Moose shedding their antlers

It’s awesome to be able to go on a snowmobile ride with friends. What makes it even better? Finding not one, but two fresh moose sheds on the trail. Here’s a picture of two Mikes at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters each with their own shed.

moose on the Gunflint Trail

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Moose Moseying on the Gunflint Trail

While there are fewer moose on the Gunflint than in the past there are still moose and it’s always entertaining to see them. A friend on his way up to Saganaga to go snowmobiling encountered these two moose the other day.

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Lake Effect Snow

We’ve been getting our fair share of snow on the Gunflint Trail and we love it. Ever hear the term lake effect snow and not know what it meant? Here are some cool photos and an explanation.

Lake Superior

 

Anatomy of lake-effect snow

Lake-effect snowfall occurs when colder arctic air blows over relatively warmer lake water on the open Great Lakes. Smaller lake-effect events can also occur on some of Minnesota’s bigger lakes, including Red, Leech and Mille Lacs.

As the colder air blows over the relatively milder waters, heat, and moisture are exchanged and lake-effect snow squalls form and dump out on the downwind side of lakes.

lae superior

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Gunflint Trail snowy silence

The silence and beauty of winter on the Gunflint Trail is indescribable. You have to experience it in order to fully appreciate how snowflakes sparkle beneath the sun and how the snow covered earth absorbs sounds.  When you are standing still on a calm day you have to strain your ears to detect any sound.  Occasionally you’ll hear a bird but normally the silence is deafening. We invite you to come stay with us at Voyageur and experience the snowy silence yourself.

 

Winter lodging Gunflint Trail

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Abundant Snow on the Gunflint Trail

Voyageur Canoe OutfittersWe’ve got plenty of snow for all of your favorite winter activities on the Gunflint Trail. Late Saturday it started snowing again and it snowed throughout the night and into Sunday afternoon. The snow clung to the trees and made it look like a winter wonderland.

Snow clean up keeps us busy at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters. From rooftops to driveways to decks and vehicles it seems like there is always snow to be moved. It’s kind of like laundry, just as soon as you think you have it all done you find some more.

Where to stay before your canoe trip

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Reserve your Boundary Waters Canoe Trip Permit

It’s time to reserve your Boundary Waters Canoe trip permit for the 2020 canoeing and camping season. Permits to enter the BWCA can be reserved beginning Wednesday, January 29th at 9am. Feel free to give us a call at Voyageur to assist you with your wilderness trip planning needs.  Canoe trip permits can be booked using Recreation.gov, the online reservation service or by calling, 1-877-444-6777.

 

Details froBoundary Waters permit reservationm the National Recreation Reservation System.

  • Beginning in 2019, the $10.00 reservation fee is changing to $6.00 for every quota permit. That means whether you reserve a permit ahead of time or purchase a ‘walk-in’ permit, the fee will be $6.00. This includes Day Use Motor permits.
  • Group leaders (permit holders) are required to have a valid email address to reserve a permit.
  • Each alternate permit holder is required to have a valid email address to be listed as an intended alternate at time of reservation.
  • Alternates must respond to the recreation.gov email sent at the time of reservation and accept being an alternate within 72 hours of reservation, or the permit will not have alternates.
  • If an alternate does not have a recreation.gov account, they will be required to create one at verification when they respond and accept being an alternate. Alternates can log on to www.recreation.gov and create their account any time prior to a reservation.
  • All participant names must be entered for the permit to print at issuance. Participant names may be added to a reservation any time prior to the permit pick-up.
  • For reservations made by a Cooperator, permit holders will receive a copy of the confirmation email.
  • The new platform has stronger security controls, better protection of Personally Identifiable Information (PII), and increased fraud protection. Recreation.gov will no longer store credit card information.
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Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon 2020

The Beargrease Marathon began today and mushers are in for some warmer than normal mushing conditions. Some years they face sub-zero temperatures but this year the forecast calls for daytime temperatures to be near 30 degrees. This is a little warm for mushing because the snow on the trail will be soft.  Teams are expected to do most of their travel at night when the temperatures drop below freezing. This year they have live tracking of teams and they even include a photo of the musher. Find out more information about both the 300 mile and 120 mile event online.

Gunflint Trail Beargrease

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Boundary Waters ice fishing for free

ice fishing in the BWCAThis weekend you can go ice fishing for free if you bring along a child younger than 16 years of age. This is a great opportunity to get out at least once during the winter fishing season.

