Crossing Lake Mille Lacs, MN Feb 2021

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borchjd
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Joined: Tue Mar 30, 2021 9:34 pm

Crossing Lake Mille Lacs, MN Feb 2021

Post by borchjd » Tue Apr 20, 2021 11:40 am

In February I crossed Lake Mille Lacs in Minnesota from Garrison public boat landing to Liberty Beach. This is one of the largest lakes in MN, and the conditions were superb. We had a week of below zero weather followed by a dusting of 1-2inches of light snow. The temps during the trek ranged from about 0 - 25 degrees F depending on wind. Day 1 was absolutely fantastic - a bit windy but nice, cobalt blue skies. Day 2 was a complete whiteout and we used traditional compass navigation for the whole thing. We camped in the geographic center of the lake. This post will have some photos, and I'll post a second one here with more.

I went and grabbed my grandpas 215cm Epoke 1000s with 3pin bindings and the Baffin Polar boots I got on sale from shoes.com for under $160. They worked phenomenally - just needed a more supportive insole. I'm 6ft 2in for reference and size 14 feet. I actually live streamed this trek for my High School Biology students that I teach so they could follow along. See the link below:

https://www.brainerddispatch.com/news/e ... adventures

Thanks everyone for your knowledge and help on the forum! Ask any questions you might need!
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borchjd
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Re: Crossing Lake Mille Lacs, MN Feb 2021

Post by borchjd » Tue Apr 20, 2021 11:44 am

Some more photos. The lights in the background are ice shacks, not cabins/land. There are thousands of ice shacks dotted across this lake, which made navigation easy near the perimeter.
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Mille Lacs Lake Trip final (1).pdf
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Last edited by borchjd on Wed Apr 28, 2021 10:48 am, edited 1 time in total.



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lowangle al
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Re: Crossing Lake Mille Lacs, MN Feb 2021

Post by lowangle al » Tue Apr 20, 2021 7:12 pm

Cool trip, what were you fishing for?



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Woodserson
Posts: 2574
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Location: New Hampshire
Ski style: Bumps, trees, steeps and long woodsy XC tours
Favorite Skis: DH: Voile V6, Altai KOMs, XCD: Asnes FT62, XC: Nansen, E99, Bonna 1800
Favorite boots: T2Eco, T4, Rossignol BCX10
Occupation: Retro Rager-grouch. Flailmeister. E99 Nerd

Re: Crossing Lake Mille Lacs, MN Feb 2021

Post by Woodserson » Wed Apr 21, 2021 12:44 pm

This is great! Thank for posting.

What's up with the boots, I can't find them anywhere. Are they 3 pin boots or you did some sweet modifications to get them to work?



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borchjd
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Re: Crossing Lake Mille Lacs, MN Feb 2021

Post by borchjd » Thu Apr 22, 2021 8:44 am

Thanks! Was fishing for Tulibee and Walleye - unfortunately all that were in the geographic center were tulibee - still fun though!

The boots are the baffin guide pro -my bad. Here is a link to Walmart of all places that still caries them at the moment. I could do an entire review on these boots - one thing to keep in mind is that the lacing system SUCKS! I untied the boots entirely, bought long hockey skate laces, and retied them with those wrapping the laces around the inner boot like a mukluk instead of using the eyelits. That worked out perfectly well and I have no complaints. Here is a link:

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Men-s-Baffin ... lsrc=aw.ds



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lowangle al
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Re: Crossing Lake Mille Lacs, MN Feb 2021

Post by lowangle al » Thu Apr 22, 2021 2:11 pm

Thanks, I had to look up tulibee, never heard the term before.

I also never knew Baffin made a three pin boot that could be gotten from Walmart. I would think that was a special order, or were they on the shelf?



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borchjd
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Re: Crossing Lake Mille Lacs, MN Feb 2021

Post by borchjd » Thu Apr 22, 2021 3:50 pm

I actually bought them from shoes.com at the time. They offered a 30% teacher discount so I got them for $150 or so. I was reading some polar exploration books (Ice Balloon) and skimmed some modern polar expeditions and came across those Baffins.

They're really, really warm, and ski very well on flat or gently rolling terrain. They're nice and flexible to allow you to essentially walk with a pulk on when using skins. I did jerry-rig some kicker skins on those Epoke 1000s to help with pulling the sled, which did work decently well.

I'll be using those baffins for other lake crossings and BWCAW trips where the removable liner is helpful on the multiday trips. The liner is good - but definitely holds moisture. I found a merino wool liner under my thick wool socks was the perfect ticket, and I had no moisture issues (kept the tops of the boots loose around the gaiter to let heat/water escape, too).

Definitely get a good insole, like superfeet, for the boot. I found by the end of the trip that my foot was sore from how soft the boot was. I put in an insulated winter-wool Superfeet insole with some structural support and that boot is just fantastic now - I can ski all day long pulling a pulk, never get cold, and has great control. Very happy with that purchase.

If you want any tips or help with the boot, let me know! Feel free to send a DM.

Josh



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borchjd
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Re: Crossing Lake Mille Lacs, MN Feb 2021

Post by borchjd » Thu Apr 22, 2021 3:52 pm

I should add that those baffins (even the upgraded model) are not work the $400-$500 they're sometimes listed as. I don't think I'd spend more than $250 as the gaiter zipper is only so-so compared to my integrated mountaineering boots whose gaiters are far, far superior for almost the same price.

If you can get a deal on them under $200 and have some cold temps or colder multi-day trips across gentle terrain, I would think they'd be tough to beat.



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fgd135
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Re: Crossing Lake Mille Lacs, MN Feb 2021

Post by fgd135 » Sun Apr 25, 2021 9:56 am

Epoke 1000's are my favorite of all time touring skis! Out here in Colorado they are as rare as flying pigs, although I know it was always a more popular ski in Wisconsin and Mn., and the lakes, so maybe would be easier to still find 'em in that part of the world. I feel very lucky to still own a pair, 35+ years after the end of production.
Wonderful kick and glide, stable and predictable, more versatile than the Epoke 900's, and with a wood core that will never lose it's flex and camber...
Last edited by fgd135 on Sun Apr 25, 2021 5:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.



User avatar
Woodserson
Posts: 2574
Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2015 11:25 am
Location: New Hampshire
Ski style: Bumps, trees, steeps and long woodsy XC tours
Favorite Skis: DH: Voile V6, Altai KOMs, XCD: Asnes FT62, XC: Nansen, E99, Bonna 1800
Favorite boots: T2Eco, T4, Rossignol BCX10
Occupation: Retro Rager-grouch. Flailmeister. E99 Nerd

Re: Crossing Lake Mille Lacs, MN Feb 2021

Post by Woodserson » Sun Apr 25, 2021 11:49 am

fgd135 wrote:
Sun Apr 25, 2021 9:56 am
Epoke 1000's are my favorite of all time touring skis! Out here in Colorado they are as rare as flying pigs, although I know it was always a more popular ski in Wisconsin and Mn., and the lakes, so maybe would be easier to still find a pair in that part of the world. I feel very lucky to still own a pair, 35+ years after the end of production.
Wonderful kick and glide, stable and predictable, more versatile than the Epoke 900's, and with a wood core that will never lose it's flex and camber...
WHY do you do this to me.

WHY



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