Happy New Year from the Voyageur Crew!

Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  It’s been awhile since you’ve heard from me but it doesn’t mean I’m not thinking of you! Hope to see you in 2021!

Posted in News

Paddle quietly and carry a Big Six

Big Agnes Big SixThere’s no need to carry a big stick when you’re paddling and portaging in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area but you should probably think about carrying a Big Six Camp Chair made by Big Agnes.  This big and comfortable high back chair was by far the favorite on our recent canoe camping trip with Matt and Cassidy.

Camp chairs make life around camp so much more comfortable. Sitting on the ground is fine when it’s dry and warm but in the chill of spring or fall sitting on a chair is much nicer.Boundary Waters Helinox

We’ve tried a large number of camp chairs over the years of owning Voyageur Canoe Outfitters. Crazy Creek, Alps Mountaineering and even the two-legged Alite Monarch chair have all been into the BWCA with us. There are many comfortable and lightweight chairs on the market these days and my favorite is Helinox Chair One.  It has accompanied me to baseball games, into the Boundary Waters and even into living rooms for extra seating.

Helinox Chair oneI actually never got to sit in the Big Six chair because we only had one along on our trip and someone was always sitting in it. It has a tall back, sits 20″ off of the ground and is much larger than the Camp One by Helinox. Helinox has a high back chair option too, we just didn’t have one of those on our trip. I think I know what I’m getting Mike for Christmas this year.

Big Agnes used to sell Helinox chairs but something must have happened because they now have their own line of chairs. They look exactly the same as the Helinox so I’m guessing they are. It probably doesn’t matter what brand or style of chair you choose as long as it’s lightweight, breaks down to a small size and makes camp life more comfortable. Hlinox Chair One

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Posted in BWCA

What a canoe is made for

Canoe trip into the Boundary WatersPeople who paddle canoes may be familiar with the sound the bottom of a kevlar canoe makes as it comes into contact with the mucky bottom of a shallow creek bed. It’s a sort of shloshing sound that accompanies the canoe as it gradually comes to a complete stop. “This is what canoes are made for!”

I’m not sure how many times we heard Mike repeat this mantra on our Boundary Waters Kawishiwi River canoe trip this fall. Had we known it would be used over and over maybe we would have started counting the first time. Like the rising of the sun each time Matt and Cassidy’s canoe or ours came to an unexpected stop due to low water levels Mike would say, “This is what canoes are made for.” Sometimes he would add another phrase, something similar to, “A jet ski couldn’t travel here.” BWCAW

True. The waterway we paddled and the portages we took would not have been possible using a jet ski. It also would not have been possible without encouragement from paddling partners or companions. We found a number of rocks just beneath the surface where our canoes came to a rest. Push, pull, shove and get out of the canoe to get ourselves off, a jet ski wouldn’t have made it. A well constructed dam of trees, mud and twigs by a beaver would have stopped anyone on a jet ski, but not us in our canoes. The almost dried up waterways that looked more like a marshy grassland than a place to paddle were what a canoe was made for.

A canoe was made to take you places not intended for other watercraft to travel. A canoe was made to bring you to a place where contentment is almost always found.

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Posted in BWCA

Dog Found in the BWCA after 11 days

BWCA lost dog foundA dog went missing on portage in the Boundary Waters on September 17th. Eden is a Tibetian Terrier and only weighs around 25 pounds. When we heard the news about the dog being lost on the portage between Kiskadinna and Muskeg Lakes near Long Island Lake we immediately wanted to go search for it. Unfortunately schedules wouldn’t allow us to and after the owners spent three days searching they had to give up and return home.  I can’t imagine how awful that must have been for them.  As the days continued to pass we didn’t think this story would have a happy ending but thankfully it does.

Eden was found by campers on Tuesday about five miles from where the dog went missing.  They didn’t know about the missing dog but when they got out of the BWCA and into cell phone range they called the number on Eden’s collar and reached the ecstatic owners.

This is one of those stories that warms the heart. If only Eden had been wearing a camera that could have recorded her adventures over the days she survived alone in the Boundary Waters. If she could speak what a story she would tell.BWCA missing dog found




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Matt and Cassidy Wed!

We are so happy to announce the marriage of Matt and Cassidy.They were wed on Saturday, September 19th and we are so pleased to announce their union. Cheers to the most amazing people we know.

married voyageur crew

voyageur crew weds

Please send gifts and/or money to 189 Sag Lake Trail, Grand Marais, Mn 55604.

Posted in News

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 “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

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