Voyageur Crew 2017

I’m posting a few photos of the crew from 2018. The good news is I can remember all of them! It’s super easy to remember the folks who have worked at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters for two or three summers but not quite as easy to remember those who only worked a summer or a part of the summer.

Front left to right –

Anna GoForth, Guilia Russell, Cassidy Bechtold 2nd year, Sarah Webb 3rd year, Elsa Karczewski 8th year

Back row left to right-

Rachel Hentges, Jack Spaeth, Maddie Frawley 3rd year, Joe Lacore 3rd year, Matt Ritter 4th year

 Chase Parker who worked a bit of the summer is pictured far right.

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A Voyageur Crew Reunion

This year Mike and I will have owned Voyageur Canoe Outfitters for 25 years. Every summer we’ve had summer crew come to the end of the Gunflint Trail to be a part of our outfitting family.  All of the years have become a blur and when we get together with a former crew member we ask, “Did you work with so and so?” We can’t keep the years straight or remember who worked with whom. One thing we do know is each of these people have been a big part of our life and we want to have a big get-together with all of them this summer.

We’re attempting to remember everyone but our photos and records are a bit sketchy from some years. I’ll be posting photos of previous crew members and if you recognize them or have a story about one of them I’d love to hear it. Feel free to either respond to the blog or email me personally.

If you have photos of any of our previous crew members feel free to send those as well, I’d love to see them.

If you’re a previous crew member and you’re reading this then please email me with your contact information so I can be sure to include you and your family in the gathering.


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A day for snowmobiling

There aren’t too many destinations for snowmobilers that are as unique as the Trestle Inn on Crooked Lake. The number of snowmobiles parked outside on a beautiful Saturday afternoon can attest to it.

snowmobile Cook County

Snowmobiles at Trestle Inn

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Power outage on the Gunflint Trail

These days most power outages on the Gunflint Trail are planned. The electric company knows something needs to be repaired so they pick a time of the day and day of the week where it will cause the least amount of inconvenience. I can honestly say it’s kind of nice when there’s no power. I don’t mean extended power outages where food spoils and we don’t have the ability to run credit cards for fourteen days like during the 1999 Blowdown just the ones where power is out for a couple of hours.

Even if you are sitting in a room without any electronic devices or lights on you can tell immediately when the power goes out. Everything becomes silent!  You never really notice the hum of all of the electrical devices until it isn’t there. No sound of the refrigerator running or ice machine or the hood exhaust in our kitchen can be heard when the power is out and it’s kind of nice.

When the internet doesn’t work and you can’t work on a computer or do much of any work because it’s dark inside you get to go outside. This is a good thing in the summer when the sun is shining. It’s the perfect excuse to take a little break. Sometimes a little quiet and a breath of fresh air is all you need to feel rejuvenated.

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Posted in Gunflint Trail

Seagull Lake Tower Photo

This is the view of the current 75-foot collapsible tower when fully extended as viewed from Seagull Lake between Seagull Creek and the public swimming beach and picnic area. The proposed tower would be permanent and therefore built beefier than the current tower.

The beach is a well-loved recreation site because of the shallow bay. You can walk out very far before the water gets deep so it’s great for little kids. People from all over the Gunflint Trail and from Grand Marais frequently visit the beach as it’s the only sandy beach you can get to with a vehicle.

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Proposed tower will be visible in the Boundary Waters

The last thing I want to see as I’m paddling across a wilderness lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is a tower. Well, maybe not the last thing because I wouldn’t want to see a body floating or a fire crowning in the tree tops but you get what I mean.

In order to protect, preserve and create a wilderness area a number of people spent a considerable amount of time talking, planning and working through legislation and public input to set aside land in Northeastern Minnesota that eventually became the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. It started back in 1902 when the U.S. General Land Office set aside 500,000 acres of public lands for a forest reserve in northern Minnesota. Regulations, rules, laws and designations were created through congress  such as the Superior Roadless Primitive Area, Thy–Blatnik Act, Shipstead–Nolan Act and Air-space reservation to name a few.

