BWCA Campfire Cooking Enthusiast?

Then you must check out this you tube video and the channel associated with it. When I’m in the BWCA  I don’t like to cook but I don’t like to cook in the kitchen either. Give me a grill and I still don’t like to cook but these videos do provide some nice scenery and you might just find a new recipe for your next Boundary Waters trip.

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With a snap of the fingers

Mother Nature must have realized the date on the calendar and with a snap of her fingers she changed the weather drastically. Yesterday afternoon the temperature made it up into the 60’s and today we’ll be lucky if we see 40’s. And what about that wind? It started blowing last night and hasn’t let up yet. Gusts are predicted to reach up into the 70 miles per hour and waves up to 30 feet high! The good news is the wind is blowing away from Grand Marais, MN, which means bad news for those in Michigan. Either place it’s going to be a cold evening and there’s snow in the forecast. I’ll be holding onto my hat at tonight’s play-off football game in Grand Marais. You can listen to the excitement and cheer for Josh and his team while staying warm inside by tuning in to our local radio station, WTIP.

National Weather Service Duluth MN
336 AM CDT Tue Oct 24 2017

For waters within five nautical miles of shore on Lake Superior

Grand Portage to Grand Marais MN-
Grand Marais to Taconite Harbor MN-
336 AM CDT Tue Oct 24 2017


TODAY...North wind up to 30 knots. Gales around 45 knots 
decreasing to 40 knots this afternoon. A few storm forecasts gusts
to 50 knots possible this morning. Chance of rain showers early 
in the morning, then slight chance of rain showers in the late 
morning and early afternoon. Waves 4 to 6 feet. 

TONIGHT...Northwest wind 20 to 25 knots with gales to around
35 knots easing to 10 to 15 knots early in the morning. Chance of
snow showers and slight chance of rain showers after midnight.
Waves 2 to 5 feet. 

WEDNESDAY...North wind 5 to 10 knots becoming south late in the
afternoon. Mostly sunny. Waves 2 feet or less. 

WEDNESDAY NIGHT...Southeast wind 5 to 10 knots. Gusts up to
20 knots early in the morning. Slight chance of rain after
midnight. Waves 2 to 4 feet. 
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Outdoor Chores Anyone?

This would have been a perfect fall to build a cabin or take on some other large outdoor task. The weather has been super cooperative with warm daily temperatures and an almost constant autumn sun. It’s difficult to be inside when it looks like a summer day outside. Thoughts of paddling, hiking or just hanging in a hammock tend to distract the mind. The lack of bugs and people make the end of the Gunflint Trail a very appealing place to be.

It isn’t always this beautiful during the last week of October or sometimes even the first week of October. The year we built our lodge I remember having to shovel before we could put a chalk line down and then shovel again ten minutes later to do the next one. We’ve had years where the temperature dropped so quickly and dramatically our boats froze into the river overnight. Thinking it would warm up again or get windy enough to loosen up the ice we didn’t get to them right away but ended up chiseling away ice for a few hours at least.

It’s funny how in the fall I really feel like I need to be outside if the sun is shining. I do feel like that in the spring and the summer too but there’s a sense of fear in the fall. I’m always afraid I could have spent the last nice day indoors and not enjoying the great outdoors.

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Moose Population Declining in Ontario

Like the Minnesota moose population the Ontario moose population is also on decline. According to a recent article in the Quetico Superior Publication the numbers have declined by 20% in the last decade. What is causing the decline?

“Scientists haven’t identified a single cause of declining moose populations, but the broad geographic scale and synchronous nature of these trends has led some to suggest that there may be common factors driving moose declines across the region,” Environmental Commissioner Dianne Saxe wrote. “Part of the difficulty in determining the cause is the range of pressures on moose, which include habitat degradation, disease and parasites (e.g., winter ticks), hunting, predation, and severe weather. Climate change will exacerbate many of these pressures.”

While hunting is no longer allowed in Minnesota it is in Ontario and to some that doesn’t make sense.

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Rain Today

After days of beautiful weather we had a little bit of rain today. In spite of the rain the temperature made it to 63 degrees at the end of the Gunflint Trail. It’s been unseasonably warm for October but no one is complaining.

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Friday Drives for Friday Night Lights

Or something like that. When you’re kids go to school in Cook County you spend a considerable amount of time in the car to drive to away games. I’m fortunate to have the time and ability to travel to their games and I love it when I have extra time to explore on the way like I did when I visited Jay Cooke State Park the other week on my way to volleyball.

Last week I traveled a few side roads on the way to Mt. Iron and thought I’d share a couple of photos.


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Up Next- Orionid Meteors

The dark skies of the Gunflint Trail are perfect for watching meteor showers. Up next are the Orionids!

Look for Orionid meteors this month

Details on the annual Orionid meteor shower. How and when to watch. In 2017, the peak morning is probably October 21. But start watching now, before dawn!

Have you seen any meteors streaking across the sky this month? If they are coming from the northern sky, they might have been Draconids, whose peak has passed. But they also might be meteors in the annual Orionid meteor shower, which is now building to a peak on the morning of October 21, with no moonlight to ruin the show. Orionid meteors fly each year between about October 2 to November 7. That’s when Earth is passing through the stream of debris left behind by Comet Halley, the parent comet of the Orionid shower. With the moon a thin waning crescent in the morning sky now, it’s a good time to start watching for Orionids. How many meteors might you see on the peak night, or in the nights leading up to the shower? Follow the links below to learn more:

Joe Randall created this composite shot of the Orionid meteor shower from images taken on October 21, 2014.  Thanks, Joe!

Joe Randall created this composite shot of the 2014 Orionid meteor shower.

What are the prospects for this year’s Orionid shower? The word shower might give you the idea of a rain shower. But few meteor showers resemble showers of rain. The Orionids aren’t the year’s strongest shower, and they’re not particularly known for storming (producing unexpected, very rich displays). But – from a dark location, in a year when the moon is out of the way at the peak (as is the case in 2017) – you might reliably see 10 to 20 meteors per hour at the peak.

The Orionids are known to be fast and on the faint side, but can sometimes surprise you with an exceptionally bright meteor that might break up into fragments.

As is usual for most (but not all) meteor showers, the best time to watch the Orionids is in the dark hours before dawn.

Again, the peak morning is likely October 21. Do start watching in the days ahead of the peak, though. You might catch an Orionid meteor or two before dawn over the coming days.

How will you know it’s an Orionid? You’ll know because it’ll come from the shower’s radiant point. More about that below.

The Orionids radiate from a point near the upraised Club of the constellation Orion the Hunter.  The bright star near the radiant point is Betelgeuse.

The Orionids radiate from a point near the upraised Club of the constellation Orion the Hunter. The bright star near the radiant point is Betelgeuse.

Where do I look in the sky to see the Orionids? Meteors in annual showers are named for the point in our sky from which they appear to radiate. The radiant point for the Orionids is in the direction of the famous constellation Orion the Hunter, which you’ll find ascending in the east in the hours after midnight. Hence the name Orionids.

You don’t need to know or be staring toward Orion to see the meteors. The meteors often don’t become visible until they are 30 degrees or so from their radiant point – and remember, they are streaking out from the radiant in all directions. They will appear in all parts of the sky.

However, if you do see a meteor – and trace its path backward – you might see that it comes from the Club of Orion. And, if so, that meteor will be an Orionid. You might know Orion’s bright, ruddy star Betelgeuse. The radiant is north of Betelgeuse.

So … in which direction do you look? No particular direction. It’s best to find a wide-open viewing area. Sometimes friends like to watch together, facing different directions. When somebody sees one, they can call out “Meteor!”

Brian Brace wrote,

Brian Brace caught the 2014 Orionid shower and wrote, “A few hours into our adventure, we’d witnessed only a few meteors flying by. But right before I took the camera down this huge fireball streamed across the northeastern sky. That one meteor made the whole night worth it.”

What are meteors, anyway? Meteors are fancifully called shooting stars. Of course, they aren’t really stars. They’re space debris burning up in the Earth’s atmosphere.

The Orionid meteors are debris left behind by Comet Halley. The object in the photo above isn’t a meteor. It’s that most famous of all comets – Comet Halley – which last visited Earth in 1986. This comet leaves debris in its wake that strikes Earth’s atmosphere most fully around October 20-22, while Earth intersects the comet’s orbit, as it does every year at this time.

Particles shed by the comet slam into our upper atmosphere, where they vaporize at some 100 kilometers – 60 miles – above the Earth’s surface.

The Orionids are extremely fast meteors, plummeting into the Earth’s atmosphere at about 66 kilometers – 41 miles – per second. Maybe half of the Orionid meteors leave persistent trains – ionized gas trails that last for a few seconds after the meteor itself has gone.

For me … even one meteor can be a thrill. But you might want to observe for an hour or more, and in that case the trick is to find a place to observe in the country. Bring along a blanket or lawn chair and lie back comfortably while gazing upward.

Halley's Comet, the parent of the May Eta Aquarid and October Orionid meteor showers. Image Credit: NASAblueshift

Halley’s Comet, perhaps the most famous of all comets, is parent of both the Eta Aquarid meteor shower in May and October’s Orionid meteor shower. Image via NASA.

Bottom line: In 2017, the Orionid meteor shower is expected to rain down its greatest number of meteors on the morning of October 21. You might also see a meteor or two each hour on moon-free mornings leading up to the peak.

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Banadad Needs a Building

From the Trail Association-

Help the Banadad Trail Association Build a Much Needed Storage Building for the Banadad Ski Trail’s Grooming Equipment

For years all the Banadad Trail Association’s snowmobile groomers and “tracksetters” have been stored under tarps outside and exposed to the weather. Maintenance of this equipment has also been done outside.  Initially our equipment was pretty inexpensive and fairly easy to repair.  However, over the years this equipment has become much more expensive and repairing it outside, particularly in the winter, has become very difficult.

The Banadad Trail Association has decided to take on this problem by constructing an equipment storage/maintenance building.  $12,000 must be raised to accomplish this goal. The building we are proposing to build would enable us to keep our grooming equipment in much better shape- good equipment means good, if not a better, maintained Banadad Ski Trail.

Please contribute toward building this equipment storage building.

To date $7510 of the needed $12,000 has been raise toward the construction of the Banadad equipment building.  Please help raise the remaining $4490

We are on our way! Help us reach this goal.

Included in this $7510 is a $5000 matching grant from the North Star Ski Touring Club

Help bring our two snowmobile groomers plus another snowmobile we have received a grant for but have not purchased yet and our other grooming equipment inside and out of the weather.  Boundary Country Trekking is donating an “easement” on the land and providing electrical power to the building. Many people are volunteering their labor and talent. We need funds for site preparation, a concrete slap, building materials and some labor.

Make check payable to:  Banadad Trail Association- Building Fund
PO Box 437
Grand Marais, MN 55604
For more information call 218-388-4487

Donations to the Banadad Trail Association are tax deductible.

The Banadad Trail Association maintains and tracks the 29 kilometer Banadad, the BWCA’s longest tracked ski trail and another 8 Kilometer of trails east of the Banadad’s eastern trailhead. The Association is an entirely volunteer run non-profit organization.  All the trails maintained by the Association are single tracked classical trails most of which travel through a remote wilderness area. These trails are located in far northeastern Minnesota and part of the 180 kilometer Gunflint Trail’s Nordic Ski System.

The Gunflint’s trail’s consistently gets some of the largest snow fall totals in the state and has consistently good snow throughout the winter.  Skiing is fantastic!

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.

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Deer, oh Dear

There are plenty of deer to be found along the North Shore of Lake Superior. It’s getting to be that time of the year when we see more and more. Here’s some information about deer from the MN DNR.

Minnesota deer facts
Deer: The animal

Adult female white-tailed deer weigh about 145 lbs., and males weigh about 170 lbs.
The biggest white-tailed deer recorded in Minnesota was a 500-pound buck.
A whitetail’s home range is about 1 square mile.
Deer hunting

There are nearly 500,000 firearms deer hunters in Minnesota.
Last year, 32 percent of Minnesota firearm hunters successfully harvested a deer. About 61 percent were antlered bucks.
70 percent of Minnesota’s firearms deer harvest typically occurs during the first three or four days of the season.
The average hunter spends five days afield during Minnesota’s firearms deer season.
The highest deer harvests occurred during the early to mid-1990s and from 2000 to 2008. From 2000 to 2008 the harvest topped 200,000 deer each year. The high harvests in the early 2000s occurred at a time when the overriding philosophy was to reduce the deer population so it wouldn’t grow out of control and to address certain environmental, economic and social concerns. Harvests in the 1970s never topped 100,000, while harvests in the 1980s were under 150,000. In 2016, the harvest was just over 173,000.
Deer licenses

In total, about 604,000 deer hunting licenses and permits (all types) were sold in 2016.
The three primary types of deer hunting seasons are firearms, muzzleloader and archery. Firearms season opens on Saturday, Nov. 4; muzzleloader on Saturday, Nov. 25; and archery season opened on Sept. 16.
The DNR Information Center last year extended hours until 8 p.m. and received nearly 1,300 inquiries the day before last year’s firearms deer opener. Most questions were related to the upcoming deer season.
Hunting economics*

Deer are the number-one hunted species in Minnesota and deer hunters along with other hunters and wildlife watchers together contribute more than $1.3 billion each year to the economy.
All hunting-related expenditures in Minnesota totaled $725 million.
Trip-related expenses such as food, lodging and transportation were $235 million.
Hunters spent $400 million on equipment.
Hunters spent $90 million on other items such as magazines, membership dues, licenses, permits, land leasing and ownership.
* From the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (

Deer management in Minnesota

The DNR is entrusted to manage the deer herd on behalf of, and for, the benefit of all Minnesotans.
Hunters help manage deer populations, and hunting also is a tool used to control deer diseases, including chronic wasting disease.
Opinions on how deer should be managed are diverse, and the DNR values all opinions. Deer population management affects many other natural resources.
More information on deer and deer management can be found at


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So you want to go on a hike?

If you ask me if I want to go on a hike you’ll usually get “Yes!” for an answer. If you want to go on a short hike you probably shouldn’t ask me to go along because I always end up hiking longer or farther than my hiking partners think we’re going to. If you’re worried about not making it out of the woods by the time the sun sets then you should probably plan the route.

The other day I wanted to hike a section of the Border Route Trail I hadn’t hiked before. The maps I had included the Border Route Trail book, the Superior National Forest map, a Fisher Map and a National Geographic map. None of these included everything I needed to conclude the exact distance of the hike.

I didn’t let that or the long drive to the trail head dampen my enthusiasm to hike a new section of trail. The good news is we saw some beautiful scenery and made it out before dark. The bad news? How can there be any bad news if you get to spend 3 hours hiking in the woods?

OK, so maybe neither of us were planning to hike 9-miles with considerable elevation changes but it sure was fun.
Superior Hiking Trail


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