June 7, 2012 – Someone Else’s Canoe Trip

While Martin and I were bumming around northern Minnesota, the girls and a couple of brother-friends were on a canoe trip.

I offered help, only as asked as Claire gets all things packed for the trip.

Aa beautiful day to hit the water paddling.

Emma, at the stern in her element.

Claire portaging the canoe between lakes.

All settled in at the campsite.

Creative cooling as always when camping – why not put some dried fruit and nuts in the biscuits?

Pump, pump, pump that water through the water purifier.

Some of the crew at the head of a portage.

The whole crew having a snack near the end of the day.  I take it as an encouraging sign that the bugs are not so bad to allow shorts.  I’m sure it must have been a great trip for the kids to manage successfully without parental guidance for five days in the wilderness.

June 6, 2012 – Last Day

Today was the last non-driving vacation day.  We arrived near Ely with some time to spare before picking up the kids, so Martin and I just hung out at the public landing on Snowbank Lake.

snowbank lake

Lunch on a deep, blue northern lake can’t be beat!  After picking up the canoers, cooking them up a dinner, I took a couple hours of quiet time and went back to Snowbank for a couple of hours.

smallmouth bass, smallmouth stringer

Once I found the pattern, the fish were easy to catch.  They weren’t falling for artificial spinners or plugs, they weren’t falling for leeches or crawlers suspended off the bottom in deeper water, they weren’t suspended over deeper water, but they were hanging out about 10-15 feet from shore, so I actually had to cast towards shore from the dock, not out into the lake.  The night was quiet, I only saw two boats go by, the same number of Bald Eagles that were screeching and circling nearby.

June 5, 2012 – Got Fish?

Today we settled in at friend’s cabin near Duluth.  Spent some quality time on the dock.

In between kayaking and floating around on the lake, Martin still found time to join us on the dock for some fishing.  He also managed to catch the biggest fish of the day.

Her looks a bit apprehensive about holding the prehistoric-looking pike.

A few ours on the boat yielded few fish, but fishing from the dock provided some pretty good action!

June 4, 2012 – Back to the Beginning/Circle of Life

By all outward appearances, this photo is rather unremarkable. What’s really remarkable is the young boy in the picture. Or rather, how the young boy came to be.

About 32 years ago, somewhere very close to where this boy stood, was an old camp dining hall. All that remains now is the stone fireplace. In the dining hall was where his father first set eyes on his mother, (although she did not notice him that day – that wouldn’t happen until months later in another chance meeting in a calculus class at the University of MN-Duluth). The young boy is standing at approximately the spot where this first encounter happened. Happy Martin! (and Claire and Emma as well).

Part of a challenge course out in the woods.

Martin tries to figure out how this challenge works

A small climbing wall, part of the group challenge.

A lrger rock climbing wall, rare because it is guarded by goats!

While it was “work day” at camp, the staff had activities for the kids, so among other things, Martin got to try his hand at archery.

Part of the seasonal barn and horse corral.

One of the directors while i was there, Mr. Jeff Palmer, on hand for the work day and dedication of a new nature trail.

One stop on the nature trail is right in camp, these two different species of pines, apparently joined at the ground.

Another view of the pines.  I was able to spend a good part of the day staining a cabin and catching up with friends I hadn’t seen for many years.

June 3rd, 2012 – Lock this Day Up, Part II

To top off our day, we spent some time near the St. Louis river south of Duluth.  Eventually the river drains into Lake Superior forming a large estuary and exits through the Duluth and Superior ship canals, and his held behind by Park Point (the beach from yesterday).  The Ojibwe call the river Gichigami-ziibi (the great lake-river).  It is the largest river to empty into Lake Superior.

There was 6-9 inches of rain the week before the arrived, so the river was near its peak flow.  There are the highest class rapids (class VI) at this point and below and ABOVE this picture is the take-out point for white-water rafters and more sedentary class IV rapids.

The root-beer colored water roars through this point in Jay Cooke State Park.

Further downstream, more ordinary standing waves and boils fill the channel.  The river was a loud, brash spectacle of water, rock and energy.

We stopped for dinner at Canal Park, and Martin worked up an appetite trying to pull the William A. Irvin, an ore boat anchored in the harbor.

After our visit to the river, we spent the night at Camp Miller in Sturgeon Lake, where I spent many summers as a counselor, naturalist, trip leader, and camp caretaker.  We stopped in and ended the day with a conversation long into the night with Bernie, a kindred spirit and fellow top-notch gardener and handyman.  The highlight was hearing about his maple sugaring and his first prize ribbon at the Minnesota State Fair for his syrup.

June 2, 2012 – Lock This Day Up and Throw Away the Key

This was a day so wonderful you wish you could lock it up and throw away the key.  Martin and I bummed down from Ely to south of Duluth, stopping as we pleased.  In fact, it was so scenic, I’m splitting it into two days, since it can’t all fit in one post.  We even saw a moose near the road on the drive down to the lake.

shovel point

It was a rare calm day on Lake Superior.  This is a view of Shovel Point, north of Silver Bay.

We stopped in for a look at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center near Finland, MN, to see where Claire will be working this summer.  Here’s a sign taken just for Linda.

The hike up to Marshall Mountain was fun.

Here it is, up on the top of the ridge overlooking Lake Superior.

Raven Lake to the left and Wolf Lake, not visible in this photo, to the right.

A replica Voyageur canoe, capable of taking 24 people along.

wolf lake

From the shore of Wolf Lake, looking towards the south.

The buildings at Wolf Ridge have the seashorey kind of look – this is the science center.  I hope it’s a great place for Claire to live and work this summer.
view from shovel point

A view looking down from Shovel Point towards Duluth.

calm lake superior

A rare calm day – you can see Wisconsin on the horizon.

stones in water

These are some underwater rocks on the shore.  Superior’s got stones!

Straight down from these rocks, we saw a giant fish – hard to tell how big it was, but from the only thing nearby to get an accurate measurement, it appeared to be about 2 loon lengths long.

gooseberry falls

We also stopped a ways down the road at Gooseberry Falls.

park point

The last stop on this portion of the day was a different kind of Superior shore, this one, a very long sandy beach from Duluth to Superior.

June 1, 2012 – Dropping Off the Girls in the BWCAW

For better or worse, we agreed to allow Claire and Emma go on their first longer canoe trip (without parents) with a couple of friends who happen to be brothers and do not have BWCA experience.  I used it as an opportunity to see them off and get them up and back.  Since it’s about a 10 hour drive, we stayed for a night before the trip and after the trip at Kawishiwi Lodge where we have spent many summers.

I’ve recently received complaints about the lack of pictures of me on the blog.  Here’s one at Lake One on the night of our arrival.

And one of Martin as well.

The crew the last night before heading into the wilderness.

The group just moments before they headed off down Moose Lake for points east and north.