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Hop Crop Thriving in Hovland

Voyageur Brewing - 2 hours 21 min ago

Susan Thompson of North Road Hops just up the road in Hovland, Minnesota has spent the summer growing a variety of hops for Voyageur Brewing Company. Amazingly, hops grow wild in our harsh northern climate and even other varieties will thrive as perennials. Thompson says, “The latitude of the hop yard on North Road is at the same measure on the map of most of the finest hop-growing sites around the globe.” Despite their heartiness, preparing for a superior crop has been a laborious undertaking. Thompson has amended the soil with 7-foot towers of peat from Meadowland, MN, and uses untreated white cedar from Big Falls, MN for trellises and poles. Because hops have an enormous appetite for nitrogen, Thompson applies fish emulsion to the plants (an excellent byproduct of our local fishing industry). Her main crops are Cascade, Centennial and Vojvodina hops. Cascade hops are a well-known and beloved workhorse of the craft beer industry, forming the basis for many pale ales, IPAs, porters and wheat beers. Centennial hops, sometimes called a “Super Cascade,” are prized for their balance of aroma and bittering content, and used in various ales and wheat beers. Vojvodina hops, native to Yugoslavia, are a growing star in the hop world, valued for their vigor, bittering properties and unique aroma of cedar and tobacco. Thompson is also experimenting with Crystal and Fuggle hops as future potential crops. A member of the Minnesota Hop Growers Association, Thompson is passionate about research, collaboration and making things grow. She says, “I appreciate the seasonal varieties a craft brewer is able to produce. Being able to be a part of both has been enormous fun. Think spring!”

Categories: Member Feeds

Happy Snowy Halloween

Boundary Waters Blog - 8 hours 1 min ago

Snow has fallen. Not too much but enough to cover the ground with white flakes.  Tony took a picture I thought I would share with you. This is always a beautiful time of the year when there is still open water and it snows.

Snow on the Gunflint Trail

The other day when I posted the story about fighting a bear I neglected to mention two other Voyageur Crew members were on that trip with Adam.  Ryan Ritter who is still working up at Voyageur this fall and Jake Bendel who spent a couple of seasons with us at Voyageur. Here’s what Ryan had to say regarding the story…

An article by the bush hippie, Jonathan, whom we met and paddled on and off with on our 2012 Rails to Whales expedition. He encountered this bear just two days before we encountered the same bear who was unwilling to let us set camp near his blueberry patch. Turns out black bears in solitude can be quite the match for man, no matter how experienced man is. Adam Maxwell and Jake Bendel will remember the story right from the horse’s mouth!

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Happy Halloween!

Gunflint Pines Northwoods News - 12 hours 21 min ago

Halloween weather can vary so much you’re not quite sure if it’s fall or winter.    I can remember as a child trick or treating. More often than not the costume was covered up by the necessary winter apparel only to be shed and carried along as we raced from house to house.

2014 First snow.

We had an inch of snow last night.  Driving home from town it seemed like the Halloween blizzard of 1991 when 31 inches of snow welcomed Bob and I back to the northwoods after a couple years in Seattle.  The snowfall was so dense last night I literally could not see more than a few feet in front of the car.  I stopped at Trail Center to give my eyes a quick rest.  Even the UPS Driver stopped for a short break stating that he drives the trail every day and this was the worst he had seen.  15 minutes later the visibility had lightened up and we were back on the road traveling slowly.

The total accumulation seemed to be between 1-2.5 inches but this is one of the most dangerous times of the year to be driving the trail.  We’re all used to pavement & good road conditions.  The snow may come down frozen, but can ice up quickly when it meets the warm pavement.  Without snowbanks built up on the sides of the road a little spin or sliding can result in some serious damage or worse injury.  So remember – drive cautiously and pull over in a safe spot to let others pass if they’re pushing you.  Better to arrive a couple minutes late, than not at all!


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Boundary Waters Blog - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 8:40pm

I spent the better part of the day attempting to learn about GPS coordinates and UTM numbers and OMG was it frustrating!  I placed some geocaches several years ago and it was time to update containers and permits from the USFS.

The USFS of course wants to know the exact location of the caches so I gave them the GPS coordinates.  When the GPS coordinates were made into UTM numbers the site location on the map where the cache is supposed to be isn’t the site on the map where the UTM points to.  There are way too many numbers and little symbols for me to deal with and I can barely keep latitude and longitude straight in my brain and while some people know degrees and seconds I’m not one of those people.

I have however found a number of websites with helpful information and converters if you are interested in learning more about it.  I have quit trying to figure it out and am hoping a friend in GIS can explain this to me.

On a fun note, check out this widget someone emailed me about, isn’t it cool? TFTF(that’s Thanks for the Find in Geocache speak) If you have a website or a blog and want one for yourself then check out Willy Weather Widget. 

weather for Grand Marais Cook County Airport
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Want More Energy???

Aging Youthful - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 1:00am

This week’s #FavoriteEverydayProduct, Want More Energy (WME),  is our answer to the sugar and chemically-loaded Gatorade and other sports drinks of today. It is really sad what they have done to Gatorade over the years. These days the average 20 oz. bottle of Gatorade contains 10 tsps. of sugar….10! The average grams of sugar is over 20 grams! After water, sugars are the next TWO ingredients in Gatorade. While you think you are doing your kids a good thing by giving them electrolytes and other nutrients, don’t be fooled. Mostly they are synthetic which we won’t even get into here.

