Visitors of Voyageur Canoe Outfitters are able to take advantage of our awesome location on the very edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Every day something amazing and awe inspiring happens and if you’re lucky and looking then you get to see it.
Last week one of our tow boat drivers was coming back to our dock and he saw a mother moose and her calf swimming across the river. He used his radio to tell us about it and others were able to go out onto the dock and enjoy it.
Anna and Joe were out fishing on Gull Lake Friday afternoon. A loon was swimming with her newborn chick on her back when suddenly an eagle swooped in and stole her chick. Feathers flew, loons cried and within seconds the chick and eagle were gone.
Josh and I took a quick fishing break yesterday. We heard a noise in the woods and pretty soon a small black bear came out to the water’s edge. It ripped apart a log, sat in the water and when it finally noticed us retreated back into the woods.
We caught some smallmouth bass and as Josh was reeling in a small one a northern pike attacked it. The little bass got away but we netted the 30″ northern pike and then released it.
Yes, there are cool things happening near Voyageur all of the time. We invite you to come see for yourself.
People are out and about on the Gunflint Trail. There are vehicles parked along side of the road at some of the well-known blueberry picking spots. We’ve seen people with bug nets and ice cream buckets crouched down in the weeds. Are the blueberries ready?
In my expert opinion, maybe. If they are ready to be picked then this year won’t be one of the better years for picking. I think the pickers have jumped the gun because I’m seeing more green berries than blue ones and that equals difficult/time consuming picking. I much prefer picking when all of the berries are ripe and ready to be picked.
Maybe this is the only time those blueberry pickers have to pick. It is better than nothing and if you don’t mind moving, squatting, reaching, standing, moving, squatting, reaching, standing and finding small or green berries in your bucket then the berry picking is fine.
I would like to say, “You won’t find me out picking yet.” but that would be a lie. I have been out looking for berries and I have picked some too. But I have spent more time driving and wandering around than I have actually picking but that’s ok too. With the hot weather in the forecast I urge everyone to bring along plenty of water, take time to get out of the sun and don’t wander too far from the road.
Oh, and by the way, the raspberries are ripe and ready to be picked!
We had the pleasure of meeting two adventurers at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters on Tuesday. Nick Canney and paddling partner Mujo Catic started their canoe trip on May 1st at the Stuart River Portage. They plan to camp and canoe in the BWCA until mid-October.
They will have spent over five months canoeing by the time they are finished with their trip. What an excellent adventure. So far they have paddled 150 miles and they haven’t seen a moose yet. They have caught fish and on the opener they caught a 22″ northern pike. As they were reeling it in a larger(around 11 pounds) northern pike grabbed it. They were able to get both fish into the canoe and were quite excited about it.
Nick Canney and Mujo Catic love the outdoors and they hope their trip sparks the interest of other young people so they too will venture into the Boundary Waters. We hope they inspire others to paddle the BWCA and continue to have a wonderful journey.
In 1915, Charlie & Petra Boostrom founded Clearwater Historic Lodge & Canoe Outfitters. This year we celebrate our centennial — 100 years of helping guests explore the beauty and tranquility of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. In honor of our founders and their legacy, we’ve been sharing stories about the Boostrom’s and the early days of Clearwater Historic Lodge and the Gunflint Trail. Many of the stories — including the...
The post Charlie’s Unending Energy, Summer and Winter Alike appeared first on Clearwater Historic Lodge & Canoe Outfitters.
A guest of ours put together a nice video of his group in the Boundary Waters. I love to see people’s videos and photos of their time spent in the canoe country wilderness. I also love to share these items with my blog readers so if you have some to share then please email them to me, I’d appreciate it.
There are a few cuss words in the middle of the video but I still give it a 5 star rating. Thanks for sharing Len! Video Courtesy of Len Brewer of Killshots, a company that specializes in creating graphics for hunting and fishing websites.
Canoe Fishing trip into the BWCA on June 3, 2015.
There are lots of things to do this weekend and, if you’re judicious with your timing, you just might be able to see it all. (Keep your time-travel suit at the ready, however, just in case.)
First up is “Kalileh,” a magical production by an Iranian composer and pianist who has written a piece especially for the Magic Smelt Puppet Troupe of Duluth and the Lake Superior Chamber Orchestra. The Lake Superior Youth Chorus will also perform.
