The lakes on the Gunflint Trail are becoming less solid and more liquid by the day. A drive up the Gunflint Trail yesterday showed liquid bays on Poplar lake but some ice still floating around. Either the wind had pushed the big sheet of ice well out of sight on Gunflint Lake or its' ice has gone as well. There's a liquid path on the corridor of Saganaga up to the Canadian side of the lake. There is still quite a bit of ice on the Canadian side of Saganaga and on the bigger part of the Minnesota side but it won't be long at it will be all gone.
The USFS reported the following update yesterday morning at 9:00am. Most lakes south and west of us are open as well as small round lakes and long skinny lakes in an east/west orientation.
OPEN Lakes- Sawbill, Kawishiwi, Round, Gull, Hungry Jack, Swamper, Isabella, Perent, Little Sag, Long Island & Ogish
Still More than 50% ice- Saganaga, Alton, Brule, Cache Bay
For real-time results of ice out become a fan of our Voyageur Page on Facebook or a part of our Voyageur Group. We post ice out status as we get it!
The walleye have been actively spawning in the Seagull River and our Voyageur Crew has enjoyed watching them. Dana took a great underwater photo of these spawning beauties. Other photos are courtesy of the Quetico Park.
I have probably told you before I love the television show "Survivor." Back when we paid for TV programming we never missed an episode but for a number of years post paid TV and pre-internet viewing we didn't get to watch the series. In any case I've always thought the show needed to do a season in the northwoods during the winter.
I'm guessing there are a number of reasons "Survivor" doesn't want to film in a frozen tundra. The first reason being the young girls wouldn't be able to show off their bikini bodies and men couldn't walk around in their underwear. Another reason they might not want to film in the woods could be the host couldn't hack the cold in the winter or mosquitoes in the summer. Maybe competitors would refuse to get into the water because it's too cold so they couldn't have any water challenges?
Whatever the reasons there are for not having a season of "Survivor" in the snow or woods it doesn't really matter because National Geographic is making their own series. There won't be tribes voting people off of the island but I'm guessing it will be a great television show. The only problem I see with it is there aren't any women competitors at all.
While we've been approached to do a "Wife Swap" episode we've never been approached by "Survivor," "Ice Road Truckers" or "Gold Rush" which would be a blast to do. Maybe I'll get a phone call from "Ultimate Survival Alaska", it's the Survivor I've been waiting for.
Saturday, 11 May 2013 19:32 Mark Thiessen, The Associated Press
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Dallas Seavey knows what it's like to mush across the wilds of Alaska. Now it remains to be seen how he survives being dropped off in the middle of that wilderness and navigates his way out without the help of a dog team.
Seavey, 26, who became the youngest Iditarod champion ever when he won the 1,000-mile sled dog race across Alaska last year, is among eight mushers or outdoor adventurers featured in the latest reality show set in Alaska.
"Ultimate Survival Alaska" premieres Sunday (10 p.m. EST) on the National Geographic Channel.
"We took eight of the toughest outdoorsmen in Alaska and actually did something that was true to the nature of National Geographic," Seavey said. "Anybody who appreciates the outdoors is going to enjoy the show."
In each episode, the eight participants are taken by plane or helicopter to a different part of Alaska. They must find their way to a pre-arranged landing zone within three days, fighting the harshest elements the state puts in their way, from bears, mountains and raging rivers to guiding their way along a glacier. Spoiler alert: It's not easy.
In the first episode, titled "Arctic Hell," the men are dropped off in the Brooks Range, in northern Alaska above the Arctic Circle, and must make their way almost 50 miles on foot to Takahula Lake.
The men break off into three teams, with brothers Dallas and Tryell Seavey choosing to take a barren ridgeline to the lake. Mountain guide Willi Prittie, musher Brent Sass and explorer Tyler Johnson decide to travel the high mountain route only to find wolves blocking part of their path.
