Gotta go Skiing

This morning it was beautiful outside and I really wanted to go cross-country skiing. Unfortunately there were more urgent and important things to do than spending an hour or two in the woods.  I realized today how little I have been outside this winter and it makes me sad.

Before the kids were born I pretty much went cross-country skiing or snowshoeing every day when there was snow. It was something I obviously took for granted at the time. Last winter I only went cross-country skiing once! I should be able to double that this year quite easily, but I’ve heard “should” is a fantasy.  Let’s hope not.

Before I can go skiing I need to get my ski pass and that takes a couple of minutes to do. I also need to get new ski poles. I received some for a Christmas gift this year but unfortunately they are too long and Mike hasn’t been able to remove the baskets or handles in order to cut them down to the correct size.  That means I need to get another set of poles before I go skiing and that too takes a few minutes to do.  My minutes are pretty limited right now.

The Voyageur Brewing Company is opening on February 12th and there is still plenty to finish before then. The place looks amazing and the beer tastes even better. I’m so excited for all of our Voyageur summer guests and neighbors to be able to stop in before or after(or both) their trips and have a beer or pick up a growler to bring home.  I know you’ll love it.

I may just have to disappear into the woods for a couple of hours. I’m sure I’ll be more productive after spending time in the woods, I just gotta get out skiing sooner rather than later.

Posted in News

Eagle’s Eggs

The eagle has landed.  Landed back at the nest and laid three eggs! You can check it out the live feed video to see for yourself.

January 28, 2015 – Eggs and video upgrade


How ‘eggciting’, we now have three eagle eggs! As appears to be the norm for the DNR EagleCam nest, this pair has again laid their eggs earlier than we would have anticipated. In 2013, the pair laid during the first week of January. In 2014, the pair waited a little longer and started laying eggs on Valentine’s Day in mid-February. This year, the eggs were laid approximately as follows-

#1 – Laid on the 19th or 20th of January
#2 – Laid on the 22nd of January
#3 – Laid on the 25th of January
Minnesota temperatures have been hovering above average, which will increase the chances of successful hatching. If all goes well, we should see the first egg pip around February 24th. Throughout February and March eagles all over Minnesota will be laying eggs and tending nests. This is a great time to get outside and watch eagles hunt and forage for food while they prepare for their new mouths to feed. Consider taking a walk outside and see if you can spot some eagles in action. Areas of open water along big rivers (such as the Mississippi) are great places to take a short walk to view eagles and much more! Bring some binoculars! More on wildlife viewing.

For more information on our MN weather, visit the DNR’s Current Conditions webpage – the nest is located in Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

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New Fishing Regulations in 2 BWCA Lakes

I’m not surprised the DNR has decided to make changes to the walleye limit on Saganaga and Seagull Lakes in the BWCA. There had been a few public meetings where many people voiced their opposition to the new rules which dropped the limit from 6 walleye down to 3 walleye in possession.  There is a new regulation saying the fish must be at least 17 inches long as well and these rules will be in place for 10 years.  Gull Lake and I’m assuming the Seagull River(even though we’re not considered part of Saganaga according to the USFS) is also included in this new regulation.

What does that mean for me? Not too much because I can’t remember the last time I caught even three walleye in the same day. If I do catch them then I usually throw them back anyway. It might affect those who want to have a meal or two of walleye but hopefully the new regulations will help the fishery.

Locals claim the DNR is responsible for the lowered walleye population from year’s past.  It’s rumored the DNR took way too much spawn from the walleye of Saganaga Lake for too many years. I don’t know how much they took and I do know they have been trying to stock the lake in years past but from what I hear only with walleye not big enough to survive all of the predators in the lake.  I also don’t know what the DNR plans to do as far as stocking in the future.  Only time will tell.

New walleye regulations on some lakes in the BWCA

By Josh Lee

January 26, 2015 Updated Jan 26, 2015 at 4:13 PM CSTDULUTH, MINN. ( — Authorities are tightening walleye regulations for three lakes in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and loosening regulations for another popular northern Minnesota fishing lake.

