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Updated: 1 hour 52 min ago

No Venison this Year

Tue, 11/25/2014 - 9:58pm

I can’t same I am upset we won’t have venison to eat this winter, I don’t really like the taste of it. PLEASE don’t tell me when you cook it I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between deer meat and beef, that’s like telling me I wouldn’t be able to taste the difference between Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi. I have amazingly good taste buds and I can tell you if a bottle of Diet Coke is expired in just one taste.  And yes, no matter how you cook it venison still tastes like venison.

This year Mike’s family spent one of the weekends hunting on the Gunflint Trail. They saw just as many wolves as they did deer and none of the deer had antlers so they couldn’t shoot.  One highlight of the weekend is when Mike’s brother-in-laws’ father was sitting on a chair and heard a sudden noise.  He turned just in time to see a deer come within a foot of running him over. As he toppled over in his chair he saw the reason the deer was in a hurry, a wolf was in hot pursuit. He could also hear another reason nearby in the woods.

I’m not sure the wolves are going to even have venison this winter. There weren’t too many success stories coming from the Gunflint Trail. They may have to eat more moose, I heard they like that better than venison anyway.


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Mon, 11/24/2014 - 10:09pm

One day I will see caribou migrating.  The crew that paddled this summer saw a huge herd with thousands of caribou of all sizes.  Until then I will have to be satisfied by watching videos and reading about it.

Question of the week

Q: I noticed the DNR eagle cam is back online. Do bald eagles in Minnesota migrate for the winter, or do they stay on their summer nests?

A: Many Minnesota bald eagles do not migrate. As long as they have access to open water, they can and do stay here all year. In fact, with the installation of the eagle cam, we have learned that eagle nests are rarely vacant. Eagles are bonded to their nesting territories, and staying around ensures that it will not be taken over by another eagle or pair of eagles.

The eagles along the Mississippi River and Hawk Ridge near Lake Superior during spring and fall are mostly migrating eagles. Most of the eagles come from Canada and use the Mississippi flyway to travel south to their wintering grounds.

Lori Naumann, DNR nongame wildlife program specialist

Wyoming’s Big Game Migrations and 50 Years of Wilderness from Biodiversity Institute on Vimeo.

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Thanksgiving Week

Sun, 11/23/2014 - 11:31pm

It’s a short week for the kids with only two days of school.  Thankfully there aren’t any hockey games to attend until next weekend either. With one in Silver Bay on Saturday and one in Moose Lake today I can use a break from the road. We’re staying home for the holiday this Thanksgiving and I’m looking forward to it.  If the snow holds off then a couple of hikes are on the agenda, if the snow doesn’t hold off then we’ll have to get the snowshoes out to hit the trails.

We’re also going to find ourselves a Christmas Tree to cut down.  With a little luck I may even get a Christmas letter written. I still have photo cards from last year that never made it into the mail so there’s no rush to get a photo taken and printed like in normal years. I hope your Thanksgiving plans are as stress-free as mine and I hope you have a short week too.

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Minnesota Trees

Sat, 11/22/2014 - 10:10pm

I find it kind of strange the Red Pine is the state tree of Minnesota yet it isn’t very abundant in our state.  It doesn’t even make the top 10 list of abundant trees in Minnesota.

Q: Which tree species are most abundant in Minnesota?

A: Our most abundant tree species in Minnesota is the quaking aspen with an estimated population of more than 3.5 billion. The next most abundant species (in order) are balsam fir, black spruce, black ash, paper birch, tamarack, red maple, northern white cedar, sugar maple and balsam poplar.

Curtis Vanderschaaf, biometrician, DNR Forestry Division, resource assessment

Want to know why the Red Pine is the state tree?  Here’s why…


The red or Norway pine (Pinus resinosa) was made official in 1953. (Minnesota Statutes 1.143)

Through the efforts of the Friday Study Club in Minneapolis, and backed by the Minnesota Federation of Women’s Clubs, the Norway pine designation was passed in 1953. It was sponsored by Sen. Gordon H. Butler and Rep. George A. French, and signed into law by Governor C. Elmer Anderson on February 18, 1953. The language of Chapter 20 noted the sturdiness and majesty of the tree, and how it helped lay the foundation for the wealth of Minnesota.