Why do Mark and I LOVE WME? It is a great way to keep yourself hydrated without having caffeine. For Mark especially, since he works outside in the hot sun, (I’m working on changing that) he can get his hydration quicker and gives him an alternative to boring water (his words). I personally love plain water, but every once in a while, it’s nice to change it up. Just a few facts about WME:

Want More Energy? is natural fuel for the body, helping you sustain your energy without caffeine or stimulants.

Want More Energy? tastes great and is a healthy alternative to high caffeine and-sugar energy drinks, containing only natural ingredients, a few grams of sugar, and only 35 calories per serving. 

Includes Ionic Alfalfa™, our alfalfa juice concentrate enriched with trace minerals to keep your body running at peak performance.
The Want More Energy vitamin complex comprises of the essential B Vitamins -Vitamin B2, B3, B6, B12 plus Biotin, Choline and the Amino Acid L-tyrosine. This extensive complex contributes to the proper functioning of almost every process in the body.

If you’d like more information or would like to order yourself, click here, or give me a call at 407-545-8113 and I will help you get the right products to reach YOUR goals!

Categories: Member Feeds

Art Colony Member Show, Halloween Parties, & Bluegrass

North Shore Art Scene - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 11:15pm

Susanne von Schroeder says this is her favorite photo of the Lake Superior shoreline.

It’s another busy weekend in Cook County, especially since Halloween is on a Friday.

In fact, it’s really one of those nights (or weekends, for that matter) when a time travel suit would come in handy.

The Grand Marais Art Colony‘s Members Show opens Oct. 30, with a wide variety of paintings, sculptures, ceramics and more.

The day before Halloween, Oct. 30, enjoy new work by members of the Grand Marais Art Colony when the Annual Members Show & Sale opens with a reception from 5-7 p.m. at the Art Colony.

More than 100 artists have submitted work to this exhibit, and it includes everything from fused glass to sculpture, ceramics to photography as well as paintings in every medium.

The reception is preceded by the Art Colony’s annual meeting at 4 p.m. and members are invited to attend. The reception is open to the public. Refreshments served.

The exhibit continues through Nov. 23. The Art Colony is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

The evening of Halloween is very busy.

First up is the Spooktacular Halloween Event at the Cook County Community Center from 3 to 6 p.m. on Friday. It is a family friendly event and a perfect place to meet before going out to Trick or Treat. Activities and games include “Pin the Boo on the Ghost,” Treasure Fishing, pumpkin bowling, face painting, Halloween arts & crafts, a cakewalk and spider web obstacle and lots of refreshments. The scariest costume parade is at 5 p.m. All invited.

Cascade Lodge Restaurant and Pub is having a Halloween Party starting at 3 p.m., too. Happy Hour is from 3-6 p.m. and the drawing for the best costume will be held at 8 p.m.

And that’s just to warm up the evening.

The Birch Terrace Supper Club is hosting a Halloween Party starting at 8 p.m. featuring Cook County’s Most Wanted.  A “clear-out-the-freezers” buffet will be served, including seafood. The buffet opens at 7 p.m., with costume judging and prizes at midnight.

The Gunflint Tavern is hosting a Halloween costume party on Friday as well, with music by the Gypsy Lumberjacks. The music starts at 9 p.m.

Two other Halloween parties start at 9 p.m., too, and this is where donning a time traveling vest might come in handy.

The Halloween Dance Party at the American Legion  starts at 9 and features the funky ’70s boogie dance band, Earth, Wind & Todd (Todd Miler, Holly Harwig, Amy Brooks-Varga, Jesse Johnson, John Mianowski) and a new reggae dance band, Angel Hair Rasta with Michael Monroe, Chris Gillis, Todd Miller, Ted Czaplicki, John Mianowski, Amy Brookes-Varga and Musa Abdal Rahman. The music continues to 1 a.m.

• Also at 9 p.m. on Friday, the Sensational Hot Rods will play for a Halloween Dance at the Grand Portage Lodge & Casino in Grand Portage. All invited.

Emory Lester will teach workshops at Lutsen Resort on Saturday and perform at a concert Saturday night.

Also, this is the weekend for the North Shore Music Association’s 24th Annual Bluegrass Masters Weekend at Lutsen Resort. The planned activities, including a great concert by the Emory Lester Set, are on Saturday, but avid bluegrass fans arrive the night before and jam in various places throughout the facility. The public is invited to come listen and/or bring their instruments and join in.

On Saturday, Lester, known throughout the U.S. for his prowess on the acoustic mandolin, will be teaching workshops all day at the resort. The workshops are open to the public — $7 each, $30 for the whole day. And, on Saturday night at 8 p.m., the Emory Lester Set will perform in the ballroom at the resort. Tickets are available on-site. For more info and the schedule of workshops, click here.

Note: Both the Angel Hair Rasta band and the Emory Lester Set will be on WTIP’s The Roadhouse Friday night to talk about their music and play a few tunes. The show airs from 5-7 p.m. Tune in! It should be a fun show.

The Paint-a-Bowl event is from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Grand Marais Art Colony.

And not to forget, the Art Colony will hold a Paint-a-Bowl event on Saturday, offering the public the opportunity to paint colorful designs on bowls that will be available at the Empty Bowls Lunch & Dinner fundraiser at St. John’s Catholic Church Nov. 13.

More than 40 bowls will be ready to paint from 10 a.m. to noon. No preregistration is required, but a $5 donation to cover material costs is requested.

Also, this is the last weekend to enjoy the exhibit, “Five Generations of Arts & Crafts” at the Johnson Heritage Post. The exhibit closes on Sunday, Nov. 2.

The Heritage Post is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 1-4 p.m. Sunday. The Heritage Post closes for the season after the show, to re-open sometime in May.

