Brrrrrrr, a chilly morning on the Gunflint Trail

The thermometer read 29 degrees for a low this morning at the end of the Gunflint Trail. Some areas of the Gunflint Trail experienced temperatures a little bit colder or a little bit warmer. With clear skies predicted for this evening we could experience a hard frost.

It’s a pretty time of the year when the fog clings to the lakes on a calm morning. Frost on a dock or on leaves is also quite beautiful. Last year on the 10th of October I was camping in the Boundary Waters and we had a frost!

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Lake Superior Water Level

According to an article in the Duluth News Tribune, “Lake Superior was more than 11 inches above its average level for Oct. 1, more than 4 inches above the level at this time in 2016 and is just 2 inches short of the all-time September high set in 1985, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers data. The current level is 2 feet above the water levels listed on official lake maps and charts.”

The high water level is causing some concern. Property owners are dealing with shore erosion, Duluth is experiencing sewer system problems on Park Point and a homeowner has lost 15 feet of beach.

The water level always goes down in the winter due to evaporation but it probably won’t go down enough by November. That’s when the big lake likes to blow to and fro and when that happens sometimes water piles up on one end of the lake.  That can change the water level quickly and for extended periods of time.

Hopefully we won’t get too much more rain this fall and the water level will drop significantly so folks don’t have to worry about it.

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Banadad Trail Clearing Weekend

Coming soon on the Gunflint Trail…

Banadad Trail Work Day and
Annual Meeting/Pot Luck Dinner
The Banadad Trail Association (BTA) eighth  Annual  Meeting will be held- Friday, October 27, 2017 at the Schaap Community Center on the Gunflint Trail – next to the Fire Hall and just off the Lima Grade intersection. The meeting will be at 6:00 and will be followed with a Potluck Dinner; all are welcome to attend this fun evening.

The Banadad’s Annual Volunteer Trail Clearing Day will be Saturday, October 28, 2017 beginning at 9:00 a.m. and last as long as you are able to stay. Meet at Boundary Country Trekking/Poplar Creek B&B, 11 Poplar Creek Drive, at 8:30 a.m. for tools and instructions. Lunches will be provided for all volunteers. Wear sturdy shoes and work gloves. Bring rubber boots if you have them. Dress for the weather, layers are best.  

We will be clearing this past summers accumulation of down trees and brush to clear the trail for winter grooming and skiing. This is a fun way to meet new people and get some exercise.

Come stay with Voyageur!

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Space Stuff- meteors and moons

From Space Weather Website!

On October 5, the Harvest Moon

Tonight – October 5, 2017 – that full moon you’ll see ascending in the east after sunset is the Northern Hemisphere’s Harvest Moon.

Over the years, we’ve seen lots of informal uses of the term Harvest Moon. Some people (in the Northern Hemisphere) call the full moons of September and October by that name. And that’s fine. For the few months around the autumn equinox – both September and October for us in the Northern Hemisphere – the time of moonrise is close to the time of sunset for several evenings in a row, around the time of full moon. It’s as if there are a few full moons in a row during each autumn month.

Astronomers are scientists, though, and it’s no surprise that, to them, the term full moon or the name Harvest Moon means something very specific. To astronomers, the Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the September equinox, and full moon comes at the instant when the moon is 180o from the sun in ecliptic – or celestial – longitude.

In 2017, this equinox took place on September 22.

The closest full moon to the autumn equinox reaches the crest of its full phase on October 5 at 18:40 UTC. For us in the continental U.S., the moon turns precisely full during the daytime hours on Thursday, October 5. By U.S. clocks, that full moon instant comes at 2:40 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, 1:40 p.m. Central Daylight Time, 12:40 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time, 11:40 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time, 10:40 a.m. Alaskan Daylight Time and 8:40 a.m.Hawaiian Standard Time.

But don’t worry too much about the instant of full moon, or the time on your clock, or even where you are on the globe. No matter where you live worldwide, you’ll see a full-looking moon shining from dusk until dawn on the night of October 5.

