Record Low Temperatures on the Gunflint Trail

Clear skies made for record low temperatures Thursday night and early Friday morning. 13 below zero when the average temperatures are in the 30’s, brrrr.

Other lows reported in the region by the Weather Service on Friday morning included:

  • 17 below zero — Togo, Effie
  • 16 below — Embarrass, Birchdale
  • 15 below — Bigfork, Ash Lake
  • 13 below — Cook, Seagull Lake, Cotton
  • 12 below — Hibbing, Babbitt, Littlefork
  • 11 below — Orr, Isabella, Crane Lake
  • 10 below — Eveleth
  • 9 below — Grand Marais airport, Ely
  • 7 below — Grand Rapids, Twig, Minong, Sturgeon Lake, Aurora, Wright, Makinen
  • 6 below — Cloquet, Moose Lake, Silver Bay, Palmers
Posted in News

Iona’s Beach

Have you been to Iona’s Beach on the North Shore? I’ve used the port-a-potty at the boat landing before and I’ve hiked around to check out the beach but I haven’t explored the beach as much as I would like to. I would also like to go swimming here but it will have to wait until next year I’m afraid. It’s a neat stop that doesn’t see many visitors.

10 Acres in Lake County and in the North Shore Highlands of the Ecological Classification System

Scientific Natural Area- Iona’s Beach SNA lies on a narrow strip of Lake Superior’s North Shore between Gooseberry Falls and Split Rock Lighthouse State Parks. This site is named after Iona Lind, former owner of Twin Points Resort (which previously occupied the current parking area).

Few beaches of significant size exist on the Lake Superior shore in Minnesota. This one begins at a northern shore cliff of pink rhyolite and felsite bedrock, and stretches over 300 yards nearly straight south to a cliff and headland of dark gray basalt. Prevailing storm winds and waves have gnawed slabs of pink rhyolite from the northern cliff, smoothed them into flattened pebbles or “shingles,” and tossed them down shore, high up on the beach, ultimately at the south end against the basalt formation. As the waves recede, the shingles come to rest with a tinkling sound unique to this beach.

Back from the beach, now 15 to 20 feet high, lies a moist swale of alder, paper birch, balsam poplar, currant, and dogwood. Waves hurl rocks, wind, and water ever higher into that vegetation, nibbling the earth away from a fringe of roots now exposed.

Established 2001/10/05

Lake Superior Scientific Natural Area

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More Snow on the Way

Event: Winter Weather Advisory
.An Arctic cold front will pass through the Northland tonight. 
Snow continued to progress south this evening into northwest 
Wisconsin but was starting to diminish over far northern Minnesota. 
This will be the coldest air yet seen this season. The large 
lakes across the region are still relatively warm, including Lake 
Superior, Lake of the Woods, Rainy Lake, and Lake Kabetogama. The 
dramatic temperature differences between the lakes and Arctic air 
is expected to result in significant snow enhancement and lake 
effect snow showers downwind of these lakes through the night and 
into Thursday. The heaviest snowfall, up to around 10 inches, is 
expected downwind of Lake Superior along and near the higher 
terrain of the Gogebic Range in Iron County in Wisconsin. Other 
parts of northern Wisconsin near Lake Superior, and parts of 
north-central Minnesota near the Canadian border, could get up to 
several inches of snow. Expect periods of difficult travel 
conditions with this snow. 
* WHAT...Snow and lake effect snow expected. Plan on slippery 
road conditions, including during the evening commute. Total 
snow accumulations of 3 to 5 inches across parts of northern 
Koochiching County and the northwestern corner of St. Louis 
County. There could be isolated amounts up to 6 inches in 
those areas. 
* WHERE...Koochiching and North St. Louis County. 
* WHEN...Now through 9 AM Thursday. 
* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...Be prepared for reduced visibilities at 
A Winter Weather Advisory for snow means periods of snow will 
cause primarily travel difficulties. Be prepared for snow covered 
roads and limited visibilities, and use caution while driving. 
The latest road conditions for Minnesota can be obtained by 
calling 511 in state, or 1-800-542-0220. For Wisconsin, call 
511 in state, or 1-866-511-9472
Posted in News

Taking a Hike?

Here are some suggestions from Minnesota Nature.

Safe Hiking During Hunting Season: 3 Tips You Need to Know

MN Nature in St Paul, Minnesota, wants you to enjoy hiking all year round, including during hunting seasons. November is deer hunting season and the time when most activity happens, especially this year Nov 3-13.

How to stay safe in 3 steps you can remember:
1. Be Aware
2. Be Seen
3. Be Heard

Know where hunters are, call ahead before planning your hike. When planning your hike, be sure to call the owner of the land (state park, county park, etc.) during open hours and ask them if the park will be open on the day you plan to hike. Ask for a map of safe places to hike, or particular areas to avoid. Probably best to stay on the trails at this time of year.