Here’s the weekend music schedule:

Thursday, Oct. 30:

  • Eric Frost, Gunflint Tavern, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 31:

  • Cook County’s Most Wanted, Birch Terrace Supper Club, 7 p.m.
  • Eric Frost, Bluefin Grille, 8 p.m.
  • Gypsy Lumberjacks, Gunflint Tavern, 8:30 p.m.
  • Sensational Hot Rods, Grand Portage Lodge & Casino, 9 p.m.
  • Halloween Dance Party, American Legion, 9 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 1:

  • The Emory Lester Group, Lutsen Resort, 8 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 2:

  • Pushing Chain, Gunflint Tavern, 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 5:

  • Open Mic Night, Gunflint Tavern, 5 p.m.

We found some great photographs this week.

As most of us know, this is the season of the moose rut, and it’s a great time to get photographs. Here are a few we found.

Nace Hagemann this caught this great shot of two moose in the woods the other day.


Paul Sundberg took this photo of a gorgeous male.


And fall photos continue to drift in.

Paul Pluskwik caught some tamarack beauties in this shot.


Here’s a wonderful shot of light and leaves by John Sikkila.

To continue the orange theme, Mary Karlie Carlson had her camera ready for the partial eclipse of the sun last week and got a bonus — a perfect shot of the eclipse with sandhill cranes making a landing in a nearby wildlife refuge.

Photo by Mary Karlie Carlson.

Here’s a completely different mood — swans on a misty morning.

Photo by Jessica Barr.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!















Categories: Member Feeds

How Far Do You Live From McDonald’s?

Boundary Waters Blog - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 8:52pm

I never thought about how far I lived from a McDonald’s until I read an article today. I really don’t care how far I live from a McDonald’s because I don’t really like their food. OK, so I do LOVE their Shamrock Shakes and caramel sundaes with caramel on the bottom and on the top.  And working at a McDonalds WAS my first job ever and where I learned to make perfect pancakes on a griddle but that is beside the point.

It turns out that whether I go to Duluth or Thunder Bay the distance to a McDonald’s is about equal, either 137 or 139 miles.  It is the least interesting part of the entire article and it’s part of the bio of the person who wrote it, “Three days after leaving the Forest Service, he departed on a 700-mile solo canoe trip on Canada’s Churchill River, seeking a purer strain of wilderness than can be found in the lower 48—where the furthest one can get from a Micky D’s is 104 miles and the farthest from a road, a mere 30.” 

PLEASE, don’t get me started on the difference between “furthest” and “farthest” and the incorrect usage in the text above! The fun part about this article was pointed out to me from Adam Maxwell’s Dad.  Adam is our Voyageur Extraordinaire who has been to Hudson Bay three times now?  According to him in 2012 on their way to Churchill,  Adam, Ryan and Jake ran into Jon Klein. They liked him and encountered him numerous times throughout their trip and were very near to his location when this encounter happened.

Hand to Hand Combat with a Bear By October 22, 2014 Blogs 14 Comments 7 833 6

It’s a game of mortal combat when a canoeist runs into one of nature’s most efficient killing machines in the wilds of the Churchill River. By Jonathan Klein

August 3, 2012: I had a new experience today. I fought for my life.

I got to Portage Chute, shortly after noon.  It had been a splendid morning with plenty of current to speed me along.  This stretch of the Churchill is wide, shallow, fast and studded with gardens of large, dark, looming rock.  I maneuvered amidst these monoliths all morning, playing and dodging and showing off to myself, pretending I had nitroglycerin on board which would explode with the slightest jar, and seeing how close I could pass by or over an obstacle without hitting it.  I was enjoying myself.

My GPS didn’t think I was quite to Portage Chute.  It’s still 1.11 miles downstream, it was telling me but I knew better.  This was Portage Chute, beyond all doubt.  Narrow defile?  Check.  Increased grade and velocity?  Check.  Check.  Flecks of foam popping up downstream?  Sure ‘nuff.  Deafening roar?  That’s a big 10-4.  I was there.

I took out on river left where the Churchill broadens into a small bight, beached the canoe and headed downriver to scout.  There were boulders scattered all over, like a toddler’s toys.  Portaging would be hell.  Two hundred yards in, I came to a major obstacle, a scarp, only eight feet high, but sheer.  Getting the canoe and gear up and over it would take some doing, the kind of doing I didn’t want to do.  I scaled the wall and emerged onto a broad bench, blanketed with low shrubs and clumped with slips of cottonwood.

I recognized some of the shrubs as buffalo berry, adorned with clusters of small red fruits.  Across the bench, fifty feet away, the Churchill pounded through Portage Chute and I headed over to check it out, hoping it wouldn’t look as bad as it sounded.  A rim of pale red rock stood twenty feet above the river and lined it up and down, giving me a great view of the rapid.

I had already pretty much made up my mind to run it, even before scouting, because the portage was going to be a Bitch (note capital ‘B’), but there wasn’t a great line.  Getting through without swimming would be iffy because of several large breaking waves strewn pell-mell across the river that could swamp or roll the boat.  There was no way to miss them alI.  And there were rocks aplenty too, which I’d have to miss, but I took comfort in seeing that the river below deepened and slowed, providing a reasonably good recovery area, so, in the event of a water landing, all the flotsam, including the canoe, any unsecured gear, and I could be reunited in calmer water and, after some sputtering, bailing and sponging, returned to a fully upright and undamaged state.  I studied the rapid a bit more, picked a line, ran it a couple of times in my mind’s eye, and started back.

I was crossing the bench through the buffalo berry and almost to the lip of the scarp when I noticed movement in my periphery.  Something big and black and blurry.  I turned to look and was incredulous to see a large black bear, only forty feet away, approaching with obvious ill intent. It was moving with deliberation, mouth open, head low, black eyes unwavering—locked on mine.