Tonight’s October Harvest Moon rises in the east around sunset, climbs highest up around midnight and sets in the west around sunrise. At the vicinity of full moon, the moon – as always – stays out all night long.

Is tonight’s moon the Harvest Moon? It sure is – at least for the Northern Hemisphere!

Meanwhile, for the Southern hemisphere, this is the first full moon of spring.

Day and night sides of Earth at the instant of full moon (2017 October 5 at 18:40 Universal Time) via Earth and Moon Viewer. The shadow line at left represents sunset October 5, and the shadow line at right depicts sunrise October 6.

What’s the big deal about the Harvest Moon? Why are the full moons special in autumn? Around the time of the autumn equinox, the ecliptic – or the path of the sun, moon, and planets – makes a narrow angle with the horizon at sunset.

Every full moon rises around the time of sunset, and on average each successive moonrise comes about 50 minutes later daily. But, on September and October evenings – because of the narrow angle of the ecliptic to the horizon – the moon rises sooner than the average.

So, instead of rising 50 minutes later in the days after full moon, the waning gibbous moon might rise only 35 minutes later, or thereabouts, for several days in a row (at mid-northern latitudes). At far northern latitudes – like at Fairbanks, Alaska – the moon rises about 15 minutes later for days on end.

That fact was important to people in earlier times. For farmers bringing in the harvest, before the days of tractor lights, it meant there was no long period of darkness between sunset and moonrise for several days after full moon. And that meant farmers could work on in the fields, bringing in the crops by moonlight. Hence the name Harvest Moon.

At our mid-northern latitudes, watch for the Harvest Moon to shine from dusk until dawn for the next few to several days.

Bottom line: Enjoy the 2017 Harvest Moon!

All you need to know: Draconids in 2017

The Draconids are best seen in the evening hours. In 2017, a bright waning gibbous moon will interfere, but still … give it a try!

October’s Draconid meteor shower – sometimes called the Giacobinids – radiates from the fiery mouth of the northern constellation Draco the Dragon. Because the radiant is located so far north on the sky’s dome, this shower favors temperate and far-northern latitudes, such as the U.S., Canada, Europe and northern Asia. In 2017, the most meteors will probably fall on the evening of October 7 or 8. Start watching first thing at nightfall. The waning gibbous moon will rise at early evening, so there will be very little moon-free time to view this shower.We must warn you that this shower is often a sleeper, even in a dark sky completely free of moonlight. But watch out if the Dragon awakes, which is always a possibility! Follow the links below to learn more about the Draconid meteor shower.

Where is the radiant point of the Draconid shower, and how many Draconids will I see?

Can I see the Draconids from the Southern Hemisphere?

Origin and history of Draconid meteors

Draconids radiate from near the Dragon's Eyes: the stars Eltanin and Rastaban. Familiar with the Summer Triangle? Draw an imaginary line from Altair through Vega points to them.

Draconids radiate from near the Dragon’s Eyes: the stars Eltanin and Rastaban. Familiar with the Summer Triangle? Draw an imaginary line from Altair through Vega points to them.

Where is the radiant point of the Draconid shower, and how many Draconids will I see? Unlike most meteor showers, the Draconids are best seen in the evening, instead of before dawn. That’s because the winged Dragon, the shower’s radiant point, flies highest in the sky at nightfall.

These extremely slow-moving Draconid meteors, when traced backward, radiate from the head of Draco the Dragon, near the stars Eltanin and Rastaban.

However, you don’t have to locate Draco the Dragon to watch the Draconids, for these meteors fly every which way through the starry sky.

Usually, this meteor shower offers no more than a handful of languid meteors per hour, even at its peak. Plus, in 2016, the waxing crescent moon will somewhat intrude on this year’s show. But this shower has been known to rain down hundreds or even thousands of meteors in an hour. And in fact it’s the history of this shower that makes it so interesting. See the history section, below.

No outburst is predicted for this year, but then, you never know for sure. Remember – no matter where you are on Earth – the radiant for this meteor shower is highest up in the evening. Watch for the Draconids, starting at nightfall on October 7 and 8.

