Goat, a Voyageur Legend

Those of you who have visited Voyageur in the summer may have noticed a guy in a golf cart. That was Goat. He was a fixture at Voyageur as he spent 2-4 weeks with us every summer. He arrived in his RV pulling a double decker trailer he built himself with his boat, “GPS Misguided” on it.  He worked on projects, fixed whatever was broken and went fishing on the side.  Goat, Ron Clemann passed away without having made his annual trip to Voyageur this year. This summer he opted to stay close to home to care for a family member and was planning to take a trip up this month for Matt and Cassidy’s wedding. To say we missed his annual summer visit is one thing, to say we will have to miss him forever is another.

There are countless deeds and projects Goat helped with at Voyageur. I could begin to list them but I know I would leave out tons of them. More importantly he was always there to lend a hand and attempt to fix whatever needed fixing. Every summer he’d bring a big bag of sweet corn from the fields of Iowa to share with our staff and some of his apple pie.

Our first summer at Voyageur, 1993, Goat told me before he paid his bill I had to have some apple pie with him. I had no clue apple pie was his concoction of ever clear, apple cider and apple juice but when one of only a handful of guests that first summer said I had to do or have something before getting paid I was certainly game. We sat down at the picnic table for apple pie and a connection was made to this quiet yet crazy soul.

Every summer since Ron has been bringing his hooch, sweet corn, Keystone beer and inebriating our staff in his RV while schooling them in cribbage. He touched the lives of so many of our guests and crew and anyone who met him had to adore him.

To say 2020 has been a tough year just isn’t enough. We’ve lost some amazing folks this year and Goat is at the top of the list.  I am brought a little bit of comfort by knowing when I walk, swim or paddle through the pearly gates Goat is going to be there waiting for me with a smile and a glass of apple pie.

Rest in peace Goat, we will miss you.

 

RONALD DALE CLEMANN
Keystone

Ronald Dale “Goat or Billy Goat” Clemann, 68, passed away suddenly Monday, Sept. 7, 2020 at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Sept. 25, 2020, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Keystone Turner Hall. Interment will be held at the Keystone Cemetery.
Ron was born on May 8, 1952, the son of Wayne and Evelyn (Coleman) Clemann. He graduated from South Tama High School in 1970. On May 27, 1972, he was united in marriage to Debra Fellmet at St. John Lutheran Church in Keystone. Ron worked as an electrician at Amana Refrigeration until his retirement in 2010.
Ron was a volunteer fireman for Keystone Fire department for 21 years. He enjoyed attending the firemen’s convention, where he was part of a group that was like family called Swampville. He was a member of the Keystone Turners for more than 40 years and was passionate about his town and those who lived there. Ron enjoyed fishing and would go to the Boundary Waters every summer for more than 25 years.
He is survived by his wife, Deb; three children, Jamey Clemann and Ryan Clemann of Keystone and Hollie (Lucas) Garwood of Vinton; nine grandchildren, Nathan and Brayden Clemann, Cameron, Jack and Leah Clemann and Reed, Kennadie, Gabriel and Mallorie “aka Mabel” Garwood; a brother, Russ (Leann) Clemann of Toledo, Iowa; and a sister, Susan (David) Scott of Maquoketa, Iowa.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
Online condolences: www.phillipsfuneralhomes.com

Posted in News

Lake property owners are stewards

Here’s an informational video I stumbled upon recently, it’s worth the watch especially if you own property on a lake.

Posted in News

She remains with us, Janice, the Cache Bay Ranger

It is with the deepest sadness we let you know about Janice’s passing. She was diagnosed with Glioblastoma brain cancer the first week of June and left her body sometime late Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. Our hearts break for her children and loved ones left behind.

I’m filled with sadness and regret over missed opportunities over the years when I thought, “We can do that on your next set of days off.” Janice has been an integral part of our family over the years, often spending her days off from Cache Bay with us in Grand Marais or at the outfitters. She watched our kids grow up over the years and took care of them when Mike and I went on vacations or out to dinner.  She was one of those people who could leave in September and return in May and without having talked for months we were right back where we left off.  It was a very comfortable friendship where neither one of us were afraid to say what our heart and soul were feeling. There are memories to last a lifetime but I sure wish we could have made more.

