Yesterday I took a trip to Ely, Minnesota but unfortunately it was in a vehicle instead of a canoe. It’s a bit faster than paddling but not half as enjoyable. If a road stretched from the end of the Gunflint Trail over to the Moose Lake area then a drive would be pretty fast but such a road does not exist. From the Gunflint Trail a person has to drive back to Grand Marais, then almost all of the way down to Silver Bay and then take Highway 1 over to Ely, Minnesota. It’s a minimum of 3 hours if you’re at cruising altitude without any traffic on the road.
The purpose of the drive was to watch baseball. I’ve been to Ely during most seasons of the year and summer is not my favorite. For a moment yesterday I thought it was the 4th of July because the string of vehicles I had to wait for to get back onto the main road was so long. The Dairy Queen was beyond busy and I felt like I was playing the video game Frogger as I attempted to avoid pedestrians entering the roadway.
A hundred years ago when Mike and I were looking at buying a canoe outfitting business we were very close to purchasing one on White Iron Lake outside of Ely. We were let down when that deal didn’t happen but it was probably one of those things that happens for a reason and I’m glad it did. Even though Ely is on the edge of the wilderness just like us and we’re not very far away from each other it’s a different world over there. Ely is known as the canoe capitol and I’m glad they have that title, I don’t think I want the Gunflint Trail to be that busy.
Ely has some great things and great people living there too. The International Wolf Center, the Bear Center and some nice shops but the next time I visit I hope it is by way of the paddle.