The Ely explorer, now 70, has found a formidable challenge right in his backyard. On Wednesday, Steger plans to embark on a monthlong, 200-mile solo trek by canoe-sled through spring break-up along the Minnesota-Ontario border.
“I feel so fortunate I found something where I could stretch my skills,” Steger said in a telephone interview last week. “The learning curve is really high.”
He will make the journey hauling a reinforced canoe-sled behind him over the ice, paddling open rivers where he can. He has made similar ice-out trips, often solo, several times over the past 20 years, he said.
Steger will leave from Saganaga Lake at the tip of the Gunflint Trail, travel through the heart of Ontario’s Quetico Provincial Park, then down the Maligne River to Lac La Croix on the border. From there, he’ll travel west to Namakan Lake in Voyageurs National Park, finishing either by continuing west to International Falls or traveling east along the border to his homestead north of Ely.