I had been dreaming of a true wilderness experience and here it was: Mother Nature, telling me, So you want real wilderness? Here you go, sonny. For what could be more real or more wild than an animal coming to eat you?  I was prey, calories, for a large omnivore that was sick and tired of grass and berries and roots. My shotgun and bear spray were in the canoe, 200 yards away.  I would have to stand and fight with the only weapons I had, my bare hands.

There was no time to be afraid.  The bear was closing in.  Only seconds remained.  Some long dormant survival instinct took over and I transformed from mild mannered Nature Boy into Conan the Barbarian in a nanosecond (ok, exaggeration). A klaxon blared in my brain. Every cell in my body scrambled to battle stations.  I was not aware of wind or cold.  The crash of water through the nearby rapid drew silent.  Every fiber of my being was focused on the bear.

It approached with a dispassionate malevolence, as if to say, Hey. This isn’t personal, just business. Some things are killed and eaten so that other things can live to kill and eat another day. But predators don’t always get their prey.  Sometimes, the prey gets away.  Sometimes the predator gets hurt.  We quarry are not completely helpless. We can kick, maybe break a jaw, butt, gouge and bite, put a hurtin on ya, even inflict mortal wounds, so the prudent predator will approach cautiously, especially with unfamiliar, larger prey, to assess the risks, prior to going in for the kill.

That’s exactly what my bear was doing, coming on slowly to take my measure, ponder the risks verses rewards, and then decide whether to attack or withdraw.  I doubt this animal had ever seen a human before. We were in the most remote portion of the Churchill, no roads or villages anywhere close, no trails, fish camps or cabins, and inaccessible to motorboats and float planes because of all the rocks and shallows. The bear could not know, what exactly was I, and just how dangerous might I be?

My only hope lay in exploiting this uncertainty, make the bear  think I was some psycho in search of a rug. I couldn’t run.  He’d shag me down in a heartbeat, swat me to the ground, rake and bite me while I screamed, shake me like a rag doll while I whimpered, and then begin to tug and tear off chunks of flesh while I quietly moaned.  If I played dead, I’d last only slightly longer than if I ran, and it wouldn’t be quality time.  My only play was to be aggressive, fool the bear into thinking that I was biggest badass this side of Fidler Lake.

“Get away you Mother Fucker!”,  I screamed, but there was no discernible reaction.  Nothing.  On it came, walking, watching, not making a sound.  Only twenty feet away now.  I charged it with arms held high, trying to look bigger, and snarling invective through barred teeth.  “COCKSUCKER!” I yelled.  “MOTHER FUCKER!”

No change in attitude.

The bear was right next to me now, close enough to touch. It began to circle, close in, from right to left.  I began to hit it, punching it in the head and face with neoprene gloved hands.  “Good God!” I thought, “I just hit a bear.  Is this really happening?”

It was.  I was really fighting a bear.  As it turned, I turned with it to keep its head to my front, constantly throwing punches.  My left jabs were weak, ineffectual, glancing blows, but I landed a couple of hard rights to the side of its enormous head which caused a momentary pause before the circling resumed.  Near the end of its circumnavigation, I hauled off and kicked it in the ribs just behind the left leg.  I was only wearing soft rubber boating booties, hardly more than slippers, but I kicked as hard as I could.

This seemed to surprise the bear and it stopped circling and rose up, apparently indignant over such boorish behavior.  I’m 6’4” and 185 pounds.  The bear was half a head taller, but on the lean side.  I doubt it weighed more than 250 pounds, but skinny meant hungry and hungry meant dangerous.  Its paws were held high, claws outstretched and I expected to be cuffed at any moment, but the bear just stood there, as if newly uncrated from the taxidermist.

We stood, facing each other like dancers, unsure, waiting for the music to start. Then it suddenly dawned on me.  I had a knife.  Holy shit!  It hung inverted from a sheath affixed to my life jacket.  I’d forgotten all about it. It was only a four inch blade and the only thing it had ever cut was cheese, but I drew it forth with a flourish and brandished it at the bear.

“I have a knife!” I bellowed, to myself in surprise, to the bear in warning. The tables had turned, whatever that means.  Still, the thought of stabbing this creature with the little blade was cold comfort. I did not want to hurt it, or aggravate it, and feared that once the stabbing started, this fight was going to get ugly for real.  So there we stood, two statues cast in enmity, knife out, claws up, a Mexican standoff if ever there was one. I ended it, taking several quick steps backwards to the lip of the ledge, then whirled and bounded down the wall with the speed of a mountain goat, but not the agility.

Halfway down I slipped and had to jump the final four feet to the basin below. I landed hard, tried to catch myself with lunging steps, but fell, sprawled out on hands and knees.  My right hand, still gripping the knife, lit almost directly upon a fist sized hunk of rock, smooth, near round, granite. A gift. I transferred the knife to my left hand, snatched up rock in my right, and sprang to my feet with improbable dexterity for someone of my age and decrepitude, then I spun around to see if the bear had given chase.

There it was, just ten feet away. The motherfucking thing had followed me down the wall.  It stopped when I turned, looked at me, not directly this time, but obliquely and with menace. I faced it, edgewise, like a fencer, knife extended, and the rock, locked and loaded behind.  This was it.  The moment of truth.

“Look bear” I implored, “I don’t want to stab you with this knife or hit you with this rock, but you have to leave right now.”  The words were barely out of my mouth when the bear made up his mind, and it wasn’t to leave.  The big head swung up and he came at me.  I let him have it, heaving the rock with all my might.