Simply find a dark, open sky away from artificial lights. Plan to spend a few hours lounging comfortably under the stars. Bring along a reclining lawn chair, have your feet point in a general north or northwest direction and look upward.

If you don’t know your cardinal directions, just lie down and look upward. Enjoy!

More about the Draconid meteor shower radiant point here.

Here’s a more detailed view of the radiant point of Draconid meteor shower. It’s highest in the north at nightfall in early October.

Can I see the Draconids from the Southern Hemisphere? It’s possible you might see some Draconid meteors around the shower’s peak, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere. But if you’re so far south that the radiant point in the constellation Draco doesn’t rise above your horizon, or rises only briefly, the meteors will be very few to nonexistent.

As seen from the Southern Hemisphere, you would have to be rather close to the equator in order to see Draco’s stars. Suppose you live in northern Australia – say Darwin, in northern Australia – which is at 12 degrees S. latitude. If so, you’d be able to see the stars Rastaban and Eltanin very close to your north-northwest horizon at nightfall in early October (given an unobstructed northern horizon). These stars would set at fairly early evening, and you wouldn’t see the head of Draco again until nightfall the following evening.

Why early evening? It’s because, no matter where you live worldwide, the head of Draco reaches upper transit (its highest in your sky) at around 5 p.m. local time in early October.

Thus from latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere – even those as far north as northern Australia – you would have a very narrow window for seeing meteors. If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, and you’re really wanting to see a Draconid, try looking as soon as it gets really dark on October 7 and 8, and don’t expect much.

Draco as depicted in an old star altas. The constellation of the Dragon winds around the sky's north pole.

Draco as depicted in an old star altas. The constellation of the Dragon winds around the sky’s north pole.

What is the origin and history of the Draconid meteors? This annual meteor shower results when the Earth in its orbit crosses the orbital path of Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner. Debris left behind by this comet collides with the Earth’s upper atmosphere, to burn up as Draconid meteors.

This comet has an orbital period of about 6.6 years. It’s about 6 times more distant at its farthest point from the sun than at its nearest point. At aphelion – its most distant point – it’s farther out than the planet Jupiter. At perihelion – its closest point to the sun – it’s about the Earth’s distance from the sun.

Most meteors in annual showers aren’t named for their parent comets, but instead for the constellation from which they appear to radiate, in this case Draco the Dragon.

Draco’s meteors, however, defy convention by sometimes also being called the Giacobinids, to honor the role this comet played in the history of astronomers’ understanding of what meteors actually are.

Michel Giacobini discovered this comet on December 20, 1900, and thus the comet received his name. Another sighting in 1913 added Zinner to the comet’s name, which thus became 21P Giacobini-Zinner. Astronomers in the early 20th century thought that meteors and comets were related, so of course they tried to link various comets to the spectacular showers of meteors that sometimes rain down in Earth’s sky.

Comet 21P Giacobini-Zinner was a particularly tempting object about which to make predictions. Remember, it returns every six years, and its closest point to the sun is about the same as Earth’s distance.

What’s more, Comet Giacobini-Zinner did not disappoint the astronomers.

The Draconid meteor shower produced awesome meteor displays in 1933 and 1946, with thousands of meteors per hour seen in those years. Read a more complete account of historical predictions about Giacobini-Zinner and its meteor showers here.

In October 2011, people around the globe saw an elevated number of Draconid meteors, despite a bright moon that night. European observers saw over 600 meteors per hour in 2011.

No one is expecting that this year, but you never know.