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When the Wind Blows

Fri, 11/21/2014 - 11:30pm

The gales of November. The wind was gusting over 20 miles per hour most of the day today. The waves on Lake Superior were crashing constantly. It was -2 degrees this morning and if the temperature wouldn’t have warmed up it would have been seriously brutal outside this afternoon and evening. Luckily the warmer temperatures arrived just in time and it’s currently 27 degrees outside.

Tomorrow is the day. It’s the day to make sure everything outside is ready for the snow to come. Because after this weekend I don’t think we’ll be seeing balmy temperatures again until spring.

Did you hear about the town in Wisconsin that has received 81 inches of snow already this season? Buffalo is the lucky location in Wisconsin.  This early snow is great for them but unfortunately their snowmobile trails don’t open until December 1st. I guess folks have a little bit of time to get their snow machines running and cross-country skis waxed.

I’m hoping when the wind blows the next time it brings us a bunch of snow along with it.

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Zero to 21 in a Flash

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 8:51pm

This morning the temperature got down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit for a brief amount of time.  The wind blew fiercely throughout the day and it felt very cold.  This weekend the temperature is predicted to get up into the 30′s, that is going to feel warm after the bitter temperatures we’ve been experiencing already this winter.

I’m not sure how time can pass so quickly. Next week is already Thanksgiving and it feels like Halloween was yesterday. It feels like my niece Chelsea was born last year and today she turned 21 years old. 21 years old! I remember giving her a bottle and now she can drink beer from a bottle legally.

Temperatures and time always changing never constant.

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Lake Effect Snow and the Lack of It

Wed, 11/19/2014 - 3:51pm

We haven’t been getting snow dumped on us and it’s kind of disappointing. Lutsen, the downhill ski hill in our area, is open but had to make most of their snow. I’m sure they would appreciate four feet of the real stuff right about now.  Cross-country skiers are biting at the chomp to hit the trails, including me, but it’s going to take a bunch of snow before the trails will open. Why aren’t we receiving lake effect snowfall? This article does a great job of explaining the process and if I had to guess at the reason we’re not getting big snowfall right now I would say it’s because there isn’t a big difference between the temperature of the water and the air on the North Shore. What do you think?

Science behind the lake effect Ed Russo POSTED: 12:27 PM EST Nov 17, 2014    UPDATED: 12:40 PM EST Nov 17, 2014

It’s no doubt that parts of the area are going to be dealing with an intense wintry blast over the next several days causing many headaches. There are other parts of the Great Lakes region, though, that will have it worse.

One key ingredient to lake effect snow is something called fetch. Fetch is the distance wind travels over water. The longer the fetch, the more intense the snow bands.

Since the prevailing wind over this part of the country is usually west to east, the fetch over Lake Michigan is relatively small, although still significant enough to create lake effect snow.

However, Lake Erie and Ontario are oriented more west to east so the prevailing wind matches up with the longest axis of both of those lakes resulting in much longer fetch. It’s no surprise that because of this, parts of northwest Pennsylvania and New York are going to be measuring snow in feet!

What about Lake Superior? The west to east distance is even greater than that of Erie or Ontario. Lake Superior is a much colder lake so the difference in air/lake temperature is never as great as it is on Erie and Ontario. The greater the temperature difference between air and water, the greater the instability, and as a result, stronger snow bands develop.

With a north wind Lake Michigan can really produce intense snow bands because the wind will travel along Lake Michigan’s longest axis which is a north to south distance of just over 300 miles. This is what generates major lake effect snow events in areas like LaPorte county. Due north winds are far more uncommon, however, than a west wind, since west is prevailing across this part of the country.

Another reason the eastern lakes have enhanced snowfall is because of the very hilly terrain across New York and Pennsylvania. This terrain causes the air to lift (called orographic lift) which results in heavier snow. Northern parts of Michigan, especially the UP, often see enhanced lake effect snow due to the higher terrain in places like the Porcupine Mountains.

