It’s not difficult to find a beautiful sunset on the Gunflint Trail. It’s tempting to take photos every night as the sun goes down but I rarely do. Thankfully Josh was ambitious enough to snap a few photos the other night of the sunset on the Seagull River. Thanks Josh!
Owning a store like Stone Harbor gives me the privilege of meeting new and interesting people on almost a daily basis. I see families and individuals who love the outdoors and are anxious to share their latest exploits with me and my staff. This past week was no exception.
Two years ago we were visited by Gail Lowe, who was in Grand Marais while hiking the Superior Hiking Trail. We had a great conversation at that time and off she went. Last week we got a phone call from Gail, who was coming through Grand Marais again, this time while Hiking the North Country Trail. My first reaction was “North Country Trail? Do you mean the Border Route Trail?” No, the North Country Trail, which is a new hike of 4,600 miles from North Dakota to New York.
Without going into great detail about the hike and why she is doing it, let me refer you to Gail’s Facebook page. Between that and her web site, you can see she is striving to be the first woman to make this hike of 4,000 miles in one hiking season. She is doing this in memory of her daughter Becca, who lost her battle to breast cancer just a little over a year ago.
She will be continuing her trek in a few days and we will be following her as she moves on down the trail. Meanwhile, I will be writing a little more about her in the coming days.
7/26/14 -Our own Cindy Lou & Co. took a four-day trip ending last weekend. The group came back smiling with great tales of their trip. Three main themes included talk of the portages being hard in an awesome way, gorgeous scenery, and minimal traffic. For two days they saw only one other person! The group put in on Round Lake and cruised to Gillis, Little Sag, Crooked, and Tuscorora lakes and back to their start at Round.
The area Cindy, Jeanne, Sue & Carol paddled through on this trip was impacted in the springtime of 2007 by the Ham Lake fire. At that time, it was the most extensive wildfire in Minnesota in over 90 years, burning for 15 days and covering over 76,000 acres of wilderness. As the permit video says, "Remember the wilderness is always changing. Wind and fire are a natural part of this process." It's beautiful and inspiring to see the now vibrantly green area impacted by the Ham Lake fire thriving seven years later. This certainly is a destination to keep in mind when planning your next trip. Entry points in the area include Cross River (#50), Missing Link Lake (#51), and Brant Lake(#52). You can also reach this area through routes from Sawbill Lake including the Little Saganaga East and West Loops. Happy trip planning! -Carla
Smiling campers clockwise from Left to Right:
Jeanne Rysdahl, Cindy Lou Hansen, Sue Davis, Carol Perkins
Sunset on Cooked Lake
7/26/14 - Here is this week's edition of the Cook County West End News from WTIP-FM, North Shore Community Radio.
Our Voyageur Crew had a fantastic time at the Gunflint Trail canoe races on July 16th. The races are put on by the cabin owners to benefit the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department and they do a super job at feeding and entertaining the masses. The number of hours volunteers spend collecting donations for the raffles, preparing food to sell and planning the activities is greatly appreciated by the community who enjoys the event. So many people help out to make the event happen and we’re grateful for all of their work and the donation to the GTVFD.
We’re also happy they hold the races because it gives our summer crew something to look forward to mid-summer. I joked around with the crew telling them things like,
- “If you don’t win the race then don’t bother coming back to shore.”
- “If you aren’t puking then you aren’t paddling hard enough.”
- “Blood and bruising is expected.”
We have a mainly new crew this year and I guess they thought I was serious because we had bruising, bleeding and puking this year! They paddled hard and came home with lots of medals making Voyageur proud once again.
The 2014 Canoe Races were very successful because of the help of many volunteers and participants from up & down the Trail.
Volunteers (many of you):
1. Prepared and sold more than $2000 of food.
2. Sold thousands of raffle tickets.
3. Donated raffle and auction items that raised $6,000.
Proceeds to the GTVFD totaled $16,000, $4000 more than was raised in 2013.
Another $1,000 +/- is pending (or tentative).
We’ll see you next year at the races. Mark your calendar… July 15, 2015. Food, fun and more will begin at 4 PM.
This past week we’ve had some gorgeous weather for being out in the Boundary Waters. My son Josh has been taking advantage of the sunny skies and has been spending as much time as possible fishing in the BWCA. He no longer needs me to accompany him in the boat but I received a token invite to go onto Saganaga with him the other day. It was the 90+ degree day and the water was as flat and calm as I’ve ever seen in it. In spite of the heat and ripple free water we were able to land two fish. He caught a small lake trout and a big northern pike.
