Justine Kerfoot

     If you have ever heard of the Gunflint Trail then chances are pretty good that you have heard of Justine Kerfoot.  Justine Kerfoot was an early pioneer of the Gunflint Trail who is part of the rich history of our area.  In addition to being a resort owner Justine also wrote for the Cook County News Herald for a number of years.  Once in awhile the paper will put one of her columns into the current paper and last week they posted one from February of 1997.  The story made me chuckle so I thought I would share it with you.  Justine has also written books so if you want to read more then check out our Voyageur Trading Post for her book called, "Woman of the Boundary Waters."

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     Soon after I moved here, I once set out mink traps in little shelters along the lake shore.  When paddling down the lake "running my trap line" one day, I caught a mink by its front leg.  It was still alive and active.

     It was one thing to pick up a mink that had been drowned, but another to find one still fighting for its life.  I covered its head, removed the trap and took it to an empty cabin to recuperate.  I fed it daily.  It recovered and liked its new quarters.

     It was a neat home until I discovered it had made a tunnel in a mattress, much to the disgust of my mother.  When the leg was healed, I left the door ajar and the fellow regained his freedom.

     However, I didn’t trap much longer.  I found it much more interesting to watch an otter run and slide on the lake, or watch an ermine, in its white winter coat, scurry in and out of a pile of logs.