Wear blaze orange. Have your dog wear it, too. This helps hunters clearly see you from a good distance away and even in bad weather.

Make noise–whistle, talk, raise your voice if/when you hear a shot. Generally, make your presence known. Don’t quietly walk through the woods in hopes of seeing wildlife during hunting season. Your priority is to be seen and heard by hunters, who may be over the next ridge–if they hear you, they may not take a shot at a deer that would run your direction.

Remember, do not hike on land you don’t have permission to hike on. This is true always, but especially important during hunting seasons. Even state parks and national parks have permitted hunt periods, so always gain permission to hike during November. It’s just a general precautionary step to take.

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Wonderful Photography by David Johnson

Do you like his work as much as I do? Then buy a calendar featuring it!

Image may contain: tree, snow, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: tree, sky, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: outdoor


Posted in News

Football Season Ends, Volleyball Continues

The Cook County Vikings football season has ended. They had a great season and if they would have won their game on Friday they would have been playing in the Minnesota State High School Tournament. Instead Mike and Josh will be going deer hunting in southern Minnesota next weekend after watching Abby’s volleyball team participate in the State High School Tournament.

The Vikings Volleyball team played on Saturday and defeated Carlton to move on to State. This is the 3rd year in a row the Viking volleyball team is going to state and we’re hoping they’ll win a few matches this year.

We’re super proud of our Viking athletes.

Posted in News

Beautiful Snowy Scenes

Courtesy of local photographer Brian Hansel…

Image may contain: tree, sky, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: tree, sky, outdoor, nature and water

Posted in News

Full Hunter’s Moon

From EarthSky website…

Tonight – November 3, 2017 – the full Hunter’s Moon will grace North American skies once more. Hunter’s Moon is the name for the full moon that immediately follows the Harvest Moon, which is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox. In 2017, the Northern Hemisphere’s Harvest Moon fell on October 5, nearly 13 days after the September 22 equinox. So it’s a late Hunter’s Moon this year for the Northern Hemisphere. In fact, November 4 is about the latest possible date for a full Hunter’s Moon.

Coincidently, it’s also the 2nd-largest full moon of 2017. As seen from around the world, this full moon will parade across the sky from dusk until dawn. Full moon is November 3 or 4, depending on the location of your clock and calendar. The moon will reach the crest of its full phase on November 4, 2017 at precisely 5:23 UTC. At North American time zones, that translates to November 4 at 2:23 a.m. ADT, 1:23 a.m. EDT, 12:23 a.m. CDT – and on Friday, November 3 at 11:23 p.m. MST, 10:23 p.m. PST and 9:23 p.m. AKDT. Click here to translate to your time zone.

A Hunter’s Moon has special characteristics; the time between sunset and each night’s successive moonrise is noticeably short). Those characteristics can be seen by Northern Hemisphere full moon-watchers this weekend, although the effect is mitigated this year, due to the late date of this year’s full Hunter’s Moon.

Meanwhile, the Southern Hemisphere has a full moon with these same characteristics every April or May. The Southern Hemisphere will see its next full Harvest Moon on March 31, 2018, and its next full Hunter’s Moon on April 30, 2018. And, right now, in the Southern Hemisphere, the time between sunset and each night’s successive moonrise is noticeably long.

Thus, for Northern Hemisphere dwellers this month (and Southern Hemisphere dwellers in April and May), the lamp of the Harvest and Hunter’s Moons helps to compensate for the waning autumn daylight.

Posted in News

Kind of Funny

When you’re in the woods camping you might not have the same standards as when you do when you’re at home, at least when it comes to cleanliness.

How to Keep Your Camp Kitchen Clean

Classic Course

Your food will taste better, and you’ll stay healthier

There are acceptable levels of grime I’m willing to put up with when cooking outdoors. For example, my buddies and I refer to our dishes and utensils as “river clean,” “hut clean,” or “camp clean,” depending on the trip. Basically, we let them remain pretty dirty. But that has also led to me contracting nasty infections like giardia, norovirus, and any number of (admittedly undiagnosed) South American bugs that I was never tested for but had powerful—ahem—gastrointestinal effects.

To glean some pointers on keeping a camp kitchen spick-and-span, I spoke with Marco Johnson, who’s been teaching wilderness skills and first aid as the field staffing director at the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in Lander, Wyoming, since 1985.

Wash Your Hands

The most important step for staying healthy while cooking outdoors is something you should be using every day: hand soap. “The two best vectors for disease in the backcountry are your left hand and your right hand,” Johnson says. In NOLS courses, instructors issue soap and an alcohol-based hand sanitizer like Purell. They teach students to get in the habit of regularly washing their hands after going to the bathroom and before preparing food. “There has been a lot of talk in the past 30 years about waterborne illnesses,” Johnson says. “Yes, those things exist, but what a lot of people thought were waterborne illnesses were really unrelated issues associated with poor personal hygiene.”