Hooshyar Khayam, who lives in Iran and was commissioned to compose the work, will attend the performances at the Marshall Performing Arts Center at UMD on Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Puppeteer Jim Ouray, who works with the Good Harbor Hill Players in Grand Marais for the winter and summer solstice pageants, is the artistic director of the Magic Smelt Puppet Troupe. To hear a snippet of the music and learn more about this remarkable collaboration, click here.
And on Friday, there’s more magic to see when Hazel Belvo and Marsha Cushmore open an exhibit at the Johnson Heritage Post with new work and a new focus.
The opening reception is from 5-7 p.m.
Belvo will be showing a new series of paintings, and Cushmore will have a number of prints based on her abstract studies of tree bark.
Both artists will also have other work on exhibit, including three Sky/Water paintings by Cushmore, and Belvo’s paintings of the Zinfandel vines in Sonoma, Calif.
Immediately following the reception, wander over to Harbor Park where “troubadour” Ben Weaver will be in performance at 7 p.m.
Weaver is completing a 16-day circumnavigation of Lake Superior on his bicycle and is stopping in communities along the way to share poetry, music and stories to unify people who live on the shores of the Big Lake. The event is sponsored by Superior North Outdoor Center and the Grand Marais Music Collaborative. Everyone is invited. Weaver will stop in at WTIP’s The Roadhouse around 5:20 p.m. to talk about his project.
Meanwhile, up the hill aways, the Grand Marais Playhouse Summer Theater Festival continues at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts with the comedy “Moon Over Buffalo” and the musical “I Love You. You’re Perfect. Now Change” in repertory through Aug. 2. “Moon Over Buffalo” will be performed at 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Sunday, “I Love You” at 7 p.m. Saturday. The reviews of both shows have been excellent. Tickets are available at the door.
On Friday and Saturday, there will be outdoor demonstrations at the Bally Blacksmith Shop from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. All are invited to come watch and share stories.
On Saturday, the Cook County Farm & Craft Market will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Senior Center parking lot. Hovland strawberries, early vegetables, flowers and plants will be featured as well as a variety of arts and crafts made by Cook County residents.
Maggie Anderson will give a pottery demo at the Grand Marais Art Colony at 1 p.m., and poet Caroline Giles Banks will read from her new “Picture a Poem” at Drury Lane Books at 5 p.m.
And, there’s lots going on at North House Folk School, too, including two-hour mini courses (breadbaking on Thursdays and raising a timber frame on Fridays). The craft residency this week features Allen Holzheuter demonstrating spinning in The Commons from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday through through Saturday, and the good ship Hjordis sails daily on a two-hour cruise. Visit northhouse.org for more info.
And, if you’re going to Thunder Bay on Saturday, stop off at the park near the Hoito and take in the Die Active Y-Art Sale from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (EDT). The event is being held in partnership with the Valley Fresh Buskers Festival, Juy 25-26. The Y-Art Sale features the unique works of young-blooded artists, clothing designers and crafters. Shop for original art & crafts, handmade jewelry, vintage clothing & treasures, zines, books, buttons, records and more! Plus, live music, lemonade and food vendors.
- Fisherman’s Picnic, Grand Marais, July 30-Aug. 2
- Pour at 4, Bronze pour at Last Chance Gallery, 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 2
- Rendezvous Days and Pow-wow, Grand Portage, Aug. 7-9
- Susan Frame: Sumi-e painting exhibit, Johnson Heritage Post, opens Aug. 14
- The Rev. R.L. Bush and the Revived Sons, (the best gospel group on the circuit today), North Shore Music Association, ACA, Aug. 22. The Rev. Bush was the lead singer for the Carpenter Ants, who performed here last year.
In other art news,
And last, but not least, the Chalk.a.Lot festival in Two Harbors was a great success this year, with lots of artwork on the sidewalks. Some of the artists who participated were ArtedeMoira, David Gilsvik, Lenn Soderlund, David Zinn and Lauri Olson Hohman. Her chalk art came in second. Here it is:
Alex Deters and Brian Borglum came in first with their chalk art, below.
There’s lots of music this weekend. Here’s the schedule:
Thursday, July 23:
- Joe Paulik, Music by the Campfire, Lutsen Resort, 6 p.m.
Friday, July 24:
- Portage Band, American Legion, 6 p.m.
- Pete Kavanaugh, Music by the Campfire, Eagle Ridge Resort, 7 p.m.
- Jim & Michele Miller, Cascade Lodge Pub, 7:30p.m.