Funny. Ever since dislocating my right shoulder in a kayaking  mishap twenty years ago, I haven’t been able to put any umph into an overhand throw.  Before the injury I could hurl hard, be it baseball, football or rock, but, ever since, I throw like a girl, all arm and no shoulder.  Not this time.  Adrenaline is a miracle drug and with a surfeit of it coursing through my veins, I unloosed the rock.  It sailed, trailing flame, and smacked into the bear’s skull right between the ears. It landed with a loud crunch, rock scraping bone, an awful noise normally but sweet music under the circumstances.

The bear vanished in a blur, hunger pangs replaced by headache.  I ran in the opposite direction, hotfooting it to the canoe, where I quickly hoisted the shotgun in one hand and bear spray in the other.

“Hey asshole!” I bellowed.  “You want a piece of me?  Well come on you chicken shit and I’ll spray you right in the kisser.”  I heard nothing but the hiss of wind and water, and blood pounding in my ears.  Then I started laughing like a lunatic.

Once I returned to a semblance of normal, I decided not to tempt the fates further by running Portage Chute.  I figured all my lucky charms were cashed in for the day.  What if I dumped and ended up on the left side of the river?  The bear’s side.  I had no desire for round two with the bruin so I pushed off and clawed my way upstream a couple of hundred yards, far enough up so I wouldn’t be swept down into the rapid, and ferried to the right shore.  There was no channel on this side, just a jumble of huge rocks through which the river poured over, around or through.  I dragged  the canoe past the obstacles, abusing it in myriad ways, but I got down. Then I returned to the canoe for lunch, my favorite, peanut butter on rye crisp with turkey jerky.  As I smacked down these delectables, thinking about my  improbable victory and narrow escape from the literal jaws of death, I glanced across the river and saw a hairy hump moving through the vegetation opposite.

“Hey bear!” I shouted and the hump stopped, turned, and the bear emerged onto the rim where I had scouted the rapid a lifetime ago.  It peered across at me with a puzzled expression, then turned and walked out of sight. “Good luck to you bear” I called after it, and meant it.

Later at camp, I poured myself a big 151 rum and sipped it thoughtfully.  I was in a contemplative mood, totally drained, and numbed, but euphoric.  I marveled at the days events.  I fought a bear and I won.  I knew it was mostly luck, that I was lucky to be alive.  I have always been lucky.  Lucky in my parents, my friends, health, choices.  Lucky in love.

I have learned to trust in luck, but this was more luck than anyone deserved.  I was lucky the bear wasn’t bigger.  Lucky he wasn’t more confident.  Lucky he didn’t swat or bite me.  Lucky, I walked away without a scratch save for a small scrape on my knee sustained when I crash-landed below the ledge. But that was lucky too, because if I hadn’t fallen I would not have found that rock. It was the rock that saved me.

Strange, but there are almost no loose rocks along this portion of the Churchill River.  I wasn’t even looking for a rock, it just materialized, found me.  Now, I am not in any way suggesting divine intervention.  As far as I’m concerned Jesus would have been more inclined to send the bear than provide the rock.  Luck gave me the rock and luck guided the throw that nailed the bear right where I needed to bean him.  A shot to the shoulder wouldn’t have done it.  And it was luck that the bear didn’t think, “Ouch, my head hurts, but fuck it, I’m going to eat him anyway.”

So I drank my rum and thought about the day, August 3, 2012, the day I had to fight a bear.  I kicked its ass and lived.  I love living.

–This is an excerpt from Jonathan Klein’s upcoming book on wilderness.  Klein worked as a wilderness ranger and manager in Montana’s Lee Metcalf Wilderness for 27 years before retiring in 2012.  Three days after leaving the Forest Service, he departed on a 700-mile solo canoe trip on Canada’s Churchill River, seeking a purer strain of wilderness than can be found in the lower 48—where the furthest one can get from a Micky D’s is 104 miles and the farthest from a road, a mere 30.  Klein lives in Ennis, Mont., where he spends his time pedaling, paddling, and planning his next adventure to wild places.  

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Recipe of The Week: Turkey, Bacon & Bok Choy Salad

Aging Youthful - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 9:38am


I have been looking for a good different salad to share and to MAKE as I have been tired of the same old, same old green salad. For me it’s usually some sort of mixed greens with chopped broccoli, cauliflower, onions, maybe some carrots and peppers, garnished with a little shredded cheese a few craisins and vinegar and oil dressing. Almost EVERY time. This one looks like it will fit the bill for crunch and what’s NOT to like when there is BACON involved????

From Clean Eating Magazine: Turkey Bacon and Bok Choy Salad

Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes


  • 2 large carrots, thinly sliced on the bias
  • 2 bunches baby bok choy, stems cut into thin 1/2-inch-long slices and leaves cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 6 oz turkey bacon
  • 1 1/2 cups BPA-free canned cannellini (aka white kidney) or navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tbsp shaved Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil


  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper


  1. In a large steamer basket set over top of a pot of gently simmering water, add carrots and steam for 4 minutes. Add bok choy stems and steam for 1 minutes; add bok choy leaves and steam for 1 more minute.
  2. Meanwhile, mist a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat on medium-high. Add bacon and cook, turning once, until lightly browned, about 1 minute per side. When cool enough to handle, slice thinly.
  3. Prepare dressing: In a blender, blend dressing ingredients and 1/4 cup water until smooth
  4. In a large bowl, combine carrots, boy choy, beans and tomatoes. Top with bacon, dressing, cheese and basil.