There are so many things I could say, but right now I’ll leave them unsaid.  I know she is with us, the sound of the breeze on the trees, the sparkle of the water on the lake, a piece of nature that catches your eye and especially the raven as it perches with it’s watchful eye.

We will all miss you Janice, our beautiful Cache Bay Ranger.

From her daughter’s post…

The Post we have all been dreading is here; Mom passed away in her sleep last night, in her bed at home in Atikokan with Leif & i near by.
There was no pain or struggle, her Brother Darcy & father Sam both came & spent time with her together yesterday afternoon, when they left her final wishes were complete & she began to let go.
She spent her last days listening to her favorite music, smelling the fresh air & her favorite scents, and even a campfire in her backyard, with loved ones by her side, and listened & laughed & smiled while we read the many messages you all have so kindly relayed.
Leif & i cannot begin to thank you all for the incredible support you have provided our family.
We are spending today privately, we have everything we need & will give further update & info later on.
If you would like to call or stop by, please wait a day.
&/or text either of us
Again, thank you all ever so kindly for EVERYTHING
You all made this process as “easy” as it could have been.
So go for a walk, a paddle, a drive, look at the sky if you have no other nature in your view, and be grateful for today, because not everyone has been given it.

From the Go Fund Me…

Our beautiful friend, Janice Matichuk has been diagnosed with Glioblastoma brain cancer. This came as a huge shock to Janice, her family and friends. Janice has always been the strong one, the determined one, creative one, making a difference with many not-for-profit organizations, schools and anyone who needed help. 

Janice has always given more than she received. All her life she has volunteered for different organizations, Canoe Ontario, the North Bay cross country ski club, Friends of Quetico, the Pictograph Gallery, Beaten Path Nordic trails as well as many more that I can’t remember.

Janice is also responsible for saving lives during her time at Cache Bay, a ranger station in Quetico Provincial Park,  since 1985. This is the first time since she started work as a ranger, that Janice cannot help campers coming into Quetico to be safer and more environmentally responsible as they canoe through Quetico’s vast wilderness.

The following months will be a difficult time for Janice. There will be many health related travel trips to Thunder Bay and possibly elsewhere  for treatment. All of this will require considerable financial cost to Janice and her family. I am asking for anyone who has the ability to please contribute to this gofundme page.

Thank you for assisting Janice and her family during this difficult time.

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Posted in BWCA

Campfires allowed in the Boundary Waters

The campfire ban for the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness has been lifted due to the significant amount of precipitation received recently. That’s great news for people who love to spend time around a campfire.

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Posted in BWCA

Boundary Waters bears and campfire ban

bears in the bwcaIt’s been a dry summer so far in the Boundary Waters and the Superior National Forest has enacted a fire ban. This means no open campfires are allowed in the BWCA during the 4th of July and after until conditions change.

The Forest Service says current drought data shows lands across Superior National Forest, including the entire BWCA, are in the ‘abnormally dry’ and ‘moderate drought’ condition categories. Such conditions can cause serious harm and dangerous scenarios, including increased fire danger and a decline in lake and river levels. Due to these conditions, the potential for wildfires remains high in and around the Superior National Forest. With the continued lack of moisture and increase in temperatures, potential heat sources such as engines or campfires can easily ignite surrounding vegetation, resulting in a wildfire, the Forest Service says.

The blueberry crop was looking really good earlier in the season but the lack of moisture isn’t good. This could mean fewer berries and hungrier bears. Normally once berries ripen black bears find plenty to eat without visiting a campsite. We are hoping this is the case as there have been a number of bear sightings at BWCA campsites over the past couple of weeks. We even have a resident bear at Voyageur who doesn’t mind being treed by Bosley or having his photo taken.

Please use caution during these dry conditions and keep a clean camp in the Boundary Waters to keep bears and other critters away.