- Eric Frost, Voyageur Brewing Co., 8 p.m.
- Bug Lite, Gun Flint Tavern, 9 p.m.
- Joe Paulik, Bluefin Grille, 9 p.m.
Saturday, July 25:
- Superior Siren, Voyageur Brewing Co. Rooftop, 3 p.m.
- SplinterTones, Harbor Park, 4-7 p.m.
- J Squared and the Makers, Papa Charlie’s Deck, 6 p.m.
- Joe Paulik, Music by the Campfire, Bluefin Bay, 7 p.m.
- Jan Kallberg, Lutsen Resort, 7 p.m.
- Michael Monroe, Log Cabin Concert, rural Grand Marais, 387-2919 for reservations
- Pushing Chain, Gun Flint Tavern, 9 p.m.
Sunday, July 26:
- The SplinterTones, Sunday Music on the Mountain, Caribou Highlands Lodge, 5-8 p.m.
- Jim & Michelle Miller, Gun Flint Tavern, 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday, July 28:
- Briand Morrison, The Pie Place Cafe, 6-8 p.m.
Summer has obviously arrived, and with it, photos of flowers. Here is a selection:
And here are some wonderful wildlife shots.
And here are some beautiful landscapes.
And finally, a beauty by Mary Amerman.
Have a good weekend, everyone!
Just after we put last week’s issue “to bed” we received the disheartening news that Minnesota Power was going to idle the Taconite Harbor Energy Center in the fall of 2016.
I felt sick, thinking of all the friends who work at the plant, who rely on their job there to be able to live here on the North Shore.
I understand that Minnesota Power will try to help the 40-plus employees find work elsewhere. But that means families will have to either have long-distance lives or will have to leave their homes. It means taking kids out of schools and spouses away from well-established jobs in the community. I’m heartbroken for the Taconite Harbor folks who are facing this overwhelming change.
In addition to feeling sad for the families, I’m concerned about the impact this will have on our county’s economy. Minnesota Power is a major commercial taxpayer—will the value of their property be as high for a shuttered power plant as an operational one?
Will our schools, which are already struggling with declining funds because of decreased enrollment, be able to carry on with even fewer students? How will our clinic and hospital absorb the loss of that many families with decent medical insurance?
And, if the power plant ceases to exist, will it nullify our relationship— and therefore the credit we get on our property taxes— because we reside in what was a taconite district?
Will the idling have an impact statewide? According to Minnesota Power officials, when running at full capacity the Taconite Harbor Energy Center provides electricity for about 120,000 residential customers. Will taking that much electrical production out of the statewide power pool drive rates higher across the board?
Although hints of the idling have been coming for years, I didn’t really believe it would happen. I grew up with the power plant in Schroeder and went to school with kids who lived in the bustling town of Taconite Harbor. Crossing the county line and coming into Schroeder to see the billowing white steam clouds was part of coming home.
I know the cause of the closure is a mix of market forces and environmental issues. But as a kid I didn’t think much about the health effects of coal. As an adult, living away from the North Shore, I remember hearing environmental concerns about emissions from coal burning power plants. But truthfully, I still didn’t think much about it.
When our military family lived in Mannheim, Germany in the late 1970s, I was more bothered by the towers of the nuclear power plant we drove by on a regular basis.
The ugly side of coal was revealed to me on our second stint in Germany. When the Iron Curtain started to slip in 1989 and Czechoslovakia opened its borders to American tourists, we took advantage and visited Prague.
Our family was welcomed kindly by the Czech people. We enjoyed seeing the Prague Castle and the Charles Bridge, which is featured in the opening scene of the first Mission Impossible movie. I bought an exquisite crystal vase and a matryoshka doll and we enjoyed crepes made by street vendors. It is an amazing town and we could see why it is sometimes considered equal in beauty to Paris.
I did notice though, that the stunning old buildings were dingy. A haze hung over the historic city. We enjoyed the trip nonetheless, but when we returned to Germany the subject came up. I asked why the former communist country seemed so smoggy? I was informed that it is because of the prevalence of coal—and the lack of environmental oversight.
I was glad then, when I moved back to Cook County in 1995 and started working at the local newspaper to learn—and write about— Minnesota Power’s efforts to meet and exceed the standards of the Environmental Protection Agency and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. I was pleased to work on articles detailing the millions of dollars being invested in the plant to reduce its sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and mercury emissions while producing power.
