Ty Olson was crossing Saganaga Lake as of Wednesday heading toward the Granite River on his 250-mile ski trek across the top of Minnesota.
Olson, who is carrying a GPS transponder showing his location at all times, left civilization and the west end of Rainy Lake on Feb. 11. He expects to ski to Grand Portage on Lake Superior in about 30 days total, all of it along the Minnesota-Ontario border route used for centuries by native people.
He filed this report earlier in the week when he by chance ran into Paul Schurke, Ely outfitter and noted polar explorer, at Curtain Falls.
"I randomly met North Pole legend Paul Schurke in what I thought would be the most remote part of my trip. Paul and his Wintergreen dogsled team put in at Angleworm portage and bushwhacked a series of winter portages down to Curtain Falls where I encountered them. His guided group looked pretty worn! A tough trip," Olson posted using his GPS device. “Paul and Will Steger co-led the first unsupported (no resupplies) dogsled expedition to the North Pole in what has become one of most legendary feats in polar travel: 1000 miles, 2 months, -75°. To meet he and his wife, Sue, all the way out at Curtain Falls on day 14 is definitely a surreal highlight of my trip! I camped with them for the night and left late the next day.”
Olson had consulted with Schurke before his trip but had never met him before.
Olson is breaking trail on his solo journey that is aimed at raising awareness of Native American issues and is raising money to provide firewood to needy people on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. He's now raised nearly $37,000, approaching double the $29,000 he had hoped to raise. To learn more or donate, go to skiforfire.com.