Nutrients per serving (2 cups): Calories: 241, Total fat: 11 g, Sat. Fat: 2 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1, Carbs: 20 g, Fiber: 5 g, Sugars: 5 g, Protein: 17 g, Sodium: 475 mg, Cholesterol: 43 mg

Categories: Member Feeds

Stuff for Next Year

Boundary Waters Blog - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 11:28pm

It might be difficult to believe but I’ve already met with one clothing rep and I’m meeting with another salesperson tomorrow. These meetings are to purchase items to sell in the store next summer! The season has barely ended yet there is work to be done for next year.

Clothing and souvenirs aren’t the only items we order this far in advance. We place orders for canoes, freeze dried food and other new equipment before the end of the year.

What else needs to be done sooner rather than later? We have been working on a new website design since before the summer season began. It would be really nice if we could get that done this calendar year. We’ve also been creating a new brochure for a mailing piece and it too would be nice to have finished before the new year.

There’s always something to do and I thought I’d give you a little taste of some of the stuff the Voyageur Crew is working on now for next year.

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Dual Fuel Control: Tuesday, October 28th

Arrowhead Electric - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 11:10am

A DUAL FUEL Rate Interruption will happen today, October 28, 2014 starting at 6:00 pm until 8:00pm. Water heat control 5:30pm-9:30pm. You can check out load control schedules on our website: or

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Crew BWCA Canoe Trip

Boundary Waters Blog - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 9:38pm

Hannah, Tony and Ryan went on a Boundary Waters Canoe Trip this past weekend. They had a gorgeous day on Friday for paddling and a windy one on Saturday.  They entered the BWCA at Cross Bay and traveled via Ham to Snipe and Tuscarora Lake.  They spent the night at a campsite on Tuscarora Lake and listened to wolves howl.  Ryan slept outside beneath the stars.  The next day they went through Gillis and into Green, Flying, Gotter and out Round Lake. The highlight of the trip was Ryan catching a huge northern pike and not seeing another person out in the wilderness.

Fall canoe trip in the Boundary Waters

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Voting is women’s work

Unorganized Territory - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 1:48pm

After I wrote an Unorganized Territory column recalling the fight to allow 18-year-olds to vote, my son Ben asked an interesting question. He asked why I hadn’t gone into more detail about the struggle women went through to gain the right to vote. The question surprised me for several reasons.

This photo from the National Archives shows the women that fought for the right to vote. I hope we all carry on their work by casting our ballots on November 4.

First, I have to admit I was pleased to know that he had read my column. I don’t get a lot of feedback from my immediate family on my weekly compositions. They generally take a quick look to make sure I didn’t talk about them and move on. So it was nice to know that he had taken a few minutes to read and think about what I had to say.

I also have to admit that I was a little surprised that he had remembered what he had learned in history class about women’s voting rights. Neither of my boys liked school much, so I’m surprised any history was retained. Good job, Mrs. Brandt—some of your hard work stuck!

And I was pleasantly surprised that he cared about the issue at all. I was outnumbered in our house when my boys were growing up—we even had a male dog—so there wasn’t a lot of talk around the kitchen table about women’s suffrage. Dinner conversations often focused on BMX bikes, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers, wrestling, football or some other macho topic.

I did insist that there was no such thing as “women’s work” like doing dishes, making beds or cooking. They learned to do all those things—even if they would have their wives believe differently now. But I don’t recall ever having a conversation about the struggle women faced in the 1800 -1900s.

I think perhaps the reason women’s rights are now more interesting is because Ben is now the father of a daughter. Becoming a parent makes a person grow up a bit. I remember marveling at the change from the rowdy teenager who wrecked his pickup truck within three days of getting his driver’s license to the concerned dad who was freaked out by the traffic speeding past his house. When traffic was detoured down his street during construction of the new Gunflint Trail, the former speed demon took a can of spray paint and wrote in big orange letters in the middle of the road, “Slow Down!”

So, just as being a parent makes you worry about things you never before thought to worry about, being a dad to a daughter brings its own concerns. I’ve overheard amazing conversations between both of my boys and their daughters. My younger son is definitely outnumbered in his house by his wife and three girls!

I have heard debates over ear piercing and nail polish and whether Barbie is a good role model. I’ve heard discussion of which Disney Princess is the prettiest, kindest or strongest. I’ve heard lots of silly threats about what will happen to future boyfriends.

And happily, I’ve seen that my granddaughters are being raised to be strong-willed, independent women who will follow in the footsteps of those pioneering women who fought to have a say in the governing of our country. Women like Susan B. Anthony, perhaps the most well known suffragist. Working with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, she founded the American Equal Rights Association, which fought for equal rights for both women and African Americans. The women published their own newspaper in 1868—The Revolution—which focused on women’s rights.

I hope my granddaughters learn about Anthony, who in 1872, was arrested for voting in her hometown of Rochester, New York. She was tried and convicted in a widely publicized trial which only served to gain sympathy for the women’s movement, although it was many years later before women gained the right to vote.

In 1878, Anthony and Stanton were finally able to get Congress to consider an amendment giving women that right. But it took many more years to pass the 19th Amendment and many more women led the way, facing isolation, hostility and downright torture. Women such as Alice Paul and Lucy Burns who were imprisoned for picketing outside the White House during the presidency of Woodrow Wilson, silently calling for equal rights. The women endured inhumane treatment in prison and persevered. Lucy Burns was the first woman to address Congress in 1914 in another attempt to see the 19th Amendment passed.