Save the Soap for Your Hands, Not Your Dishes

“We don’t advocate cleaning dishes and utensils with soap,” Johnson says. “If you don’t rinse things well and clean off all the soap, you might end up ingesting it and upsetting your stomach anyway.”

Portion Carefully

As a best practice, cook only what you plan on eating, and finish everything. Leftovers can breed unseen bacteria that can stick around in the bowl or plate you kept them in.

Bring It to a Boil

“Bringing water to a rolling boil kills everything,” Johnson says. Boiling water in a pot will disinfect the pot itself; then, drop the utensils, cups, and other items that made contact with your food or mouth into the boiling water. “Scrubbing a greasy frying pan with warm water and a piece of pine branch you pick up off the ground is actually not a bad way to go before boiling the water” Johnson adds.

Keep Sick People out of the Kitchen

One of the reasons you’re washing dishes in the first place is to avoid sharing illnesses with each other. Keeping people who are coughing on their hands out of the food-prep space helps isolate those bugs. If the person is really excited to cook, be firm: There are plenty of other jobs around camp they can help with that won’t make the whole team sick.

Don’t Share

“We don’t advise sharing things like water bottles, utensils, or bowls,” Johnson says. No matter how thorough you are about cleaning after a meal, sharing your water bottle with a fellow team member is a direct path for bacteria and viruses.

Use Few Dishes

Washing dishes after a meal is a chore. But you’re more likely to clean if there’s a lighter load at the end—and fewer dishes means less weight in your pack. “For a three- or four-person group, we may just bring a four-quart pot and a frying pan, and we learn to be efficient,” Johnson says. He suggests planning meals around minimizing the number of dishes you use—like first making hot drinks or dehydrated meals that require only boiling water, and then simmering beans.

Make Dishwater Soup

Johnson suggests using water to scrub out the pot, and then bring that water to a boil and throw in a soup packet—like one from Knorr. “I am staying hydrated, made my hot water for my soup, and cleaned my pot all at the same time,” Johnson says. Just be sure to transfer the water to a bowl before adding the soup, since you don’t want to dirty the pot all over again.

Don’t Be Lazy

“Don’t get to the end of the meal and say, ‘Ah, this is mostly clean; I’ve scraped most everything out of here,’” Johnson says. While the extra four minutes to clean might seem unbearable at the end of a long day in the backcountry, just think about the alternative. “If you don’t have good hygiene, you’re going to get sick. And getting sick shuts a trip down.”

Posted in News


The holidays are a tempting time to buy shiny and bright new things. Before you buy, think about reusing or borrowing from someone! I wish I were more creative or craftier.

 Resourceful decorating and creative reuse

rug made out of t-shirts

Old cotton t-shirts get a new life as a rug.

When my kids were small, garage sales became my go-to destinations for budget-friendly household décor and furnishings. Among my best finds were some inexpensive, vibrantly painted paper-maché masks. These masks — discarded creations of a high-school art class — brightened my kids’ walls for years after. Yet, these one-of-a-kind beauties could just as easily have ended up in a landfill instead of at a garage sale.Creative reuse — taking discarded, worn, or broken items and creating new products that fulfill a different, even improved, function — is not new. In fact, people have practiced creative reuse to make their money go further for centuries. An example of this is the quilt, which is traditionally made from leftover material remnants and well-worn clothing pieces.

Fortunately, you don’t need to go dumpster diving to find resource-friendly decorating items. There is a vibrant and growing reuse community in Minnesota that includes businesses that take used items and repurpose them into beautiful, saleable décor pieces. Some establishments also offer consumer workshops or classes that will teach  you how to create your own inspired pieces.

Benefits of creative reuse/upcycling

  • Conserves resources and prevents waste. When we creatively reuse things, we reduce the energy and material demands that are required to produce new products and materials. Creative reuse also helps to reduce waste by giving new life to things that might otherwise end up in the trash.
  • Significance and uniqueness. Creatively upcycled items often have interesting histories. It’s part of what makes them unique and adds to their overall value and importance. There’s satisfaction, as well, to be gained from knowing that these items can’t be found at the local big-box stores or bought online. When we value what we have, we are happier, feel less want, and don’t throw things away so readily.
  • Supports local economies. The reuse, repair, and rental community directly employs 45,500 people statewide and contributes over $10.25 billion to the estimated gross economic activity.

Whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer or prefer to let others do the creating for you, read on for tips on creative reuse redecorating and ways to integrate it into your own home improvement efforts.

Posted in News

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