The Department of Natural Resources announced the changes today as part of special regulations effective March First.

Walleyes taken from Lakes Saganaga, Seagull and Gull in Cook County, must be at least 17 inches long and the bag limit has been reduced from six to three.

The change is meant to protect small walleye in those lakes, all of which are partially in the BWCA.

Walleye taken from Lake Winnibigoshish, must been between 18 and 23 inches.

Effects of this regulation will be studied for the next 10 years, and will be reviewed with the public in 2024.

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Posted in fishing

Fresh Snow on the Gunflint Trail

We received some fresh snow today and it looks like a winter wonderland again.  The additional snow will be nice especially for the North Shore where it was scarce. It will help the cross-country ski trails and the North Shore snowmobile trail and make the trails on the Gunflint even better.  I’m sure the Beargrease participants don’t mind the snow either because at least it means it isn’t freezing cold outside.  Now if I can just find some time to get outside and enjoy the snow, I hope you can do the same!

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Crazy Doesn’t Begin to Describe It

The “It” I am referring to is something that is supposed to resemble our life. I’m not sure if it’s me or Mike or the combination of the two or the addition of the two kids that made us crazy but our lives are definitely crazy. Thank Goodness for great friends, Tony & Hannah and cell phones with wi-fi.

One question I ask myself frequently is, “Why didn’t I let Josh quit hockey when he wanted to give up in Kindergarten?” The other boys in his class were playing hockey so he thought he should play hockey too. The only thing was he had never skated and didn’t have an older sibling that he had watched play. When he couldn’t skate as fast as the other kids he decided he didn’t want to play but we insisted. “You’re a part of a team, you wanted to play, you signed up and you don’t have to play again after this year, but you’re not quitting now.”

Maybe if we hadn’t been carting him all over for the past 7 years we wouldn’t have agreed to having Abby play volleyball on a team in Duluth this winter. Guilt makes you do crazy things. Like drive down to Cloquet on Friday for a 2pm hockey game and back to Duluth for a 7:30pm volleyball practice then back to Cloquet the next day for a 10am and 2pm hockey game. Then ditch your son with another hockey family so you can get up at 4:30am to drive to St. Paul for a volleyball tournament and not get home until 10pm.

I wish I could say this week will be better only it won’t.  Josh has practice in Silver Bay Monday night, practice in Two Harbors Tuesday night and Abby has practice in Duluth on Wednesday night. Then on Thursday night it’s back to Duluth for a hockey game and Friday head down to the cities for another volleyball tournament on Saturday and Sunday while Josh has a game in Ashland, Wisconsin on Saturday as well.  Maybe the next weekend will be better? Nope. Hockey in International Falls on the weekend and volleyball in Duluth on Sunday.

Yes. We are crazy. Crazy about our kids and their athletics. The insanity will end all too soon and we’ll be wishing we were chasing around with them again, at least that’s what other parents tell me. I don’t think any of those parents ever spent as much time on the road as us, but I do believe I will miss it. So, until they say, “Uncle.” I’ll say, “Hurry up, we gotta go.”

Posted in News

Beargrease Begins Tomorrow

The 31st running of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon begins tomorrow in Two Harbors, Minnesota.  The race normally begins in Duluth, Minnesota but due to the lack of snow it is beginning a little farther north.  The start of the race is always fun to watch. The dogs bark and jump and jump and bark as they wait for their turn to start.  As soon as they are free to run they quit barking and fall into their own rhythym.

If you’re looking for something to do tomorrow head on up to Two Harbors and check out the Beargrease!

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Vote for Grand Marais as America’s Coolest Small Town

I know Grand Marais is a cool town, even in the summer thanks to Lake Superior.  In all seriousness, Grand Marais, Minnesota is a semifinalist in the “America’s Coolest Small Town” contest sponsored by Budget Travel.  I’m sure you think Grand Marais pretty cool too, if so then go online and vote for it.  That would be cool if it one…

Is Grand Marais ‘America’s Coolest Small Town’?