There were many others who fought loudly—or quietly—like Jane Addams, the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931, who supported the women’s suffrage movement while working to find solutions to society’s ills. Addams is considered to be the founder of the modern day field of social work. There was Nina Allender, an artist—and cartoonist— who put her talents to work to campaign for women’s suffrage with her pen. Others fought for the abolition of slavery and women’s rights through music, such as Julia Ward Howe who wrote The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

Unfortunately Susan B. Anthony did not live long enough to see the ratification of the 19th Amendment on August 18, 1920. She knew though, that the amendment would pass. When she died in March 1906, women had achieved suffrage in Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and Idaho. The tide was turning and it was apparent the fire she had ignited would not burn out.

Thanks Ben for the reminder of the powerful women who shaped our nation. I’ll remember them when I fill out my ballot—and I’ll look forward to the day when my granddaughters are also able to make their voices heard.


Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed. If I fail, no one will say, “She doesn’t have what it takes.” They will say, “Women don’t have what it takes.”

Clare Boothe Luce

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How Bad Is Synthetic Caffeine?

Aging Youthful - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 1:00am

This week’s #WhatsREALLYInOurFood posting was more disturbing than I thought it was going to be. I know synthetic anything is not good for our bodies, and synthetic caffeine would be no different. Was I WRONG. As I read the articles on how much synthetic caffeine is in energy drinks to how it is made, it was a huge OMG moment. First off, synthetic caffeine gives us an quicker energy spike which is why there is so much in the ever-so-popular energy drinks. But remember Newton’s Law….there also as a quicker crash from those drinks as opposed to coffee our other natural sources such as the plant Yerba Mate.

When it came down to finding how synthetic caffeine was made…THAT is what I found most disturbing. After reading what is to follow, you may never want to drink those chemical concoctions again. At least I hope not! And we wonder why our bodies are aging prematurely and cancer is rampant…

Chemistry formulas for producing synthetic caffeine:

Chloroacetic acid (1) is neutralized in water. This neutralized product is treated with an equimolar amount of sodium cyanide (2). An equivalent amount of acid is added: sulfuric or hydrochloric (3) and the mass concentrated to a thick syrup. Benzene (4) is added and the salts removed by filtration. The benzene is removed by distillation to yield cyanoacetic acid.  

(1)Chloroacetic acid is a chemical reaction of splitting trichloroethylene (1A) using sulfuric acid as a catalyst.
(1A)Trichloroethylene, aka TCE is a chlorinated hydrocarbon commonly used as an industrial solvent. Banned in Europe & most countries as a known carcinogen,  poisonous & infectious material, it remains legal in the USA.
(2)Sodium cyanide is an inorganic compound with the formula NaCN. This highly toxic colourless salt is used in gold mining.
(3)Sulfuric acid is a strong mineral acid used in car batteries, ore processing,  fertilizer manufacturing & oil refining.
(4)Benzene is an organic chemical compound with the molecular formula C6H6. It is a  colorless and highly flammable liquid. Because it is a known carcinogen,  its use as an additive in gasoline is now limited, but it is an important industrial solvent and precursor in the production of drugs, plastics, synthetic rubber and dyes.


The 8-methylcaffeine obtained from uric acid (uric acid is the final oxidation product of metabolism and is excreted in urine.) is chlorinated using sulfurylchloride (sulfurychloride is not found in nature & is composed of sulfur (1), oxygen & chlorine) to yield trichloromethyl (2) -caffeine, then hydrolyzed to yield caffeine.

(1) Sulfur is most widely used in black gunpowder, matches & insecticides.

(2) Chlorination of methyl chloroformate produces Diphosgene.  Diphosgene was originally developed for chemical warfare by the Germans in WWI. It’s vapors were found to destroy filters in gas masks & it then became a pulmonary agent in the victim’s body.

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Who’s Hanging Out in Our Neighborhood

Boundary Waters Blog - Sun, 10/26/2014 - 9:58pm

This little bull moose was hanging out in our neighborhood this weekend. Unfortunately I only had my small lens otherwise I would have been able to get some really awesome photos.

Gunflint Trail Moose

Moose on the Gunflint Trail

Moose Hanging Out

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Looking Back: Feed Your Soul Sunday

Aging Youthful - Sun, 10/26/2014 - 1:00am

There are some days where we just have to look back at our life. Since Mark and my retirement from sled dog racing, fall tends to be the time of reflection for me as I see the photos of all our musher-friends on training runs with their teams. They post about how proud they are of a certain dog who they had thought about selling in the spring who has come into their own and are doing absolutely fantastic. Or another youngster who they tried in lead for the first time and it put it’s head down, tugline tight and never looked back. As they post how proud they are of THEIR dog, I still get warm feelings in my heart of dogs of our that had done the same.

In working with people in my business now, I coach them to NOT look backward in their life, but only because most of us look back at what seem like failures so I work with them to keep their focus forward on their goal. Once I can get them on their path to their goal, we do look back from time to time to see how far they have come! THAT is what feeds our souls!

Last week’s #FreedomFriday posting shared my Top 3 ways to create “internal” freedom. #2 was feeding your soul. There are many ways you can and just like everything in the Universe, there is an way to suck the life out of your soul…here are my Top 5 ways to suck the life out of your soul, and The Top 5 Ways to FEED your soul.

Feeding your soul is part of living the Aging Youthful Lifestyle as getting rid of the “soul suckers” in your life and feeding it what it really wants, it will rid your body of stress. Stress can not only make you a bear to be around, you are also aging yourself internally! When you rid yourself of stress, you start looking and FEELING better, younger and more vibrant. In the coming months, Aging Youthful will be going through a expansion/transformation where we will be sharing stories of others who are defying their age, more stories on feeding your soul as well as feeding your body the proper nutrition and get up and moving it, as we were built to do!

For me, now that I have access to the ocean, sitting on a beach is one of the things that feeds my soul best with Mark by my side. Adding a sunrise or a sunset to the scene and it fills my heart with such joy and gratitude for being alive.

What feeds your soul?

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Progress at Voyageur Brewery

Boundary Waters Blog - Sat, 10/25/2014 - 7:38pm

The outside of the Voyageur Brewing Company is really looking nice. We’ve received so many compliments from people who love the improvement from what the building and lot used to look like.  We’re thrilled with it and can’t wait to start finishing up the inside spaces.

The production area of the brewery isn’t too exciting to me although it will house everything we need to make the beer. It will contain lots of shiny stainless steel and of course beer!  The taproom will be the fun room where folks can come to taste the beer, buy growlers and eat appetizers while gazing at the lake or peeking in at the brewery portion.

There is plenty to be done yet but we’re still shooting for a January open date. I hope you are following along on Facebook and the Voyageur Brewing Company Blog.  Here’s a link to an interview Mike did with WTIP the other day.  Cheers!

Brewery in Grand Marais, MN

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10/25/14 - Moose photos from Paul Sundberg.

Sawbill Newsletter - Sat, 10/25/2014 - 9:15am

10/25/14 - Longtime friend of Sawbill, Paul Sundberg, is a professional photographer who specializes in images from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the Superior National Forest. Paul sent us this link to photos on his website from a moose encounter that he had near the Sawbill Trail a few days ago. - Bill

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Gorgeous on the Gunflint Trail

Boundary Waters Blog - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 9:56pm

Voyageur Crew members Tony and Hannah couldn’t have picked a better day to go out camping in the Boundary Waters. The high temperature today was 70 degrees and the sun was hot. Tomorrow the sun is expected to shine as well. I sure wish I was camping in the BWCA tonight.

You never know what the temperature is going to be when you’re paddling at the end of October but this is certainly a treat for them and anyone else who is out in the wilderness.

For the rest of us we’ll have to be content with their photos and story upon their return.  Have a great weekend!

If you didn’t get an email newsletter today then be sure to check it out online and sign up to receive it in your inbox in the future.

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Friday Fun From Voyageur Brewing Company

Voyageur Brewing - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 9:39am

I knew there were tons of different beer glasses out there but I didn’t know which to use for each beer. Who knew beer could taste so different?  We’ve come a long way baby. My first beer was probably Milwaukee’s Best out of an aluminum can, how about you?

Beer glass guide

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Capitol Christmas Tree Comes from Minnesota

Boundary Waters Blog - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 2:29pm

Minnesotans can proudly say the 2014 Christmas Tree on the front lawn of the White House is from Minnesota. This year’s tree will be cut from the Chippewa National Forest which is close to the headwaters of the Mississippi and Itasca State Park. The tree will be trucked to DC with numerous stops along the way so people can see it.  To find out where the tree will be stopping check out the website and if you’re in Duluth, Minnesota on November 5th you can see it there.

Here’s more information about the Capitol Christmas Tree


U.S. Capitol Christmas tree to make first stop at Itasca State Park

The 2014 U.S. Capitol Christmas tree will make its first public appearance on its journey to Washington, D.C. on Sunday, Nov. 2, at Itasca State Park, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said.

The 60- to 80-foot-tall white spruce is coming from the Chippewa National Forest in north-central Minnesota, in partnership with the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. The 1992 Capitol Christmas tree also came from the same forest in partnership with the band.

The tree will stop at the Lake Itasca Region Pioneer Farmers Show Grounds at the north entrance to the park from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

To kick off the event, the tree will receive a drink of water via a horse-drawn wagon courtesy of the Go and Whoa Harness Club of Bemidji. The water will be transported from the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Itasca State Park to the Pioneer Farmers Show Grounds where visitors can view the tree, photograph it and sign a banner. The drink from the headwaters will help send the tree on its long journey of nearly 2,000 miles, which includes nearly 30 stops before it arrives in Washington.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the show grounds, a variety of activities will be offered, including horse-drawn wagon rides, tours of the Pioneer Farmers village buildings, a free-will offering lunch, music, ornament making, face painting, two-man log sawing and a visit by “Lars the Logger” from 1:15 to 2 p.m.

The search for the Capitol Christmas Tree began earlier this year. Search criteria for the Chippewa National Forest staff included a tree 60- to 80-feet tall, a full pyramid-like shape without gaps, healthy branches, a straight trunk, and a species hardy enough to withstand the trip to Washington, D.C. The tree had to be found among millions of other trees that make up the national forest.

The tree will be cut during a public ceremony ( on Wednesday, Oct. 29, and will be moved to Bemidji State University, where it will be prepared for the cross-country expedition that includes a caravan of caretakers.

The tradition of the Capitol Christmas Tree, or “The People’s Tree,” began in 1964, when then speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John W. McCormack placed a live Christmas tree on the Capitol lawn. This tree lived three years before succumbing to wind and root damage.

In 1970, the capitol architect asked the U.S. Forest Service to provide a Christmas tree. Since then, a different national forest has been selected each year to provide “The People’s Tree.” The Minnesota Tree Growers Association will provide 70 companion trees to decorate the inside of the U.S. Capitol building and other sites throughout Washington, along with 10,000 ornaments created by children and others in Minnesota as a gift from the “Land of 10,000 Lakes.”

The Lake Itasca Region Pioneer Farmers is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to the preservation and display of historic, rural/logging related Americana, for cultural, educational, entertainment, and heritage-related public benefits.

For more information on the 2014 U.S. Capitol Christmas tree and to track its journey, visit

For more information on Itasca State Park, visit

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