Mountain guide Marty Raney and his son, survival expert Matt, along with wilderness guide Austin Manelick choose the most direct route, through a river valley, but have to contend with the swift-moving river and swamps.
All eight men are expected to live off the land for any food beyond the two pounds of rice and beans they carry.
Manelick, 24, supplemented his diet by eating a live wood frog. "I wish I could find some more," he said, and so might viewers after his next culinary choice - snarfing down cranberries he picked out of bear scat.
"A little bit tart," he says.
Future episodes will have the men competing in two teams and building rafts to take down the mighty Yukon River, the nation's third longest river. Another episode has the men rappelling down a cliff on a summit in the snow-capped Tordrillo Mountains, then travelling eight miles over the Triumvirate Glacier.
The series was filmed over two and a half months last fall in 10 locations in the vast state.
For Tryell Seavey, 28, the series was a chance for him to reconnect with his younger brother. A decade ago, they dreamed of doing things like this but couldn't because they had to spend two- to three hours a day cleaning up after the dogs at their home in Seward, Alaska. Their father, Mitch Seavey, won the Iditarod in 2004 and this year became the sport's oldest champion at the age of 53.
"As Alaskans, we sure talk about doing all this stuff, but who does all these things, visits all these places?" Tryell said.
Both Dallas Seavey and Sass, a Minnesota native who was the Iditarod rookie of the year in 2012, said their experiences from the race helped prepare them for the survival challenge.
"The sleep deprivation, pain tolerance we endure and the constant problem solving we do during the race was a great prep for the show," Sass said in an email to The Associated Press.
It looks like a scene from the horror movie "The Blob." Lake ice being pushed ashore by waves of water crawls towards buildings in its path. Nothing appears able to stop it as it pushes through windows and doors and over houses. The ice consumes whatever is in its path.
The good news is the ice will melt and it didn't swallow any humans like the blob. The moving ice did cause damage to buildings on Lake Mille Lacs in Central Minnesota and in Manitoba. We've seen this happen on a small scale level along the shore of Lake Superior but I can't say I've ever seen ice pile up over 30 feet in height and I hope I never do.
The Gunflint Trail isn't normally busy for the Minnesota fishing opener and this year it was even less busy than normal. The solid state of most of the lakes made fishing in a boat a bit of a challenge. Some anglers were able to find a little bit of open water to do some fishing but for the most part people didn't go fishing. There's still ice on many of the lakes in the Boundary Waters so travel this spring has been limited to day trips on creeks and rivers.
When will the lakes finally be free of ice? Will the ice be off of Saganaga by the Canadian fishing opener this coming weekend? These are great questions many people are asking. Mark Ceminsky, a Voyageur Crew member, has been out taking photos of the ice out progress the past couple of weeks. While our little Gull Lake and Seagull River are open up to the narrows on Saganaga Lake there's still a good 18 inches of ice up by Clark Island. This isn't solid, good ice but it is ice nonetheless.
If the sun shines, the wind blows or we get some rain then the ice will deteriorate quickly. If it doesn't then we may be out of luck. Gunflint is opening up by the Cross River, Round Lake is reportedly ice free with paddlers heading towards Tuscarora, Larch Creek is running and Larch Lake could be ice free. Swamper Lake still has a thin sheet of ice floating on top of it but looks like it will go very soon. There are some places to paddle if you're adventurous. Smaller, shallower lakes will be the first to go.
Right now it's a waiting game on the Gunflint Trail. Waiting for the ice to melt...
Judge C.R. Magney State Park in Minnesota is home of the famous Devil's Kettle of the Brule River. It was named for Judge Magney because he was an advocate for starting state parks and helped start 11 state parks in Minnesota. It's a nice State Park about 14 miles northeast of Grand Marais, Minnesota.
The hike to Devil's Kettle is a favorite of visitors and locals alike. It's a relatively short 2.5 mile round trip hike but the 200 stairs down to the falls making the return trip a bit more demanding. The hike is worth the view of the 50 foot waterfall and allows hikers a chance to ponder just where the water goes.