While Josh was home for Christmas break he and a friend went spearing. They set up a dark house but didn’t need a heater since it was warm enough without.  It was early in the season so the ice wasn’t too thick yet. As the ice gets thicker there aren’t too many people who venture into the BWCA to spear since you can’t bring a power auger.  It takes quite a bit of work to hand drill and chip but they made quick work of cutting a spear hole. Their efforts paid off as they were able to spear a few northern pike perfect for a meal.

Josh is back at College and older than 16 years of age so I’ll have to find someone else to take fishing if I want to go for free.

Minnesotans fish free with kids Jan. 18-20

Take proper precautions on the ice

Take a Kid Ice Fishing Weekend is this Saturday, Jan. 18, through Monday, Jan. 20.

During the weekend, Minnesota residents age 16 or older can fish or dark-house spear without an angling or spearing license if they take a child younger than 16 fishing or spearing.

“Ice fishing is a fun way to get outdoors during Minnesota winters,” said Jeff Ledermann, education and skills team supervisor with the Department of Natural Resources. “Ice conditions are highly variable this year. If you want to start, try asking someone familiar with ice fishing and ice conditions to take you out or check out an organized activity.”

Events happening during the weekend include:

Fishing events during the rest of the season can be found on the DNR’s state parks and trails events calendar and the Becoming an Outdoors Woman program, which also has events for families.

Ice conditions vary greatly this season and can be deceiving. There is no such thing as 100 percent safe ice. Always check local ice conditions before heading out to a lake or river. Visit mndnr.gov/icesafety for ice safety guidelines and the DNR’s learn to ice fish page for more information about ice fishing.

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Sauna time at the end of the Gunflint Trail

Sauna Gunflint TrailMatt and Cassidy have been busy this winter turning a bunkhouse into a sauna at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters.  This sauna will be available for guests of Voyageur to use when it’s completed.  It is located across the river and is the first bunkhouse at the top of the hill.  Chipmunk is the name of the bunk but it was originally known as Alpine.

This historic building came from a cabin site on the Minnesota side of Saganaga Lake. All buildings had to be removed in the late 1970’s when the Boundary Waters was being established. Don Enzenauer, the previous owner of Voyageur Canoe Outfitters, took advantage of the opportunity to buy a couple cabins. He purchased Chipmunk/Alpine as well as Bald Eagle(the second bunkhouse up the hill, pictured below). Bald Eagle and a similar sized cabin were located on an island near Sag Falls. Don and his neighbor bought the two cabins for $22. The pair had to dismantle them, transport them back to the end of the Gunflint Trail and rebuild them.  Don originally placed Alpine/Chipmunk in front of where today’s lodge stands and he used it as a home.

When Mike and I bought Voyageur there was a sauna located at the base of the stairs across the river.  We needed employee housing since we were not going to have employees stay in the Black Bear Cabin any longer.  We turned the sauna into employee housing and eventually into a bunkhouse called Pike.

Building is an expensive endeavor, especially at the end of the Gunflint Trail. We have dismantled other buildings in the area to bring to Voyageur in order to save money and resources on our building projects. Don was way ahead of the green movement when it came to reusing things and I guess you could say we followed in his footsteps as we reuse and re-purpose everything we can.

The Finn Who Would Not Take a Sauna by Garrison Keillor

or The Guy Who Came in from the Cold, by Garrison Keillor.

 

 

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Posted in Gunflint Trail, News

Canoe Registration for paddling the Boundary Waters

canoeing the bwca There was a time when any canoe being paddled in the Boundary Waters needed to be registered. That has changed for non-residents of Minnesota.

If you’re a Minnesotan who owns a canoe you probably know you need to register your watercraft. Sooner is usually better so you aren’t stuck doing it last minute on the day you want to use it. I say the same thing about purchasing my cross-country ski license each winter. There are even ski licenses you can purchase that are good for three years, just like a watercraft registration.  I’ve found saying and doing are two separate things.

Non-residents of Minnesota in the past had to either have their watercraft registered in their state of residence or register it in Minnesota. That law changed in 2017 so unless you are planning to use your canoe in Minnesota for over 90 days you don’t need to have it registered. BWCA portage

Prior to this change we encouraged our guests who were paddling to the Quetico Park with their out of state canoe to just get a tow boat ride through the BWCA to avoid the registration complication. Now they can paddle across Saganaga in their own canoe without having it registered.  I’d still take the tow boat ride! Find our more about our tow boat service on Saganaga Lake on our website.

 

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