Boundary Waters Blog
One of my favorite hikes is the Seagull Lake Nature Trail. The trailhead is at the entry point 54 landing into Seagull Lake at the Trail’s End Campground. There’s a brand new sign at this entry point that was just erected within the past month.
It’s a relatively short and easy hike through the 2007 Ham Lake Fire burn. It ends at the opening to Seagull Lake and provides a beautiful view of the BWCA. The little set of rapids provide the perfect backdrop for sitting on a rock enjoying the solitude of the surroundings.
When the sun is shining and it’s 57 degrees outside at the end of October it’s a perfect time to go for a paddle. And where’s the perfect place to go when you’re at the end of the Gunflint Trail? I know, there are many places to choose from but one of my favorite places to go when I’m short on time is the Seagull Lake palisades.
It’s a short paddle from the Seagull Lake landing to the palisades. It only takes about thirty minutes of canoeing past pine studded islands to reach the bottom of the cliffs. Then it’s a quick hike to the top for an amazing view of Seagull Lake and the surrounding shoreline.
Once you are at the top is when you wish you had more time. Time to take in the scene, ponder life and relax in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. But when the sun begins to dip beneath the trees it’s time to leave. And hope there will be another beautiful day to paddle the BWCA.
Sometimes people need a reason to go for a hike in the woods. I’m not one of those people. Spending time in the woods is enough incentive to get me hiking. Geocaching gets people walking in the woods and the more people who get out there the happier everyone will be. It’s because the benefits of spending time outside are so numerous that I have placed geocaches in numerous locations on the Gunflint Trail and in Cook County.
Right now I’m having fun with four different caches for Voyageur Brewing Company. There’s the Boundary Waters Brunette, Palisade Porter, Trailbreaker and a virtual photo cache for Devil’s Kettle. People can search for these caches and earn a free beer by bringing in a business card from the cache container. Each of the beers have their GPS coordinates printed on the beer label.
You can read more about this on the Facebook Event Page. I’m hoping a little reward will get more people into the great outdoors. The next time you’re looking for a reason or excuse to get outside check out geocaching.com and go find a hidden treasure.
If you only had a weekend to spend on the Gunflint Trail then what would you do? Sometimes people ask us this question and we have a difficult time answering it. Of course, the most rewarding thing to do is to take an overnight camping trip in the Boundary Waters.
Some people are not ambitious enough to prepare and plan for a BWCA canoe camping trip so we suggest spending the night at Voyageur. When guests stay overnight at our place they can take advantage of our towboat service and transportation to take incredible day trips into the Boundary Waters.
Sometimes the wind is an issue for paddling on the wilderness lakes. If that is the case then we suggest hiking in the Boundary Waters or on the Gunflint Trail. There are of course restaurants, gift shops scenic overlooks and many more incredible opportunities on the Gunflint Trail. There are way more things to do on the Gunflint Trail than there are hours in the day so come enjoy a weekend of fun on the Trail and plan to return again and again.
I’ve been a bit sad when I’ve driven the Gunflint Trail lately. While some trips on the Trail we’d see multiple moose we haven’t seen many lately. Today I talked to my neighbors who told me they saw not one, but two moose on the Gunflint Trail on their drive to town today. In addition to the moose they saw an otter crossing the road. This sounds like a great drive on the Gunflint Trail to me. I am hoping to see moose on my next trip on the Gunflint Trail. We hope you’ll see some on your next trip too!
Crazy story!A Bald Eagle Is Somehow Fine After Getting Stuck in a Moving Car’s Grille By Andrew Del-Colle
October 11, 2016
The bird, nicknamed Matthew, miraculously escaped with no major injuries and should be released back into the Florida wild soon.
In life, sometimes you’re the grille, and sometimes you’re the Bald Eagle. Alright, so that’s not exactly how the saying goes, but it turned out to be true for an unlucky Bald Eagle in Florida this past weekend.
According to a Facebook post by Florida’s Clay County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday, a Bald Eagle had to be rescued from the grille of a Saturn after the bird collided with the car and got stuck in the vehicle’s lower air intake. Fortunately for the eagle, members of the Sheriff’s Office and Fire and Rescue were able to safely remove the raptor. “The bird is alive and was turned over to the B.E.A.K.S. Wildlife Sanctuary,” the post said. “Great job by all involved.”
Perhaps what’s more amazing than the bird’s survival is the fact that the driver apparently didn’t notice hitting the bird in the first place.
Talking to CNN, B.E.A.K.S. owner, Cynthia Mosling, said that another driver at an intersection saw an “odd shape” in the vehicle’s grille and thought it was a decorative prop until the bird’s head moved. After chasing down the other car to notify its driver that America’s national bird was wedged in the front fascia, the good Samaritan dubbed the eagle Matthew for the Hurricane that had brushed Florida’s coast the day before.
In a follow-up interview with The Florida-Times Union on Monday, Mosling said that she was surprised that the bird, an adult male at least seven years of age, didn’t have any broken wings or a single broken bone. As of Monday, after having a bit of time to recover from the ordeal, Mosling said Matthew was eating and able to fly to some of the higher perches in his cage.
“He’s feisty now,” Mosling told The Florida-Times. “His wings are working.”
As soon as Matthew passes a flight test in a larger enclosure, Mosling says she’ll release him back to wild, where, if he believes in signs, he’ll immediately go buy a Powerball ticket.
Sometimes the things you hear make you shake your head in wonder.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) encountered a man who was proud of his new kayak as he was just going out onto a lake for a fishing trip. The man went on to explain he didn?t know how he was going to run three fishing rods out of his kayak since he wasn’t used to it. The officer then told him that he’d make his predicament a little easier since you can only use one rod at a time in Minnesota. Officer Fagerman also had to explain what kind of fish were in this particular lake and what the limits were as the man didn’t seem to understand the rules. The man did have a fishing license on him which at least is a better start than some encountered.
The good news is the northern lights should be good the next couple of nights. The bad news is it’s right around the full moon so the sky isn’t very dark. It’s a good idea to to keep your eye on the sky just in case.
GEOMAGNETIC STORMS UNDERWAY: G1-class geomagnetic storms are underway around the Arctic Circle on Oct. 16th as Earth enters a stream of very fast moving solar wind. Veteran observers in Sweden are reporting one of the best displays in recent memory as “massive auroras” dance across the sky. Visit Spaceweather.com for updates about the ongoing light show.
WHAT DO YOU GET WHEN YOU MIX AURORAS WITH MOONLIGHT? Some photographers say that bright moonlight is a real nuisance when you are trying to record faint auroras. Jim Schnortz of Grand Portage, MN, disagrees. In fact, he says, “it’s an awesome combination.” He photographed the mixture during a geomagnetic storm on Oct 13th:
Moonlight not only lit up the landscape, providing a beautiful foreground for the auroras overhead, but also produced a lovely moonbow (lunar rainbow) in the spray of the falls.
Schnortz’s photo settings are noted here. Write them down! Auroras and moonlight may be mixing again tonight as Earth enters a high-speed stream of solar wind. NOAA forecasters say there is a 30% chance of G1-class geomagnetic storms on Oct. 16th–the same type of storm underway in the photo above.
It may be past peak fall color time on the Gunflint Trail but that doesn’t mean it isn’t colorful. There are still some leaves hanging onto the branches and the larch trees are looking especially beautiful right now. Larches are one of about 20 conifers that are also deciduous, which means they have needles and cones. In the fall they turn from green to gorgeous golden colors and then drop their needles.
The Mountain Ash trees have lost their leaves but their berries remain. I always thought the berries were poisonous but I guess not. According to numerous websites their leaves contain cyanide and there is probably some cyanide in the berries but not enough to do harm. While the berries are tart and don’t taste very good in the fall after a frost or later in the winter the berries taste better and better. People make the berries into wine, jams and more.
The Gunflint Trail is beautiful in every season. It’s always changing so come see for yourself.
It’s been a few years since I’ve camped in the BWCA in October. I recently had the opportunity to spend a few nights in the Boundary Waters and as usual it was wonderful. It was just Rugby and me for a somewhat solo adventure.
I was happy to have Rugby along to use as a mini heating pad one night when the temperature dipped into the low 20’s. It didn’t get very warm during that day but the other days and nights were comfortable.
Paddling and camping in October you can have a variety of conditions all in one day. Snow flurries one minute, abundant sunshine the next and everything in between as the wind blows in new weather. The majority of my pack space was filled with clothing and I’m glad I brought as much as I did. The one night I had all of my clothing on to sleep in including my hat, gloves and three pair of socks.
I’m still not putting my camping gear away just yet. As long as the lakes are still liquid there’s hope for another canoe trip into the BWCA. Try it, you’ll love it.
I haven’t hiked in the George H. Crosby-Manitou State Park on Minnesota’s North Shore but it’s on my list because it contains a section of the Superior Hiking Trail that I still need to hike. I have wanted to camp there but whenever I have time the campsites are all reserved even though they are hike to only.
This video shows one of the many waterfalls on the Manitou River. Unfortunately the lower falls are on mainly private property so if you want to see them you either have to visit via Lake Superior or watch the video below.
I haven’t been out grouse hunting yet this year. I call it hunting but I usually just go along for the hike while Josh hunts. This year he’s been too busy to hunt so I haven’t gone either. Matt and the crew have been seeing a few grouse and eating them too!
Here’s a strange report from a Conservation Officer about a grouse hunter.
CO Darin Fagerman (Grand Marais) reports one of the busiest fall weekends he has ever seen. Lots of leaf lookers, photographers, and grouse hunters. Grouse can be found off the beaten path and a few people have reported some success. The officer came across a woman who was road hunting with a fully loaded shotgun in her vehicle. When asked why her shotgun was loaded, CO Fagerman was surprised when she stated that she didn?t know how to load or unload the shotgun so her husband loaded it for her. Then he’d unload any rounds left after she got done hunting. Enforcement action was taken for AIS, ATV violations, and loaded shotguns in motor vehicles.
One of these days I will stay awake and attempt to take photos of the northern lights myself. But each time I question myself and think, “I’m sure David Johnson will get some amazing shots.” Then I go back to bed.
Earlier this summer we had a strange thing happen at Voyageur. We have a guest who only paddles in the Boundary Waters and he only comes to Saganaga Lake through Voyageur. He comes up the Gunflint Trail a few times each summer and instead of hauling his canoe back and forth we keep it on our canoe rack across the river. This year when he came up for his first trip and we went to retrieve his canoe it wasn’t there.
There has maybe been two times over the past 20 plus years where we’ve had anything stolen. One time it was a kid in the store and another time a man was stealing motors and fishing gear from docked boats. Other than that if anything has gone missing we haven’t heard about it.
We were perplexed about where his canoe could be. We checked all of our canoe piles and had no luck finding it so we ended up just letting him use one of our canoes for his trip. It was really disturbing to lose his canoe and we felt terrible about it.
Sometime after his trip I remembered something Josh had told me. He and a friend had been out on Saganaga Lake and walked a portage into another lake. On the portage were two canoes but there weren’t any people around. They fished, returned and still the canoes remained. I mentioned this to a few of the crew and said, “I wonder if one of those is Ron’s canoe?” No one thought there was any reason someone would take Ron’s canoe and leave it out in the woods. If they did then how would they get back or get to the canoe in the first place as it’s located across the river and you can’t drive to it.
Later in the paddling season I happened to mention it to another one of the crew members and asked him to stop to check it out when he was on Saganaga. Sure enough the canoe was still there and it was Ron’s canoe!
We have no clue who brought it there, where they went or why they left it there. We only know Ron was very happy to have his canoe back on his next trip to Saganaga.