Berg
Today we headed out on our excursion of winter camping. We grabbed our gear, strapped it to a sled, and headed on our way. We set up our shelter in the woods. After clearing out an area, we made a fire, cooked some bomb mac and cheese, and I went to bed shortly after that. The night was slightly cold, and it snowed throughout, but we had a tarp over our heads, some prebuilt snow walls to protect against the wind, and a -30 degree sleeping bag to crawl in, so I stayed warm, dry, and happy!

1/18 - David Herrik
Both groups hiked to Caribou Rock on their full day of winter camping. It was a very snowy day. There were thrills and spills on the hike, as many found themselves sliding down the slopes they climbed!

1/19 - Elise Carlson
It seems fitting that we would get one of our few glimpses of the sun on our last morning of winter camping. After a long weekend of putting our winter skills to the test -- whether it was conserving heat for sleeping, snowshoeing through steep trails and over creeks, or boiling lake water for drinking -- we were met with a beautiful morning to make our way back to Menogyn. Camp welcomed us with a hot meal of chili, and everyone settled into our warm cabin. Looking into the coming days, this camping weekend has set us up nicely to go into research about winter.

1/20 - Amanda Johnson
Today was awesome. Our guide Ty went stargazing with us, and I learned a lot. The sky is so clear up here. It's amazing. Then we read stories and joked around -- it was a homey feeling.

1/23 - Lauryn Swigart
Today is the last day at Menogyn. This J-Term has taught me how to grow into a stronger, more independent version of myself. It has shown me what I had taken for granted -- mainly, free access to a seemingly unlimited water supply. I learned how much my body could endure on long hikes in snowshoes and winter camping. My fondest memory here has been singing from a songbook accompanied by guitar and ukulele, which made me feel so alive. The coziness of the lodge with hot drinks surrounded by Luther students is a memory I'll never forget.

While we may be back on campus, we aren't quite finished yet. This week will be spent analyzing the data we collected up north and making posters of our findings, which will be presented at the J-Term research symposium. Check back soon for one final update!

Our final trek across the lake to depart Camp Menogyn and the Boundary Waters.