The relationship between 21P Giacobini-Zinner and its meteors – so studied and discussed in among professional astronomers in the early 20th century – probably explains why the Draconid meteor shower sometimes goes by the name Giacobinids

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Burning Piles in the BWCA

October 5, 2017 – Duluth,MN  Fire crews on the Superior National Forest began burning piles of woody debris in various locations on the Forest last week and will continue while conditions are conducive.  By reducing the amount of material available to burn in these areas, the Forest Service reduces the risk of wildfires that could spread quickly, become difficult to control and potentially threaten private lands and residences. Conducting these burns enables the Forest Service to reduce wildfire hazards during a time when visitor use is relatively low. Piles to be burned are located in timber sale units, next to privately owned lands, and in several campgrounds including: Fenske Lake Campground, South Kawishiwi Campground, Salo Lake, Birch Lake Campground, and the Sawbill Campground.

All of the planned activities will be conducted with the safety of the public and firefighters as the highest priority and will occur only when appropriate resources are available. If you have any questions regarding these activities, please contact the Gunflint Ranger District at 218-387-1750 or the Kawishiwi Ranger District at 218-365-7600.

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Grand Marais Best Town Contest

I like the claims to fame Grand Marais, Minnesota has. Some things about the popularity is due to the natural world that surrounds us like the highest Mountain, tallest waterfall, biggest Great Lake, etc. Other tag lines are from contests like, “The coolest small town in America!”

It seems like every day there is a new contest. I wish there were contests that only allowed you to vote one time. That’s how things used to be decided but many of the contests allow you to vote once per day. The latest contest Grand Marais, MN is in the running for allows a person to vote 10 times each day!

I’m not sure if this type of voting really determines a true winner but then again maybe voting never does?

Take for instance the voting for Homecoming candidates that was held recently at my children’s school. They have a class of around 40 kids so it’s a small class and the tradition has always been to let the entire High School population vote. This year decisions and mistakes were made and this resulted in only a small portion of the seniors being allowed to vote. How many? We don’t know for sure.  One year someone stole blank ballots and voted over and over for the same person. Did this happen again? We really have no clue because only one person counts the votes and most likely that person doesn’t keep track of the number of ballots. Well, at least they won’t tell me how many people even voted. In any case…

We know Grand Marais is a great city just like we know not all of the kings and queens of Cook County will be crowned at coronation.

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October Rain on the Gunflint

I remember camping at the beginning of October some years ago and we experienced snow flurries and 18 degree temperatures. I think I would rather have snow than almost 2″ of rain in a matter of hours. That was the case yesterday on portions of the Gunflint Trail and in Grand Marais.

The rivers are flowing once again on the North Shore and it looks more like spring. The water is gushing down the rocks that line Highway 61. The rivers are full and tourists are enjoying the flow along with the beautiful fall colors.

The leaves won’t last long but they are gorgeous while they are here.


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No More BWCA Lottery after 2018, oh well

It isn’t a big deal to those of us who prefer to canoe and camp in the Boundary Waters using entry points on the Gunflint Trail. There really hasn’t been a need to use the USFS lottery system to obtain permits on our side of the BWCA. I couldn’t even tell you if you could use the lottery system to reserve an overnight canoe camping permit or just for motor permits, that’s how little it affects us on the Gunflint Trail. It’s a different story for the popular BWCA entry points around Ely.

The large number of outfitters as well as locals who like to use motor boats on the lakes near Ely are the ones who are affected.  There are some good fishing lakes accessed by motor use and those permits are highly sought after.  There will still be a lottery for 2018 but after that it will be replaced by the first come first served permit reservation system like we currently use.

The change for the 2019 season and beyond applies only to people entering at Fall Lake and Moose Lake east of Ely at entry points D, F, G, 24 and 25. The change affects those seeking day-use motor permits for (D) Fall Lake, Newton Lake, Pipestone Bay of Basswood Lake and beyond; (F) Moose Lake to Newfound and Sucker lakes; and (G) Moose Lake to Prairie Portage to Basswood Lake. The change affects those seeking overnight motor and overnight paddle permits for Fall Lake (entry point 24) and and Moose Lake (entry point 25). The permits are required from May 1 through Sept. 30.

Boundary waters permit


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If I Could Turn Back Time

This would be one of my first places I’d go.

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Hello October!

More football, more volleyball and hopefully more camping in the BWCA for October!


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Follow @bwcabloglady on twitter.

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