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Posted in BWCA

Quetico Park Cache Bay Ranger

Janice Cache Bay RangerOur favorite Quetico Park Cache Bay Ranger Janice received some bad news recently.  First it was you can’t go to your summer home island where you’ve lived and worked the past 30 plus years,  but it’s much worse than that. Janice has been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and she could use your healing prayers and support.

From Go Fund Me website…

Our beautiful friend, Janice Matichuk has been diagnosed with Glioblastoma brain cancer. This came as a huge shock to Janice, her family and friends. Janice has always been the strong one, the determined one, creative one, making a difference with many not-for-profit organizations, schools and anyone who needed help. 

Janice has always given more than she received. All her life she has volunteered for different organizations, Canoe Ontario, the North Bay cross country ski club, Friends of Quetico, the Pictograph Gallery, Beaten Path Nordic trails as well as many more that I can’t remember.

Janice is also responsible for saving lives during her time at Cache Bay, a ranger station in Quetico Provincial Park,  since 1985. This is the first time since she started work as a ranger, that Janice cannot help campers coming into Quetico to be safer and more environmentally responsible as they canoe through Quetico’s vast wilderness.

The following months will be a difficult time for Janice. There will be many health related travel trips to Thunder Bay and possibly elsewhere  for treatment. All of this will require considerable financial cost to Janice and her family. I am asking for anyone who has the ability to please contribute to this gofundme page.

Thank you for assisting Janice and her family during this difficult time.

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Posted in Quetico Park

Hiking the Magnetic Rock Trail on the Gunflint Trail

Hiking the Magnetic Rock TrailThe Magnetic Rock Trail is probably the most well-known hiking trail on the Gunflint Trail. The well-marked trailhead is 48 miles from Grand Marais and the parking lot is directly off of the Gunflint Trail on the East side of the road.  Other hiking trails on the Gunflint Trail require a few more directions to get to the trailhead so the Magnetic Rock Trail is an easy one to recommend and a relatively short and easy 3-mile round trip hike. It’s a quick 10 minute drive from Voyageur Canoe Outfitters and there’s a latrine and a picnic table located at the trailhead.

The Magnetic Rock Trail is famous for the 60-foot tall rock that makes your compass spin due to its magnetic properties. Magnetite is one of the dominant iron bearing minerals found in the bedrock of the Lake Superior Region and our local Gunflint Iron Formation.  Due to the amount of magnetite in the area you might want to check your compass readings in a variety of locations if you ever find yourself lost in our woods.  If you want to learn more about the geology of our area here’s a link to a Gunflint Trail hikingstudy you might find interesting.

The Magnetic Rock Trail was burned during the 2007 Ham Lake Fire. The fire opened up views that had once been blocked by towering pines. The trail crosses Larch Creek, passes over exposed bedrock and offers great vistas from the top of rock ledges. Amazingly some of the views are once again becoming obstructed in places due to the thriving jack pines and birch trees that have shot up over the years. The blueberry picking along the trail has always been dependable which also might be why the Magnetic Rock Trail is so popular.

Magnetic Rock hiking trailThe trail is part of the Border Route Trail and actually continues beyond the Magnetic Rock and follows the United States and Canadian Border for another 60 or so miles. Most folks turn around at the rock but you can make a great loop by following the Border Route for 1.73 miles out to a gravel road(Gunflint Narrows Road). When you reach the road you take a right onto the Gunflint Narrows Road and hike 1.15 miles out to the Gunflint Trail. At the Gunflint Trail you take a right and hike about 1.5 miles back to the trailhead of the Magnetic Rock Trail.

 

Hiking Gunflint Trail

Gunflint Trail scenery

Hiking the Border Route Trail

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Posted in Gunflint Trail, hiking

Boundary Waters claims first life of the season

It’s always a sobering thought to think about death but especially when it happens in the Boundary Waters. We received news on the 20th of May a canoe had capsized on Tuscarora Lake and one person was missing. The first assumption whenever we hear a person is missing on a lake in the BWCAW is the person wasn’t wearing a life vest. Next my thoughts immediately go to the folks in the group paddling and camping with the individual.  I cannot imagine the terror or stress of the situation.