The mystery of Devil's Kettle is unexplained since no one knows how half of the river gets to Lake Superior. As the river falls it splits in two and the section on the right lands at the base of the falls and flows downstream to Lake Superior. The section on the left vanishes into a pothole and it is believed that the water makes its way out to Lake Superior by means of underground passages, but the exact details are unknown.
Experiments have been performed with dyes and other objects to see where the water goes. But it's a mystery where the water and the objects turn up. Mother Nature Network recently wrote an article about Devil's Kettle that I'll share here. The next time you're on the North Shore come see if you can solve the mystery of Devil's Kettle.
The mystery of Devil's Kettle Falls
Side-by-side waterfalls send half of a river on its merry way to Lake Superior. But the other half? No one's been able to figure it out.
If you’ve ever worried that we’ve solved all the mysteries of nature, fear not. Minnesota’s Devil’s Kettle Falls has been puzzling hikers and geologists for generations. At the falls, along Lake Superior’s north shore, a river forks at a rock outcropping. While one side tumbles down a two-step stone embankment and continues on like a normal waterfall, the other side vanishes into a deep hole and disappears — apparently forever.
A few miles south of the U.S.-Canadian border, the Brule River flows through Minnesota’s Judge C. R. Magney State Park, where it drops 800 feet in an 8-mile span, creating several waterfalls. A mile and a half north of the shore of Lake Superior, a thick knuckle of rhyolite rock juts out, dividing the river dramatically at the crest of the falls. To the east, a traditional waterfall carves a downward path, but to the west, a geological conundrum awaits visitors. A giant pothole, the Devil’s Kettle, swallows half of the Brule and no one has any idea where it goes. The consensus is that there must be an exit point somewhere beneath Lake Superior, but over the years, researchers and the curious have poured dye, pingpong balls, even logs into the kettle, then watched the lake for any sign of them. So far, none has ever been found.
And this baffling situation only gets weirder when geologists start explaining Devil’s Kettle. Consider, for instance, the sheer quantity of water pouring into the kettle every minute of every day. While the notion of some kind of broad, underground river is an exciting device in movies, the reality is that those sorts of deep caves are rare, and only form in soft rock types like limestone. Northern Minnesota, as geologists will tell you, is built of stronger stuff.
In harder rocks like the local rhyolite and basalts, tectonic action can sometimes crush underground rock layers, creating a much more permeable environment for water. Unfortunately, there’s no evidence of a fault line in the area, and even if there were, it’s unlikely that the kettle could continue draining the Brule indefinitely. Storms and erosion send debris, sometimes as large as boulders and trees, over the falls and into the kettle — if the drainage route was, in effect, an underground gravel bed, at some point it would clog.
Another idea is that millions of years ago, a hollow lava tube may have formed beneath the falls, in the subsurface layer of basalt. Over time, the theory posits, the falling water eroded the rhyolite surface and punched straight down into the ancient lava tube, providing wide open access to the floor of Lake Superior. Again, there are problems with this theory, primarily that the local basalt is a type known as flood basalt, which spreads out as a flat sheet when ancient lava bubbled up from fissures in the ground. Lava tubes form in basalt flowing down the slopes of volcanoes, and even if the geology in northern Minnesota had somehow created an exception to that rule, no lava tubes have ever been found in any of the hundreds of exposed basalt beds in the area.
So where does the water go? So far, nobody knows — but not for lack of trying. Scientists and hikers will keep tossing things into the Devil’s Kettle and watching Lake Superior for any sign of their trinkets, but maybe there are other explanations. If you happen to be traveling, say, somewhere in Eurasia and stumble across a geyser that’s surrounded by pingpong balls, logs, and even a car that locals are reported to have pushed in one night years ago, you might want to call a geologist in Minnesota. You may just have solved the mystery of Devil’s Kettle Falls. See video of the falls below: