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

Lost Dog Found in the BWCA

Remember the dog I posted about as missing back on September 28th?  She has been found and is at home with her family. She found her way to a campsite on Basswood Lake in the Boundary Waters and was transported back to Ely, Minnesota where she escaped and ran away again before being captured and returned to her family.  Here’s the long story as found on the BWCA forum.
09/28/2017 10:12AM
I was at Basswood falls earlier this week when my beloved dog ran during a thunderstorm. We camped on the portage for two days until our food ran out hoping to find her but had to leave empty handed. We spotted her once but she was incredibly skittish and bolted. Other campers in the area saw her as well.

I know this forum is filled with good people who are well connected. If you or anyone you know is going to be in that area in the near future, please pass this on and keep an eye out for her. My daughters and I are worried about her.

She is wearing the yellow life jacket pictured and has a red collar with my phone number.

Thank you.

Hey on Monday the Second of October while canoeing me and my party ran into two campers who found your dog by Hauson’s island. They said the dog was scared but OK. They also have a dog with them so they have dog food to feed him/her. They wanted us to take the dog out of the BWCA, but unfortunately we had no room. They will be on Hauson’s Island until this Saturday, if a ranger can’t pick up your dog before then they said they are going to drop your dog off at the Vet in Ely on Saturday. I tried to post this message earlier from the Boundary Waters but unfortunately it didn’t work, so sorry for the delay. Hope this message finds you and you are reunited with your dog. I will watch this post for a while so I can give more info/help if needed.

Thanks Harrison.

10/09/2017 04:30PM
quote dew042: “Uffda”

LOL, this is just ridiculous.

Long time lurker, first time poster. I’m Ben (referenced from Itchymenace’s (John’s) post earlier) and saw that the dog was missing in the Basswood Falls area prior to our entry date of Saturday, September 30th. My father, 19 month old English lab Roscoe, and I stayed at Hanson’s Island in the no motor zone of Basswood from the 30th through yesterday (quick thanks to TGO and John from Voyageur North for the minnows and leeches).
On Monday around noon, I was cutting up some ham for lunch at our camp when a dog came from out of the woods. Instantly I recognized the dog, thanks to this great forum, and we couldn’t believe she could be on the island. We never planned on being in the falls area, but had discussed on the drive up what we’d do if we were to actually see the dog. She had been alone in the area for over a week (assuming), and was not wearing the lifejacket as pictured by John in the initial post. We were planning on leaving on Sunday, October 8th so we were hoping to see others going out to bring the dog in, or to at least contact the owner (which we assumed was named Lindsey based on the full name on the dog’s collar, not the dog’s name itself). She was a bit hesitant to come into camp but you could tell she was desperate for food and really worn down. Her collar was extremely loose and she was thin as a rail. Luckily, we had plenty of dog food and biscuits (Roscoe doesn’t eat it anyways, he’s more of a steak and licorice kind of guy) so we got her a full belly and into a sleeping bag to warm up and rest. We decided to name her Lucy for the week we spent with her for multiple reasons (one of which involved plenty of paper towels at 4 am and expletives, but I don’t recall Knucklehead being mentioned). While she stayed in the tent, we went out fishing and ran across Harrison’s (hbowden) group. They weren’t able to take her back out as they had a full load, but I’d like to thank them for contacting John to inform him that we had the dog.

Lucy and Roscoe didn’t get along very well so the tent situation for the week was interesting to say the least. We rigged up a tarp vertically down the middle to split the tent in two and each guy slept with one of the dogs while keeping distance between the other. Harrison’s group was the only group that we saw all week, and we were fortunate to have plenty of food/fish to continue our trip until yesterday. By Thursday, she seemed to be getting back to normal and gained a little bit of weight/energy back. Each day when we went fishing we had to leave her in the tent as there was no chance the two dogs would be friends in an empty canoe. At no time was Lucy free from her lead at camp (picture of her from last week included as well as Roscoe and I).