This incident isn’t the first of it’s kind to happen in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and it won’t be the last. It turns out this individual, Billy Cameron a 29-year old from Indiana, was wearing his life vest and died from hypothermia. I listened to an interview with Billy’s girlfriend on WTIP  and she explained the incident as relayed to her.

Billy was paddling in a canoe with two of his friends on Tuscarora Lake in the Boundary Waters. The canoe capsized and the three friends attempted to right the canoe but waves prevented them from being able to empty the water out or get back into the canoe. After approximately five minutes of being in the water their limbs were numb, after about 15 minutes one individual was drifting in and out of consciousness. Billy attempted to swim to shore and was last seen close to shore and the individual who was conscious isn’t sure why he didn’t make it to shore.

I don’t know how word got out that these individuals were in trouble on Tuscarora. I do know Search and Rescue was called and a USFS float plane flew to the rescue and located the two individuals. They were brought to the seaplane base on Devil’s Track Lake and most likely were met by the ambulance. The float plane went back to look for Billy and since he was wearing his life vest he was found but too much time had gone by and he had passed away from hypothermia.

The ice on most of the lakes of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area typically remains until sometime in May. While areas like the Twin Cities of Minnesota or other places farther south have had ice free lakes and warm temperatures in May we can still find snow in the forest. The lakes of the BWCA are deep and even in mid-summer can be dangerously cold. Hypothermia can happen during any month of the year in the Boundary Waters and Quetico Park and indeed it has.

How can you prevent death by hypothermia in the Boundary Waters?  While you’re never 100% safe and secure in the wilderness the best advice we can give you is, always paddle close to shore and always wear your lifevest. If you can reach shore in less than five minutes you have a much better chance of surviving than you do by staying in the water.  On the 20th of May the air temperature recorded at the end of the Gunflint Trail reached 79 degrees and the sun was out in full force. If the three friends could have made it quickly to shore they could have stripped out of their wet clothes, performed jumping jacks or snuggled in the sunshine together to raise their body temperature and they would have had a scary but funny story to tell. Unfortunately they were paddling too far from shore when they capsized and their friend is no longer with them.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Billy’s family and friends. We don’t want to have to tell another story about someone else dying in the Boundary Waters, especially not due to drowning or hypothermia. These two things can be prevented so please, wear your life vest and paddle close to shore.

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Posted in BWCA

Boundary Waters bound walleye

Walleyes in Saganaga Lake of the Boundary Waters spawn in the Seagull River in the spring. They swim against the current and make their way through the rapids and to the falls between Seagull Lake and Saganaga Lake.  They don’t remain there for long before they head back into the BWCA. After the spawn they are usually inactive for awhile before they will start biting bait on angler’s lines.

The Minnesota DNR ensures their safety during this time by closing the spawn area for fishing until Friday night at midnight of Memorial Weekend. Guess what? Today’s the day! We wish all of the anglers the best of luck and remind everyone to stay safe and wear a life jacket.

 

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Posted in fishing

Boundary Waters open for camping

The Boundary Waters Canoe Area is open for overnight canoeing and camping. At Voyageur Canoe Outfitters we are super excited to be a part of your BWCA canoe trip. It’s been a crazy time for everyone these past couple of months so it’s super refreshing to be able to rely on the Boundary Waters to remain consistent and familiar. The fresh air, sparkling water, towering pine trees and sound of the loons have a way of welcoming you and making you feel like you’ve stepped into a different world. It’s a good world in the Boundary Waters where masks aren’t required, social distancing has always been the norm and events have never been allowed.

BWCAW canoe tripWe would love to be a part of you BWCA canoe trip this summer.  We’re doing things a little bit differently at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters but it’s pretty much business as usual. We have the standard plexiglass in the office, a sign asking there to be just one group in the store at time and a few other things we’re doing differently but we also have the same friendly, familiar faces and awesome customer service we’ve always had. We hope to see you at Voyageur soon, please give us a call, 218-388-2224.

 

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Posted in BWCA

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