It’s been a long fight. Loggers versus tree-huggers, motors versus paddles, mining versus preserving and sometimes the fight pitted neighbors against neighbors. Towns were divided based upon opinions, if you dared to express yours.

There’s a high horse around here and I’m probably not going to get off of it real soon.

I don’t want to see towers from the BWCA and I can’t imagine there are too many BWCA enthusiasts who want to see them either. There are plenty of places to see towers but not that many places to see pristine lakes like you find along the Gunflint Trail and around the entire Superior National Forest.

There is a proposal out for public comment on the Lima Mountain tower project and I encourage you to request information so you can consider the implications of the project. I’ve included the entire proposal on a pdf- Public Scoping Package_MnDOTLima[3] copy the photos on it are better quality and there is a good description of the project.  Comments or questions can be addressed to- or mail your comments to

Christy Tampio, Project Leadr, ATTN: MnDot ARMER Project Lima Mountain

2020 West Highway 61 Grand Marais, MN 55604

If you are against the tower project then make sure your comments are received by the USFS by Tuesday, March 27th, if you’re in favor of the project feel free to not submit comments or do so on the 28th.

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Posted in BWCA

Hiking the Devil Track River

Hiking rivers in the winter is a fun way to explore. When the snow is deep you can easily get over any downed trees or obstacles in the way. You don’t have to deal with slippery rocks or getting your feet wet.  We strapped on our snowshoes and made our way up the Devil Track River the other day. There was a beaten path so we didn’t really need our snowshoes but it was easy travel. We went as far as we could go and were treated to a beautiful partially frozen waterfall. The frozen falls in the photo below is a different waterfall that people like to ice climb. Soon the rivers will be liquid once again but until then I’ll take advantage of these icy, snow covered trails.


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In Favor of Mining

Have you let the powers that be know your position on mining near the Boundary Waters?  There’s still time to let the DNR know how you feel about the proposal. According to the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy the proposal would include putting a dam possibly as tall as the dome on the Minnesota Capitol building on the headwaters of the St. Louis River, the largest US river that flows into Lake Superior. The dam would create a 900 acre lake of toxic waste that would rise 250 feet in the air. The scene below is where there would be three pits up to 700 feet deep forever.

polymet mining SNF

Future Mine Site

Does it sound like a good idea to you? If it doesn’t sound like a good idea then let the MN DNR know today, before it’s too late.

Public input ends tomorrow, you might want to  Sign the petition today.

Superior National Forest

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Posted in environment

MMmmmm that smell

From the MN Department of Natural Resources

Discover: Smell the forest; it’s good for you!

Did you know that when you visit a forest and breathe in the fresh air, you breathe in phytoncides, airborne chemicals that plants give off to protect themselves from insects?  These phytoncides have antibacterial and antifungal qualities that help plants fight disease.   Research indicates that when people breathe in these chemicals, our bodies respond by increasing the number and activity of a type of white blood cell called “natural killer” cells, or NK. These cells kill tumor- and virus-infected cells in our bodies. Researchers are currently exploring whether exposure to forests can help prevent certain kinds of cancer.

Besides boosting our immune systems, forests also improve human health by:

Lowering blood pressure.
Reducing stress.
Improving mood.
Increasing ability to focus, even in children with ADHD.
Accelerating recovery from surgery or illness.
Increasing energy level.
Improving sleep.
Based on this growing field of research, a new trend called forest bathing is gaining popularity.  Forest bathing combines leisurely walks on gentle paths under a forest canopy with guided activities and meditations to help participants tune their senses to the forest.  You don’t need a nature guide to explore the forest and reap the health benefits.  You only need to unplug and step into the woods.  Even five minutes around trees or in green spaces may improve health. Think of it as a prescription with no negative side effects that’s also free.

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Moose Munching on the Gunflint Trail

Matt and Cassidy saw these two on their way to town the other day. We love our Gunflint Trail moose!

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Posted in Gunflint Trail
  • What do you think about bringing wolves to Isle Royale to keep the moose population in check? It's not the same...

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