Fall & Winter Wilderness Dive


I had only been photographing in Itasca State Park (Mississippi Headwaters) for a few years when I made this cool image of Wilderness Drive as it winds its way through a stand of virgin pine. The yellows, golds, and light greens provided a nice contrast to the dark green of the pines. I was thrilled with the image.

On the way home, I thought, what would that image look like if I had made it a few months later. The wheels were in motion, and on the following trip to the park, I set up a meeting with the assistant manager and explained my idea. He said that’s a good one. Then he said, “How are you planning on getting back in there in the snow?” You know we closed the road for the winter the other day. I said I would probably have to snowshoe in but would take a while to get the image and get back out. He laughed and said it might be easier if you have a snowmobile, he then says “I have the key, and I’ll let you use it as long as you lock the gate after you get in and again on your way out.”

That winter we were getting small amounts of snowfall. I had all of the arrangements set up so that on the day after a good snowfall, I could go. I had the 4X5 transparency of the fall image sitting on my desk so that I could line up the winter image with it. The snowmobile was fueled, and its cargo sled on the trailer just waiting to be hooked up behind the truck.


At long last, the snowfall I had been waiting for. So off I went full of excitement and eager for adventure. I stopped by the headquarters for the key. I then proceeded to the designated parking area and offloaded the sleds and hooked the cargo sled to the snowmobile and loaded all of my gear onto the cargo sled and covered it with a small tarp to keep the snow off it.

About ten minutes after leaving the car, I arrived at the locked gate, opened it, entered, and relocked the gate. I was now about fifteen minutes to the destination, and it was a beautiful winter day with no wind, so off I went. About five minutes from the gate, I realized that I had forgotten the fall transparency on my desk. There was no turning back now, so I decided that I had to do it from memory. Fortunately, I had been spending a lot of time looking at the fall image, trying to imagine the winter image.

After I made my exposures and had gotten everything stowed for the trip out, I started the snowmobile up and tried to go, only to discover the track had frozen to the ground. With a little extra effort, I was able to free it and was soon on my way back to the truck.

I think I did a pretty good job of duplicating the view. What do you think?