“Very Nice Weather”

I’m wrapping up guiding a four-night dogsled trip and Jan, with utmost sincerity, says, “We’ve had very nice weather this week.”  You’d never know Jan experienced the coldest week this year – with lows dipping to 38 below zero Fahrenheit.  That’s actual air temp.  Another morning hit 27 below.  While this wasn’t a camping trip,…

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Moon Halo over Ely, MN

I spied this moon halo last night as I drove home from our canoe trip outfitting shop in Ely.  Moon halos are created when millions of tiny ice crystals high in the atmosphere reflect light.  The shape of the ice crystals results in a focusing of the light into a ring around the moon.  Because the…

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Winter Travel Routes Wind Through Labrador Tea

Our winter traveling world varies dramatically from summertime.  During summer, paddling and portaging in the wilderness, we mostly avoid wetlands – for they harbor masses of mosquitoes.  Plus, the prospect of stepping into a particularly mucky spot and going in up to your knees or (gasp!) waist is not most peoples’ idea of summer fun. However, the onset of winter means the mucky…

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Slush alert for Ely area lakes!

After almost a foot of snow in the last several days, many lakes are mired in slush. This pic shows the bottom of my skis slushed/iced up after trying to ski across White Iron Lake today.

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Winter’s Arrival in Ely

Last week’s spring-like weather has given way to winter. Yesterday it started snowing and today, we woke up to about four inches of the fluffy white stuff. We have buttoned up all of our summer gear and are getting ready for another Northwoods winter. Bring on the dog sleds!

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Final Canoe Repairs of 2010

Above average temps in the fifties today allowed me to do some maintenance on “Lilly,” a cedar strip canoe I built several years back.  She took the 2010 season off while I worked on some fiberglass and epoxy repairs to the turn of the bilge.  I put the first coat of varnish on the hull…

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Moose Brains

Today’s Halloween, so here’s a moose brain.  It’s about the size of a grapefruit.  While this post is a lighthearted holiday entry, the brain shown here is undergoing important scientific research that may help people better understand the moose population in Minnesota.  I helped extract this brain from a bull moose harvested up the Echo…

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Garrison Keillor, Eat Your Heart Out

Lake Wabegon is Garrison’s fictitious community on the edge of the prairie. It’s full of Norwegian Lutherans and colorful characters. Here in Ely, Minnesota, we live on the edge of the wilderness with plenty of colorful characters, and some Norwegian Lutherans. Today we’re driving south to see the live performance of Garrison’s radio show, A…

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Pine Marten Breakdown

I awoke to a Pine Marten peering from an overturned canoe outside my bedroom window this morning.  Then a second one appeared.  Then they loped around the cabin to the deck.  Once on the deck, one of them took up residence in a flower pot, and the other one decided that looked like a fine…

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Women in the BWCA Wilderness

I recently guided two all-women’s camping trips. What a blast! Both groups of talented, smart and go-get-em women sought out a female guide for their Boundary Waters camping experience. I have guided canoe trips over ten summers for teenage and adult women in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Quetico Provincial Park, working at…

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