Scenes from the Beargrease

Nace Hagemann took some amazing photos of this year’s Beargrease, these are just a few. Find more on his website.







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Where’s the Ice?

It doesn’t look like I’ll be making a trek out to the ice caves near the Apostle Islands this year. It doesn’t look like many people will be walking on the Great Lakes at all this year. The mild temperatures have kept the big lakes relatively ice free. That’s a bummer for some but for others it’s a blessing.

The shipping industry is happy for the lack of ice on the Great Lakes. Not only have they been able to extend their season but also they will most likely not have a delay to start in the spring. Ice  breakers will not need to forge the way for the ships unless we receive some drastically cold weather soon.

Find our more about the ice on the Great Lakes or lack there of it by reading this article.

Ice coverage

Ice coverage

Posted in News

Freezing My Pants Off

It hasn’t been that cold out this winter but someone knows how to have a good time when it does get cold.  Tom Grotting from Minneapolis freezes pants and places them around his neighborhood for fun. I might just have to try this sometime!

Freezing Pants

Freezing Pants




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Winter on the Superior Hiking Trail

We all know how enjoyable a hike on the Superior Hiking Trail is but did you know it is just as fun, if not more in the winter? Why don’t you find out for yourself by taking a guided hike with the SHT crew this winter?

The next one is coming up on February 13th, a great way to celebrate Valentine’s Day!

February 13 Snowshoe Hike 10:00 Sucker River Trailhead to Fox Farm Pond Campsite and Back

2.4 miles total. Snowshoe through spruce-balsam forest and over the Sucker River Bridge on a gradual climb to maple forest and the Fox Farm Pond Campsite. Meet at Sucker River Trailhead. At Hwy 61 milepost 14.9, turn north (inland) on Homestead Rd (Co. Rd. 42) and go 5.75 mi. Turn left on W. Knife River Rd. and go 0.5 mi. Turn right on App Rd and go 1.5 mi to intersection with Two Harbors Rd. App Rd. changes to Fox Farm Rd (Co. Rd. 266) here. Continue straight on Fox Farm Rd. 5.3 mi to parking lot on left.

And if you love the Superior Hiking Trail then why not consider joining their board? They are looking for members so fill out an application if you’re interested and hope to see you on the Trail!

SHTA Seeking Four New Board Members
SHTA Board elections will be held in May at the Hike Fest. We are currently seeking applications of people interested in serving on the board.
We are looking for a variety of candidates with a variety of backgrounds. Some of our identified needs include:
finance background;
someone with experience with integrated accounting/database/fulfillment systems to help SHTA transition to a new system;
civil engineering or bridge design background;
someone from Cook County and someone from the Duluth area.
But all applications are welcome.
How does the board do its work?
The 15 member board meets on the North Shore six times a year, each board member serves on a committee that meets prior to the regular board meeting, and board members serve three-year terms.
Please contact the SHTA office for questions and for the position description and application or download the information from our website. The application deadline is Friday, February 26th.

Fun on the Trail

Fun on the Trail

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6 More Weeks of Winter

The Groundhog predicted 6 more weeks of winter this Groundhog’s Day and that is fine by me. There are lots of ski trails I want to ski, I need to get my snowshoes on the snow and I would really love to wet a fishing line through the ice. Besides, with the warm and mild temperatures we’ve had it doesn’t seem like we’ve had winter at all.

Groundhog? Nope Pine Marten

Groundhog? Nope Pine Marten

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Happy February

It’s February already? Where did January go? No sense looking behind and wondering where it went it’s time to look ahead and see where you are going.

Cross-country skiing? Snowmobiling? If you want to find out how the trails are then you can check out this page on the Minnesota DNR website. It shows you how much snow is in each part of the state and lists the conditions of the trails. If you are looking for specific information about Cook County then check out our local page for up to date information.

Or give us a call at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters, we’re out and about and can let you know our favorites so you can have a Happy February!

Posted in News

Beargrease Begins!

Catch the beginning of the Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon in Two Harbors, Minnesota. You can follow along on the journey by checking out this page of the website to find out where each musher is located thanks to their GPS.

The forecast calls for warm temperatures which isn’t ideal for the dogs. With their fur coats they will have to have frequent rests in order to not overheat and/or get dehydrated. The snow pack will be soft making the trail slower than normal as well.

