As far as we can tell the ice on Saganaga Lake is gone. Yesterday, the 5th of May, will have to be the official ice out date unless we hear otherwise as we weren’t able to go into the Boundary Waters prior to that due to the Coronavirus closure. We also weren’t able to go into Canada since the border is closed so it is possible there is a chunk of ice floating out there somewhere but it wasn’t big enough for us to see.
The ice disappeared quickly this year considering how thick it was just a few weeks ago. The rain and wind along with some warm temperatures did the trick. That’s great news for the fishing opener as well as the re-opening of the BWCA for day use.
We’re happy to have options for paddling once again! Give us a call at Voyageur and we’ll help you plan your trip!
We had a wonderful time canoeing on Sunday. There is still ice on Saganaga and the bigger lakes on the Gunflint Trail so we found a creek to paddle. The weather wasn’t perfect as it was in the 40’s and raining off and on but it didn’t dampen our spirits. Abigail made a video of our adventure, enjoy!
The lakes on the Gunflint Trail still have ice on them. The swamps, ponds and rivers are relatively ice free. There are different methods of determining when the ice will be off of the lakes and at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters we like to use the following theory. Two weeks from when the ice goes off on moose pond the big part of Saganaga will be ice free.
Another way to guess when the ice will be out goes back to Gunflint Trail mailman Don Brazell. He delivered mail for 30 to 40 years. We weren’t here when he was delivering but his son was our mailman for a long while. His calculations included the North Brule River. When the river started flowing free of ice it would be one week later and the smaller lakes of the Gunflint would be clear and a week after that, the larger ones.
I’m sure there are many other methods out there but that’s all I can remember. With our moose pond calculations the big sheet of ice will be gone by May 11th. Only time will tell.
The wildlife is out and about and we’ve been treated by numerous moose sightings on the Gunflint Trail. The waterfowl is also abundant since we’re one of the few places with open water. Anywhere there is open water you can see a variety of ducks and we even heard goose honking overhead the other day. Enjoy the video of the moose and the waterfalls at the Trail’s End Campground.
Yesterday was a glorious day at the end of the Gunflint Trail. The wind finally quit blowing and the temperature reached 52 degrees! The forecast calls for a beautiful weekend with temperatures in the 50’s. This is the kind of April weather I enjoy. While snowbanks still cover most of the bare ground other signs of spring are emerging.
The grouse have been active around Voyageur Canoe Outfitters. Last night there was one standing on the railing of our deck. It was almost in arms reach until Matt attempted to touch it and it casually fluttered up onto a nearby limb of a tree. We’ve regularly spotted two pileated woodpeckers in the neighborhood and the saw-whet owl hoots nightly. A fox has been seen at the end of our driveway and there are moose tracks on the muddy road.
The best news is resorts are able to welcome guests again. That means you too can enjoy all of these signs of spring. Give us a call to book a cabin at Voyageur, we’d love to see you at a safe distance.
This video is from a few weeks ago but rest assured, Saganaga Lake is still completely frozen over. We’re not sure what the beaver was doing on top of the ice so far from any open water. We’re hoping he was able to return to his home safely. Winter, summer, spring or fall, Saganaga is a beautiful lake.
The Boundary Waters may be closed until May 4th but that didn’t stop my daughter and niece from going for a paddle in front of Voyageur Canoe Outfitters the other day. Neither did the snowbank they had to portage over to get the canoe into and out of the water. Never mind all of the ice or the fact it’s still cold outside. Determined young women inspire me.
Spring is a time for “firsts.” The first pussy willows, robins or open water all add to the excitement that spring is really here. It takes a lot of convincing since we woke up to a white deck once again. As a side note, mud season is the longest season at the end of the Gunflint Trail and it couldn’t be over soon enough for me.
Last night I took a walk and found a patch of open water. This time of the year there isn’t much open water so it’s a great opportunity to see wildlife. I was treated to the sighting of my first loon, several ducks and a beaver who put on a little show of hopping up onto the ice and then jumping back into the water. I have a bad photo of the loon and the beaver in the same frame and a video of the beaver swimming around. The loon is in the top right corner of the photo and I thought you might enjoy it.
I posted a couple photos the other day of my niece and son taking a quick dip into the icy water of the Seagull River. I decided to share the video with you and a photo of the most recent swimmers I saw.
There were four ducks swimming in front of Voyageur Canoe Outfitters in the narrow channel of open water. I scared them off when I attempted to get a picture of them so the only photo I have is blurry. I had to look online to find the difference between Hooded Mergansers and Buffleheads because I usually mis-identify them! These are hooded mergansers as explained on this birding website I found.
When I first started birding I too had trouble sorting out Buffleheads and Hooded Mergansers. They are both small ducks with disproportionately large heads and white patches on the sides of those jumbo heads. From a distance they look similar, but if you look more carefully you’ll notice the two birds are quite different. The sides of a Bufflehead drake’s body are bright white. The sides of a male Hooded Merganser’s body are coffee-brown, looking like it just returned from a week at Club Med. The females of both ducks have dusky bodies, but the female bufflehead has a rounded head, while the elongated head of the hen hoodie has a swept-back look, as if she had blow-dried her hair with a jet engine.