But recently I’ve been troubled by the push to eliminate coal from our country’s portfolio forever. For some groups no matter how low the emissions go, it is not low enough.
I’m not an engineer, but Minnesota Power’s plan to keep improving its coal burning techniques made sense to me. We need power to operate our computers and charge our cellphones and heat our houses. I don’t think enough power can be generated from wind farms and solar panels for all of us. I’m not an energy broker, but I think coal needs to be part of our country’s energy portfolio— especially coal that can be processed in compliance with U.S. standards for emissions.
I’m not a scientist, but I thought Minnesota Power was on the right track in Schroeder. I’m sorry it won’t get to continue down that path.
In times like these it helps to recall that there have always been times like these.
Do you consider a camping chair in the Boundary Waters a necessity or a luxury? For me it depends upon the type of trip I am taking and how much portaging I’ll be doing. When we plan to set up a base camp it’s nice to bring along a lightweight camp chair.
Now days there are a large variety of camp chairs to choose from. When we started outfitting canoe trips into the BWCA over 20 years ago the two options were the big sling type camp chairs by Coleman or a Crazy Creek chair. While the big chairs are comfortable they are far from lightweight and Crazy Creek chairs are nice but they don’t get you off of the ground.
The ground is great when it’s dry, level and insect free. Many campsites have logs to sit on, nice rocks to stretch out on and comfortable places to sit. However it’s nice to have a chair that gets you off of the ground and away from biting ants, crawling insects and a wet bottom.
I have two camp chairs I really like, one is the Alite Monarch Butterfly and the other a Big Agnes Helinox. The Helinox Camp One Chair is the most comfortable but weighs 2 pounds while the Alite only weighs a little over 1 pound. The Alite is about $30 less expensive at $69 and the Helinox at $99.
Other companies make camp chairs including Therm-a-Rest, Alps Mountaineering and of course Coleman. Do you have a favorite camping chair? Is it a necessity in the BWCA or a luxury? Let me know.
7/19/15 - Just this month Sawbill took on its youngest "intern" - Alex Lundgren, age 9.
Alex has been coming to Sawbill since he was a baby, and has wanted to work for here for just about as long. He was promised a job just as soon a he turned nine, which he did earlier this year. Alex came up for a week, and was nice enough to let his parents tag along while he "worked."
This summer, Alex received training in working the store desk and washing life jackets. When he and his parents come later this summer, he may graduate to washing tents!
Alex learns to play cribbage during a quiet night in the store - all Sawbill crew members are required to know how to play cribbage, and Alex is determined to have a strong application when he is able to apply for a real job - only nine more years!
We loved having Alex with us (as did the customers) and are eagerly anticipating his return. - Elena
True North Broadband is now available throughout the city of Grand Marais and east through Colvill. Installations will begin in Hovland and on the Gunflint Trail this summer as well. More information about True North Internet & Phone service can be found here.
Just found out there’s a power outtage scheduled for 9-12 noon today. NO phones or e-mail until it’s over!
The Trapper’s Daughter & The…..
The day we have all been waiting for is finally here!!!
It is my great pleasure today, on April 25th 2015, to present to you for the first time,
Wow, isn’t she a beauty??
After their long sail along the Lake Superior coast, the Trapper’s Daughter, Bear & Raccoon are finally able to relax on the shore near a big campfire. With beautiful bright embers floating toward the starlit sky, this print … read more
Day 5! Day 5! Day 5!
Today is the last day of our countdown before we reveal the NEW Trapper’s Daughter print for 2015!!
We kick off today’s countdown with a truly incredible print from 2013,
“The Trapper’s Daughter Crosses the Height of the Land as Winter Fades From the Woods & Waters.”
“The Trapper’s Daughter and the Spring Moose” came into the gallery like a hurricane. We could hardly keep this image on the walls and in the bins after … read more
Day 4 of Our Trapper’s Daughter Adventure!
Day 4 of our Trapper’s Daughter adventure beings with the winner of our 2014 Summer Solstice Trapper’s Daughter Bracket Competition….
In 2010, Rick Allen decided to try something new. With 26 different wood blocks, and 26 individual passes through the press, Rick and his famous helper Janelle, the Warrior Printress, worked their tails off on this one!!!
But wait…. there’s MORE!
The Kenspeckles decided to add a beautiful moon to the Long … read more
Day 3 of our Trapper’s Daughter Voyage!