Here’s wishing all of the mushers and their four-legged companions and safe and fun journey along the North Shore of Minnesota.

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Plenty of Snow for Winter Fun

We’re lucky to live in a part of the United States that receives plenty of snow. I always say, “If it is going to be cold then we better have snow so we can enjoy it.”

Even though our winter has been mild to say the least we have been able to enjoy our snow time activities.  I’ve been out cross-country skiing numerous times and the trails are in great condition. Of course I would like to spend more time skiing and get my snowshoes out but there are only so many daylight hours.

Mike was able to go for a snowmobile ride the other day. He took Matt and Cassidy along and they had a fabulous time. They were amazed at the views and all of the animal tracks. Mike in the lead, saw tracks of wolf, moose, lynx and fox but no otter slides.

If you’ve ever wanted to experience winter on the Gunflint Trail then come on up to Voyageur Canoe Outfitters. It’s a magical place and there is plenty of snow for fun.

Snowmobiling Fun

Snowmobiling Fun

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Buyerarchy of Needs

I love the concept of “Buyerarchy of Needs.” Similar to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs or maybe the food pyramid it places buying something as the last resort.

How many times do you buy something you don’t need? Maybe you thought you needed it but you really didn’t.  I think of this every Christmas when my husband and his two brothers, brother-in-law and father all get the same tools each other already has.  Wouldn’t it be a wiser investment to purchase a trailer like a carpenter and drive it to wherever it is needed? Since they don’t work on projects at the same time I think this would be a perfect solution.  But in our world everyone wants to own their own.

I’m just as guilty with the things I buy. I’m sure I could borrow more and buy less or get by with less. It just takes time to really think about each purchase. I hope you’ll do better than me.

From-Living Green 365

Buy less stuff
“A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.” George Carlin, comedian

I recently discovered a schematic on the internet called the “Buyerarchy of Needs” by Sarah Lazarovic. The graphic, modeled after Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, cleverly captures and presents a strategy for reducing wasteful purchases. Working from the bottom up, it encourages us to consider other options before buying new products.

Consumer goods that are cheaper to throw away than to repair have become common. The volume of goods that many of us purchase, use, and then discard has risen over time. This affects the environment in lots of negative ways.

You can reduce your ecological footprint by following the Buyerarchy approach. Here are some questions to ask yourself before heading to the store or the internet to shop:

Do I truly need this (new phone or gadget, clothing item, other consumer product) or can I get by without it?
Can I borrow, rent, or trade for this item?
If a purchase is required, can I obtain it used/second-hand?
Can I make this item with materials I already have on hand?
If you do buy new, look for products with a Lifetime Warranty.


Sarah Lazarovic graphic artist

Sarah Lazarovic graphic artist

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Posted in environment

Ecotherapy Go Play in the Dirt

Wouldn’t it be nice to get a prescription to get outside and play in the dirt? If you live in Washington, DC and visit pediatrician Robert Zarr you might just get a prescription to visit a park.  According to this article DC Park RX is a community health initiative that has mapped green spaces and parks in DC so doctors can prescribe time in parks to their patients.

“Researchers in the United Kingdom found that when people did physical activities in natural settings instead of “synthetic environments,” they experienced less anger, fatigue, and sadness.”

Time after time it has been proven that spending time outside with nature has physical and mental benefits. Ecotherapists understand this and prescribe nature based exercises to their patients.

What a simple way to be healthier and feel better. It doesn’t involve eating better, drinking less or losing 50 pounds it just involves spending more time outdoors.  And if spending a little bit of time outside is good for you then just think about how great a week in the Boundary Waters would be?

“The idea that nature exposure is important to human health goes way back…  In an 1862 issue of The Atlantic, Henry David Thoreau praised the vigor-inducing virtues of walking in nature: “Think of a man’s swinging dumbbells for his health, when those springs are bubbling up in far-off pastures unsought by him!” Also in this magazine… a physician wrote, “No doubt the lives of thousands would be saved by destroying their houses, and compelling them to sleep in the open air.”

Plan a Boundary Waters canoe camping trip and enjoy bubbling springs and sleeping in the open air and as an added bonus you’ll reap the many health benefits it can offer.

BWCA prescription

Boundary Waters Prescription

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