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Looking for a Canoe, Kayak or Stand Up Paddle Board?

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 10:35am

Our friends in Clearwater, Minnesota may have exactly what you need.  They are located just a short drive from the Twin Cities and can set you up with a watercraft you’re sure to enjoy. Right now they are entering names of anyone who purchases a boat into a drawing to win a trip to the Boundary Waters, courtesy of Voyageur Canoe Outfitters.  This is right in time for the holidays so check them out today!


Wenonah Canoes, Current Designs Kayaks, Pau Hana SUP boards, Jackson Kayaks, Native Watercraft Kayaks, NuCanoe, Liquid Logic Kayaks, Osagian Canoes, and periodically we get other used brands in.


Paddle board from Clear Waters Outfitting


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It’s Beginning to Feel Alot Like Winter

Mon, 11/17/2014 - 6:06am

Temperatures have dipped down into the single digits and the wind has been blowing fierce. It feels more like January outside than November. The good news is after a few days of bitter cold the weekend forecast calls for temperatures in the 30′s again. I think I had better get all of my outside chores done this weekend because who knows when we may see this warm of temperatures again. If this winter is anything like last year it will be quite some time.

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A Fox Comes Visiting

Sun, 11/16/2014 - 8:27pm

A pretty fox came by Voyageur today. My guess is it was looking for Mark.

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Tears and Dehydration

Sat, 11/15/2014 - 10:53pm

I can see it now, a headline in the newspaper, “Woman Hospitalized After Suffering from Severe Dehydration Due to Excessive Crying.”  I thought I had let out all of the tears possible this week but I guess there were plenty more where they came from. Are they all out now after Mark’s funeral today? I don’t think I’ve shed the last tear for Mark yet.

This morning as we were leaving the house in Grand Marais a bald eagle flew over. I immediately thought, “That’s Mark making sure we’re on our way, wondering if I needed any help bringing stuff out to the car.”  I’ve never seen a bald eagle right in town in Grand Marais. We’ve seen them on the shore and we of course see them on the Gunflint Trail and in the Boundary Waters but it was unusual to see it fly over our house. On the way to Duluth Abby spotted another eagle which isn’t quite as odd but it made me think it was the same one, following us on our journey.

I imagine I’ll think of him when I see a fox.  I’ll probably think of him when I see a moose too and possibly a bear and when I catch a fish. I’ll most likely think of him when my car is due for an oil change and how he would try to shame me into getting an oil change if I had over 3000 miles on it, or 5000.  When I’m trying to figure out something with my depth finder or my boat motor I’m guessing I’ll think of him then too. And when I walk into the lodge I will expect to see him on the couch.  I’ll be waiting to hear him greet me and get the update on the wildlife or how much rain we got.

There were a large number of familiar faces at the funeral. Cabin owners, our local conservation officer, Mike’s brother, Gunflint Trail neighbors, some of our dear friends and many of our Voyageur Crew. It was nice to see so many of them there. I didn’t think about a picture until after Mike and Ashley, Dave and Bonnie, Scott Prom, Chad Autio and Mike Irwin had already left so they aren’t in the photo. I wish Mark could have been there.  I’m sure he was there in spirit unless of course the fish were biting in heaven.

Thank you to everyone who was at the funeral. Thank you for sharing your stories and showing Mark’s family how loved he was by all of us. Thank you for the hugs too.  I’ll try not to shed too many more tears but I can’t make any promises.

Voyageur Crew

Front Row Left to Right: Me, Adam Maxwell, Luke Yaeger, Abby Prom, Ryan Ritter

Back Row Left to Right: Mike, Matt Ritter, Tony Krusenbaum, Hannah Koivu, Mike Swenson, Paul Swenson, Evan Gates, Tessa Johnson, Charlie Drilling, Josh Prom, Tessa Olson

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America Recycles Day

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 11:10am

Tomorrow is America Recycles Day and I love to recycle. We have a recycling center in Grand Marais that does a good job with the main items like aluminum, cardboard, tin and glass.  Unfortunately only Type 1 and Type 2 plastic can be recycled here.  I’m hoping for a change but so far it hasn’t come about. I cringe when I put other plastics into the garbage but I can’t possibly hold onto them all to bring them to Duluth to be recycled. Hopefully a change will come soon.

Did you know there’s a great resource you can use to find where to recycle things?  From batteries to paint to construction materials you can search where to recycle things at  There are events scheduled for America Recycles Day but unfortunately I didn’t find any in Minnesota.  You can search for events in your area on their website.

Are you going to do anything special for America Recycles Day on November 15th? How about taking the pledge to recycle more? Every little bit helps.


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Unique Situation

Thu, 11/13/2014 - 2:55pm

In expressing my deep sorrow publicly I have received some very kind words, emails, comments on Facebook and telephone calls. I really don’t like attention and I don’t like the Social Media craze nor do I want or need praise or pity from someone in order to feel like I exist.  It is however very nice to know people care and I appreciate their sympathies expressed to our Voyageur Family and to Mark’s family as well.  Death is a difficult thing to deal with.

This death has been especially awful. I know it’s more difficult to accept death when it is unexpected and when someone is young. I also realize a death of a parent, child, sibling or other close relative or friend is very hard. I was informed by a fellow outfitting business owner and friend that we are in a unique situation when it comes to the death of an employee.

You see when you work at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters it is a very unique situation.  It isn’t like a McDonald’s where a person clocks in at 10am and clocks out at 6pm to go home. We don’t have hundreds of employees each year. We have a handful of people who come to work for us each year. Most of these people come just for the summer season.  When they work at Voyageur they eat three meals a day with us, they live on property, they work side by side with us and many times they recreate with us too.  Whether it’s a hike, a boat ride, a dinner or just chatting in the lodge the little free time we do have in the summer we spend with our Voyageur Crew.

When you spend that much time together it’s more than a work relationship and it’s more than a dorm relationship. It’s almost like adopting someone into your family.  As I’ve gotten older I’ve felt more like a Mother Bear to our Voyageur Crew then ever before. I worry about their safety when they are out towing or camping.  I want to make sure they are eating enough food and drinking enough water. I warn them about speeding, using seat belts and wearing their life vests so much that I’m sure it’s annoying. I only do it because I care about them and I feel somewhat responsible for them even though most of them are already self-sufficient adults.

Members of our Voyageur Crew aren’t just our employees. They are much more than that and we develop a bond and relationship with these people that isn’t normally made in the real world anymore.  Maybe as a part of a wagon trail, Native Tribe, Cult or Big Brother cast you would develop similar relationships but not many other places would allow the opportunity for this type of unique relationship to occur.  We depend upon each other, we care about one another and we love each other.

I guess it boils down to love. The less you love someone the less it hurts when they die. The more you love someone the more you hurt when they are gone. The unique situation we have at Voyageur is that we love a lot of people and never once had I thought about losing one of them. I wasn’t prepared, it was unexpected, Mark was young and he was a part of my family.

I’m trying to rationalize the hurt I feel. Why it hurts so much. Good people, kind people, they die every day right? But not my good, kind person who has lived under the same roof for three years. Not Mark Ceminsky. Maybe grief has to do with the size of heart the person who died had, that would explain it. Mark had a super big heart and so I, along with others who knew him will feel super big grief.

It’s a unique situation and it’s one I don’t like nor do I want to be in again any time soon.

Mark was a loyal reader of my blog, always complimenting me on my posts. I don’t know what he would think of this one.

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Service for Mark Ceminsky

Wed, 11/12/2014 - 3:26pm

The time and date for Mark’s services have been set.

Service for Mark Ceminsky

Saturday, November 15th 2014

Visitation from 2-3pm

Service at 3pm with lunch to follow

Cremation Society of Duluth

4100 Grand Avenue

Duluth, Minnesota 55807

Phone 218-624-5200

Marks Obituary

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