We commence day 3 of our Trapper’s Daughter voyage with the eighth image in Rick Allen’s series….
Back in 2009, you could hear all of our jaws collectively drop, “KER PLUNK,” as we viewed “The Trapper’s Daughter Takes the Otter Slide” for the first time. What a beauty! Rick Allen really went to town with this gem.
One of my favorite parts about Rick’s prints is that so often they spark a wonderful, rich memory. … read more
“The Trapper’s Daughter & the Second Day”
We kick off day two of our Trapper’s Daughter countdown with Rick Allen’s 4th image in this enchanted series. Released in 2006, this beauty is a gallery staff favorite:
Our first glimpse of the Trapper’s Daughter out of the winter, we see her strong, axe wielding arms and bare feet. A vision of strength and courage, she crosses the lake atop two loons. When looking at the clouds, I can’t help … read more
The Trapper’s Daughter & the Unwritten Story
This year’s Gallery Hop Earth Day Celebration at Siiviis in Duluth will be unlike any other event before! Why, do you ask? Well my friends, because this year’s celebration is truly a dream come true. On April 25th, the ladies of Siiviis, along with the Kenspeckles of the Kenspeckle Letterpress present to you:
A THIRTEEN year retrospective featuring all 17 of the Trapper’s Daugher breathtaking appearances in print, including this year’s truly amazing addition to … read more
Central Gunflint Ski Trail Conditions on 3-21-15
New Snow Last 24 hours: 0”
New Snow Last 7 days: 0”
Trail Base, Staked: 3”-10” varying by area.
Snow in Woods, Staked: Average 12”
Groomed with classic tracks: 70 K
Groomed for skating: 53.4 K
Surface Conditions: Tilled snow
Last grooming day: 3-21-15
Snowshoe trails: Open
Total snowfall since Nov. 1: 75.00”
Comments: Don’t put away those skis yet; we’re still grooming and skiing on the Central Gunflint Ski system! Definitely expect spring skiing conditions though the freshly groomed skate and classic lanes are still holding up very well and are, condition wise, great after a recent grooming! Continuing with our plans from last week, we are still grooming select trails at this time, depending on each individual trail’s condition. Currently, 42.5 kilometers of trails have been/will be groomed between today and yesterday.
Twin Citians are reveling in the record-setting March temperatures in the metro area. Up here in the far north we are also experiencing some warmer days, but unlike other parts of Minnesota, we have a serious base of deep snow. We’ve seen a little snow melt, especially off our roofs and roads, but as of 5 PM on Tuesday we still have a solid 12 inches of compacted base on the ski trails, with far more than that in the woods.
If you’re coming up to ski in the next few days, you should prepare for spring skiing conditions. Spring skiing is the best, but the sun is powerful at this time of year so even on a chilly day there will be freezing and thawing. Plan ahead for the varying conditions.
Early morning: The skate lanes and classic tracks will be frozen hard; perhaps the tracks will be icy if they have thawed the day before and refrozen overnight. These conditions are great for fast skating with minimal edge control on hills. Grip tape or waxless skis are your best choice for early morning skiing in these hard tracks.
Mid morning: The sun is softening up the tracks and the skate lanes are still firm. This is the best skiing of the day. When skiing through shade and sun your skis will glide differently; be careful on the hills! If it’s chilly but sunny, these conditions can last most of the day.
Late afternoon: As things warm up the snow will start to lose its structure, and you’ll sink in. Because of the released moisture, your kick will be compromised, and skating will get harder due to “suction”. Waxless skis are the best choice for these conditions.
Then, if it drops below freezing at night, the cycle repeats.
The trails are being groomed differently for these conditions. We plan to continue grooming for as long as possible. Later in the month we usually open some ski trails to snowshoeing, but we’re not ready for that yet. Our actual snowshoe trails, though, seem fairly unaffected by the temperatures and offer a great additional option if there are any afternoons that seem too warm to ski.
Our musher, Erik Simula, is still taking trips out and should be able to continue for quite a while longer. Like skiing, however, on very sunny days the dog sled trips go better in the morning; the dogs have to work very hard to pull groups through wetter snow. If you’re planning a dog sled trip in March, earlier appointments are the best choice.
For those of you in the rest of Minnesota, your spring has probably truly started. Up here, however, we know that the next blizzard could still come at any moment. We will be extremely surprised if our winter is actually winding down now.