PAM LOUWAGIE | Updated 1/22/2015

The Boundary Waters gateway city is one of 15 semifinalists in Budget Travel’s online contest for “America’s Coolest Small Town.”

Just how “cool” is Grand Marais?
Elizabeth Flores

First, Duluth-loving voters took to the Internet to catapult the Lake Superior city to the title of Outside Magazine’s “Best Town in America.”

Now fans of Grand Marais, the tiny tourist destination up the shore, are campaigning for a contest of their own.

The Boundary Waters gateway city is one of 15 semifinalists in Budget Travel magazine’s online contest for “America’s Coolest Small Town.”

The city became a semifinalist after receiving 472 nominations online. It’s competing with towns from Maine to Hawaii during online voting which closes at 11:59 p.m. on February 25. The top 10 towns will be featured online and in an upcoming issue of the magazine.

The only other Minnesota town to be a finalist was Ely, in 2010.

To vote on this year’s contest, go here.

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Gum in the Boundary Waters

I usually don’t bring gum into the BWCA with me but now I might. Check this out!

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Posted in skills

Paddling Entertainment

If you’re a paddling enthusiast looking to be entertained then you might want to check out a couple of things. One is a television show called the “Paddling Bryans.” I haven’t watched it yet but a friend suggested I check it out on Facebook.  It’s about two Canadian guys named Bryan who travel around by canoe and I imagine they have awesome Canadian accents that would be fun to listen to.

When you can’t go paddling it’s always nice to watch shows about it or hear about it.

Adam Maxwell will be giving a presentation at the University of Minnesota Duluth on February 23rd.  He, along with some other paddlers are the ones who canoed to the Arctic this summer.  It’s from 7-8:30pm at Duluth’s Bohannon Hall and it’s free. Below is the description of his presentation.
Program description:
During the summer of 2014 a crew of 6 young men and women completed a
canoe expedition covering 920 miles from Northern Saskatchewan to Whales
Cove, Nunavut, led by UMD graduate Adam Maxwell. Adam will share
stories and photos of their travel which began in the boreal forest then into
the arctic tundra and eventually to the coast of Hudson Bay. Wildlife sightings
included thousands of caribou, musk ox, polar bears, and a wolverine. The
crew faced many challenges including long portages, a busted canoe, and
several low water streams. In addition to hearing stories about this expedition
join in a conversation about the planning of northern river travel, including
ways that college students can take advantage of their large amount of free
time over summer break to complete a budget conscious trip with very little
transportation cost.

Posted in News

What Time is it? BWCA Permit Time!

Well, it’s almost Boundary Waters permit time. Reservations for all entry points can be made on a first-come, first-served basis beginning January 28, 2015, 9 a.m. Central Time.  It isn’t a mad rush for permits on the Gunflint Trail side of the BWCA so if you don’t have your travel plans set yet then don’t fret. We have great availability for most entry points well into the summer season.

It is however never too early to start planning your Boundary Waters canoe trip. It’s nice to get a couple of them on the calendar nice and early so other activities don’t get in the way of your paddling and camping fun.  Prioritization is what it’s all about. I know I wish I could have spent more time in the woods this past summer.

I’m hopeful for a quality canoe trip with my family this summer. Last summer was way too busy with Abby at camp every other week it seemed. With Hannah and Tony here this winter and staying for next summer I know when we go paddling we’ll be leaving our guests in very capable hands.  Speaking of Tony and Hannah, that’s who you’ll be speaking with if you’re ready to make your BWCA permit reservation with Voyageur.  They are answering phones and holding down the fort while we travel all over for sports for our kids.  Feel free to give them a call, they will be happy to help you plan your trip and reserve your permit for you.

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