The rest of the week Josh has had a friend or a Voyageur Crew member to fish with so I’ve lost my spot in the boat. It’s great to see him enjoying fishing so much as I’d much rather him be outside in the boat than inside on an electronic gadget. The smallmouth bass have really started to bite this week, I guess the water is finally warm enough. Some spots on Saganaga my depth finder was recording water surface temperatures of 74 degrees! That’s hot for the big lake.
I have an opportunity to go fishing with Josh and his friend today, so I better get off of the computer and grab my pole. I have to take advantage of the invitations while they last.
Superior National Forest sent us more information about the LaCroix blowdown. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes that we can sometimes take it for granted. Thanks to everyone who has helped with the emergency response!
Many Cooperate in Emergency Response to Windstorm
Winds from a thunderstorm early July 22, 2014 caused trees to blow down in areas across the Superior National Forest, with the most impacts in the far northwest part of the Forest in northern St. Louis County, Minnesota. Multiple agencies coordinated to rescue people from two groups injured from falling trees while camped in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). No further storm related injuries have been reported and crews continue to patrol and assess storm impacts today. More…
Starting in the early morning hours of July, 22, the St. Louis Sheriff’s Department, Crane Lake Volunteer Fire Department (CLVFD), local businesses, and the Superior National Forest worked together to conduct emergency response operations in parts of the LaCroix Ranger District that were impacted by the powerful thunderstorm. Seven injuries were reported. One group used a satellite phone to call in an emergency to the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office at three a.m. from Lady Boot Bay of Lac LaCroix. Mark Zupancich of Zup’s Resort, Anderson’s Resort, SLCSR, and the Crane Lake Volunteer Fire Department (CLVFD) removed two injured people by boat to an ambulance. At approximately noon, a report of five more BWCAW visitors camped at Loon Lake-some who were still trapped in their tents from fallen trees, was received by SLCSR. Morse /Fall Lake First Responders (MFLFR), along with CLVFD members, extracted the trapped individuals. First responders accompanied two people who were flown out by a Forest Service floatplane to Ely. Three more people with less serious injuries were accompanied by first responders and brought out by boat to Crane Lake. In a separate medical evacuation that was not storm-related, a Forest Service floatplane was also used and assisted by MFLFR and the Lake County Sheriff on Tuesday.
In response to the storm, an Interagency Incident Management Team was formed to ensure other parties are not in need of assistance and assess storm impacts. Two Forest Service wilderness crews were already in the area of the storm and were redirected to check the safety of BWCAW visitors. Two Forest Service float planes flew patrols looking for any other injured parties and to assess the damage. One additional Forest Service crew was inserted by float plane to Lac LaCroix. A Minnesota State Patrol helicopter was on standby for closer assessments but was not utilized. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources used aircraft to help with public safety and storm damage assessments on the Canadian side of the border.
The Forest Service completed an aerial reconnaissance Tuesday and identified an area of concentrated impact in the Lac LaCroix Area, including Lady Boot Bay, Ge-be-on-e-quet Lake, Lady Boot Bay, Little Loon Lake, East Loon Bay, the Northern portion of the Sioux Hustler Trail, Little Gabro Area, Little Isabella Entry Point Area, Snake River Entry Point Area. Trees are also reported down at scattered locations across the Forest.
Based on current information, the Forest Service does not plan to close any part of the Superior National Forest due to the storm, including the BWCAW. Visitors to the Superior National Forest and surrounding area are urged to watch for downed trees and take particular caution around trees that may have been damaged but are partially suspended or not already on the ground. This is a reminder that visitors need to be prepared for conditions that may result from natural occurrences in the Wilderness and can expect downed trees on some portages and campsites as a result of this storm. Crews will continue patrols to assess and remove blown down trees as appropriate.
Lots going on this weekend. The highly anticipated Birney Quick Retrospective opens at the Johnson Heritage Post with a reception from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, followed by the North Shore Dragon Boat Festival.
The North Shore Dragon Festival begins in Grand Marais on Friday with drums sounding across the harbor as dragon boat teams practice for the races on Saturday. They’ll all gather together in their bright-colored T-shirts and zany costumes for the Parade of Teams down Wisconsin Street at 7 p.m. led by the Red Dragon puppet.
This is always a fun, high-energy event as the teams chant and sing and generally have a great time rallying their spirits for the upcoming race day. The parade ends in Harbor Park for the opening ceremonies, including “Waking the Dragon.”
A family paddle opportunity follows at 7:30 p.m. and the Splinters will play in the park from 7:30-8:30 p.m. All welcome.
The races begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday morning with live broadcasts by WTIP Community Radio on-site.
The dragon boat races and dragon dashes continue through the day with the divisional finals set for 3:15 p.m. The awards ceremony is at 5 p.m. There are also opportunities for youth and family paddles at 11:15 p.m. Register at the big tent by 11 a.m. Food is also available on-site.
The festival continues on Sunday when the Splinter Nation, an eight-piece dance band, will play in Harbor Park from 1-3 p.m. Sunday is also an alternate race day if there is inclement weather on Saturday.
For more information, visit www.northshoredragonboat.com. (Hint: Boats are often looking for paddlers… check at the big tent to see if there are openings.) Whether you race or not, it’s always an event to enjoy in Grand Marais.
“A Quick Reflection: A Retrospective Exhibit of the Art of Birney Quick” opens at the Johnson Heritage Post with a reception from 5-7 p.m. Refreshments will be served and the public is invited.
The exhibit will include a wide selection of his works, including paintings, pen & ink drawings and more. Quick was co-founder, with Byron Bradley, of the Grand Marais Art Colony, and his influence is still felt today.
He was a plein air painter and he and Bradley first brought students from the Minneapolis School of Art to Grand Marais for a summer arts program in 1947. Classes for children were also offered every Saturday. Quick and Bradley took over the arts program from the Minneapolis School of Art in 1956 and, over the years, expanded the programming to include a Friday night lecture series on art and a Town Hall Music Series, as well as a variety of classes and art opportunities for students.
Quick developed a strong artistic vision which has allowed the Art Colony to evolve and flourish even after his death in 1981.
During his career, Quick produced more than 10,000 artworks as well as wrote and illustrated “Adrift in the Aesthetic Latitudes.”
The exhibit will continue at the Johnson Heritage Post through Sept. 7. The Heritage Post is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 1-4 p.m. Sunday and Monday.
Other exhibits open this weekend include an exhibit of watercolors by Tim Pearson at the Spotlight Gallery at the Grand Marais Art Colony and an exhibit of acrylic paintings by Tim Young at the Coho Cafe in Tofte.
To learn more about how paintings are made, check out the studio demo at the Art Colony on Friday at 10 a.m. with plein air painter Neil Sherman. The demos are free and everyone is invited.
For theater lovers, the Grand Marais Summer Theater Festival continues this week at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts with performances of “Nana’s Naughty Nickers” ( 7 p.m. Thursday & Saturday) and “Nunsense: The Mega Musical” (7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Sunday.) The plays are a production of the Grand Marais Playhouse and will be performed in repertory through Aug. 10. For more info and tickets, visit www.grandmaraisplayhouse.com.
Also, the Cook County Farm & Craft Market is open at the Senior Center parking lot from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. The market features a variety of arts and crafts as well as baked goods, handmade soaps, gourmet salts and Fika coffees. Musicians often play during the market as well.
North House Folk School will hold free craft demonstration on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. as well.
In other art news. singer/songwriter Maria Nickolay will talk about her music and play a few songs on WTIP’s The Roadhouse on Friday night. Buck Benson will also talk about his upcoming bicycle adventure through South American on the show.
If you’re going to Thunder Bay on Saturday, check out the Die Active Y-Art Sale, an arts and antiques yard sale with emerging young artists and artisans. It will be held behind the Hoito (314 Bay Street) in the ‘midsummer garden.
The Y-Art sale is part of the 2nd annual Valley Fresh Buskers Festival, July 26-27.
The festival features street performers, food vendors as well as interactive audience events as well as lots of musicians. The festival is from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. (EST) both days and is free and will be held in the Bay and Algoma neighborhoods in Thunder Bay. For more info, click here.
Meanwhile, here are the music opportunities in Cook County:
Thursday, July 24:
- Joe Paulik, Music on the Beach, Lutsen Resort, 6 p.m.
Friday, July 25:
- Portage Band, American Legion, 6 p.m.
- Briand Morrison, Pie Place Cafe, 6 p.m.
- Maria Nickolay, Cascade Lodge Pub, 7:30 p.m.
- Joe Paulik, Music by the Campfire, Eagle Ridge Resort, 7:30 p.m.
- The Splinters, Harbor Park, 7:30 p.m.
- Michael Monroe, Bluefin Grille, 8 p.m.
- Cook County’s Most Wanted, Gunflint Tavern, 9 p.m.
Saturday, July 26:
- Cook County’s Most Wanted, Birch Terrace Lounge patio, 3 p.m.
- Joe Paulik, Bluefin Grille, 7 p.m.
- Michael Monroe’s Log Cabin Concert, rural Grand Marais, reservations at 387-2919, 7 p.m.
- Eric Frost, Cascade Lodge Pub, 7:30 p.m.
- Gypsy Lumberjacks, Gunflint Tavern, 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 27:
- SplinterNation, Bear Tree Park, 1 p.m.
- Gypsy Lumberjacks, Gunflint Tavern, 7:30 p.m.
We found a great variety of photos this week.
Let’s start out with some wonderful photograph of moose by Nace Hagemann.
And this one, taken at dawn:
Paul Sundberg visited Kakabeka Falls recently and took this wonderful image.
Layne Kennedy took a trip down the Missouri River recently and he and his fellow paddlers discovered that umbrellas were good sun shades, as along as it wasn’t too windy. Here is a gorgeous photo he took one evening.
Bryan Hansel was in Pictured Rocks National Park recently and took this wonderful shot of the Au Sable Lighthouse Station on a starry night.
Closer to home, David Johnson captured this evocative moment just before dawn in Grand Marais.
Summer really has arrived and here are two photos to prove it.
Thomas Spence posted this photo of flowers along the Poplar River the other day.
And David Grinstead posted this shot of brown-eyed Susans, which are blooming on the Gunflint Trail.
And finally, here two interesting lightning shots from the storms earlier this week.
The first is by David Johnson taken in Grand Marais.
And here’s a photo we found on Destination Duluth yesterday which we posted on our NorthShore ArtScene Facebook page.
It’s of the same thunderstorm that hit Grand Marais. The photo was taken by Cary Schmies, assistant district attorney in Dulut. People say that lightning never strikes the Lift Bridge. You decide.
Have a wonderful weekend!
This has been a devastating spring for loons in northern Wisconsin and Minnesota wth 70 % of loon nests abandoned. The host specific black fly species, simulium annulus, feeds exclusively on the Common Loon. Forever bothersome to nesting loons, these flies appeared in larger than normal swarms this year. According to Walter Piper, a Chapman University researcher of loon behavior in Wisconsin, the late ice out and late snow melt is part of what causes an extra large population of these flies, which differ from the black flies that leave huge welts on our human hairlines and pollinate blueberries.
Simulium annulus flies feed on a loon’s head as they sit on their nest, causing the loon to continuously dive off the nest to try to rid themselves of the pests. However, even when loons swim underwater, the flies can still stick to the loon’s head. Whenever the loons dive underwater to escape the flies, the eggs are exposed to cold and predation.
On Hungry Jack Lake, a loonwatcher observing a loon nesting on a man-made platform reported a huge cloud of flies swarming the loon’s head that was visible without binoculars from 100 ft away. That loon repeatedly got off the nest to dive and then had to fight off a crow going for the exposed eggs. The pair finally abandoned the nest and after one week the eggs were taken to the DNR office in Grand Marais to be transferred to Grand Rapids, MN for contamination studies.
This tragedy of events also touched the loon pair who nest on the man-made loon nesting platform in the Chik-Wauk Museum bay. Over the winter, the platform had broken loose and when Kathy and Mike Lande towed the refurbished platform back to the nesting site in mid-May, the pair swam alongside, diving under the canoe and pecking at the platform. The loons started nesting on May 19th and had been on the nest for two weeks before the flies hatched. The pair abandoned the nest after 20 days of incubation, 8-10 days short of hatching. When Kathy went out to the nest a week after it had been abandoned, there were no eggs so it is assumed that the flies drove them off the nest and a predator got the eggs. Although the pair stayed around the nest for awhile and showed signs of renesting, they finally swam away. Sadly after two successful nesting years in 2011 and 2012 producing two chicks each year, both 2013 and 2014 have been unsuccessful nestings.
Some of the pairs on Gunflint Trail lakes renested, with chicks hatching in mid-July. This is very late in the season for loon chicks to be hatching and the loons now have a finite amount of time to learn how to survive on their own before the autumn migration.
Now is the time for boaters to be very “Loon Aware” as chicks in their first three-four weeks are very vulnerable, especially to speeding watercraft and boats pulling waterskis and tubes. Anglers should be cautious when loons are near, since bait on the end of a line looks like free lunch to loons. Loons may dive for the bait, swallowing hook and line.
The re-nesting loon on Hungry Jack Lake has a fishing line dangling from his or her beak. When the loon is not on the nest, it spends more time trying to get out the line than eating. DNR officials contacted say it is impossible to catch a loon and remove the hook, so the loon will most likely have a slow and painful death. Local business owners and anglers have reported loons taking bait, so it is a problem that anglers should be aware of. When loons are about, anglers should pull in the line and go elsewhere to fish.
The DNR is collecting any abandoned eggs and/or dead loons. If found, they should be put in plastic bags, frozen, and labeled with the information on where and how the specimen was found, then taken to the DNR office in Grand Marais. Local DNR wildlife manager Dave Ingebrigtson can be reached at 218-387-3034 with any questions or concerns.
Report submitted by Gunflint Trail Historical Society board member Phyllis Sherman.