After a series of eventful portages and getting back to the Fall Lake landing yesterday afternoon with a full canoe, I was able to touch base with John to report that we still had the dog. We dropped her off at Voyageur North yesterday afternoon as someone from VNO was kind enough to keep the dog overnight and we didn’t have any room in our vehicle. It’s unfortunate to hear that she’s on the loose again in Ely, and hope that she’s safely found soon. What is absolutely amazing about all of this is how she got onto Hanson’s Island from Basswood Falls. She either crossed into Canada by the falls and walked the shoreline to the east 2-3 miles and then swam across two stretches of water with an island in between to Hanson’s (with or possibly without a life jacket), or another group had found her and brought her to Hanson’s but lost her while camping on the island. Based on her history as an escape artist, I’d imagine the latter is more likely. It would be great to hear a happy outcome out of all of this. Lucy’s saga continues…

10/26/2017 11:00PM
Thank you everyone for your continued interest and support. Tonight Lindsey is sitting home on her couch and it feels like order has been restored to the universe.

The Retrievers are a truly amazing and dedicated organization. I can’t say enough good things about them or thank them enough for the non stop effort they put into finding our dog.

What a trip report Lindsey could write indeed. Before yesterday, the last sighting I heard was from a gentleman who saw her running across the highway while being chased by a wolf. I thought it was all over. I’d love to know how she survived that one and then materialized unscathed 10 miles away the next day. Apparently this dog is a lot smarter than I give her credit for.

She lost about 1/4 of her body weight and is being treated for Lyme’s but her loveable personality seems unchanged. She sat in my daughter’s lap the whole drive from Ely to Minneapolis.

Thank you again to all the good people on this board and the citizens of Ely.


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Posted in News

Need a re-usable bag?

How about one of our malt bags from Voyageur Brewing Company? Our awesome Elsa has been sewing our used malt bags into re-usable shopping bags. They are sturdy bags and perfect for for folks who love craft beer. Help us keep these bags from the landfill and buy a few today. Each one looks a little different but they all are great!

Voyageur Brewing Company

reusable shopping bag

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Posted in News

Stormy Lake Supeior

Duluth News Tribune posted a photo of a massive wave at Brighton Beach which is just off of Highway 61 outside of Duluth, Minnesota. They also posted an awesome video of surfers enjoying those waves and it’s worth the watch.

Whoever posts on Twitter as Lake Superior has been having fun with all of the attention. On the 24th of October they tweeted, “I am very angry today.” and on the 25th they tweeted, “I achieved new heights yesterday, 28.8 feet. Bouya!”

That was in reference to the height of the wave a buoy recorded in Lake Superior near Granite Island off of Michigan’s upper peninsula. A whopping 28.8 foot wave which is a record.

While the waves provided fun for some folks they wreaked havoc around Duluth and elsewhere. In Duluth parts of the popular Lakewalk were destroyed, roads received damages, beaches were washed away and some minor flooding around the lake occurred.

We shall see what Mother Nature brings next.


A gigantic wave slams Brighton Beach in Duluth during Friday morning's storm. Bob King / News Tribune


Posted in News

We’ve Got Snow!

A winter wonderland awaits on the Gunflint Trail. The only thing that makes it not look like February are the liquid lakes. The mid-trail area received significantly more snow than we did at the end of the Gunflint Trail but that is normal. With below freezing temperatures today that snow isn’t going anywhere too soon.



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Posted in Gunflint Trail

Bear Cubs Found Inside of a Dumpster

Two bear cubs were found inside of a locked dumpster in Lutsen, Minnesota. They managed to get inside with the safety bars in place but couldn’t make their way out.  The momma bear was in a nearby tree where both bear cubs retreated to upon their release.

We had a similar thing happen with a pine marten at our dumpster and had to place a makeshift ladder for it to crawl out. We have had numerous problems with bears getting into our dumpster but never with them not being able to get out.

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Posted in wildlife

Loving Lake Superior

A calm day by Lake Superior in Grand Marais, Minnesota. The waves have a way of mesmerizing me.

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Follow @bwcabloglady on twitter.

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