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A Walk in the Woods

Boundary Waters Blog - Fri, 08/19/2016 - 10:50pm

It was a perfect day for a walk in the woods and Cook County has perfect woods to walk in.

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8/18/16 - How many places can you think of more romantic than the Boundary Waters?

Sawbill Newsletter - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 7:31pm

8/18/16 - How many places can you think of more romantic than the Boundary Waters? I bet many of us can agree its pretty hard to beat waking up to an early morning mist setting in over the lake, watching the colors of the sun reflecting off the clouds as it sets behind the horizon, or gazing up at some of the darkest night sky many of us will ever see.

Thom Stang must have been thinking along these lines when he decided to propose to Stephanie Morris during their 11 day canoe trip. The couple's friend, Joe, very carefully carried the ring in his pocket the first four days the distance to Little Saganaga lake. On the fourth day Thom popped the question and Stephanie has been transporting the ring on her finger ever since. -Jessica


Stephanie and Thom shortly after returning from their trip.

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Sturgeon Moon on the Gunflint Trail

Boundary Waters Blog - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 12:50pm

I love the fact Native Americans named their full moons each month. It makes it so much more interesting than just saying, “Tonight’s a full moon.” It’s interesting because it’s usually a glimpse into what was happening in the natural world historically during that time of the year.

The name of the August Full Moon is most commonly known as the Sturgeon Moon. It’s seems like an easy name to figure out because it was the month when they(Algonquin Tribe) had the most success fishing for sturgeon on the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain in particular.

Can you imagine if different groups of people named the full moons?  I could think of a few fun ones like teachers and retailers, how about you? Any Full Moon lists or better names for full moons you can think of?

Retailer Names for Full Moons

  • January- Everything red for your sweetheart moon
  • February- Bring out your inner Shamrock moon
  • March- Summer is Almost Here Moon
  • April- Artificial flowers for cemeteries Moon
  • May- Schools Out Celebrate Graduation Moon
  • June- Fathers are overrated let’s celebrate the 4th of July Moon
  • July- Summer is Over Moon
  • August- Back to School Moon
  • September- Halloween is Coming Moon
  • October- Christmas is Just 2 months away Moon
  • November- Black Friday Moon
  • December- The more you spend the more they will love you Moon

Teacher Names for Full Moons

  • January- It’s like starting over Full Moon
  • February- Make the unattractive students feel worse Full Moon
  • March- Wish we’d have another snow day Full Moon
  • April- Thank Goodness for Spring Break Full Moon
  • May- These Kids are Driving Me nuts Full Moon
  • June- Thank Goodness it’s over Full Moon
  • July- The only month fully free Full Moon
  • August- I can’t Believe School is starting soon Full Moon
  • September- Another Year Begins Full Moon
  • October- Homecoming Full Moon
  • November- I’m sick of these kids already Full Moon
  • December- I can’t wait for Christmas Break Full Moon

 

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Pots, Harpeth Rising & Tall Ships

North Shore Arts Scene - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 7:02am

The Tall Ship Festival is in Duluth this weekend. Kathy Gray Anderson caught this photo of the tall ship, Mist of Avalon, as it sailed past Grand Marais on its way to Duluth. It is being greeted by the Hjordis, North House Folk School‘s gaff-rigged schooner. The size difference is astonishing.

It’s a big weekend in Duluth, as the Tall Ships Festival gets underway Thursday and runs through Sunday, with boat parades, tours, sailing opportunities, events, art exhibits and wall-to-wall people. In all, 10 Tall Ships are expected at the festival. Oh, and the world’s largest inflatable duckie will be on hand. For tickets and more info, visit www.tallshipsduluth.com.

Rick Allen and Kenspeckle Press in Duluth have even created  T-shirts for the Tall Ships event: “Not for Navigation.”

Kenspeckle Press is on the second floor of the DeWitt-Seitz Building  in Canal Park.

YAR! Tall Ships be coming in tomorrow. Our store be open Thursday through Sunday, 11 – 4! Lake Superior “Not for Navigation” t-shirts have been replenished. We be ready!

It will be a quiet weekend in Grand Marais, as everyone settles in to enjoy the last few weeks of August. But there’s plenty to do nevertheless.

First up is the Arrowhead Sketchers, who will meet for their weekly outing this Thursday. This week they will meet indoors and hold a life drawing session at Jeanne Hedstrom’s home, 817 W, 1st St. in Grand Marais, from 5:30-7 p.m. Depending on the number of folks participating, there will be a charge of $5 to $10 to cover the fee of the model. Everyone is welcome. So, bring your favorite medium and reconnect with life drawing.

The Sketchers met at Hedstrom Lumber Co., last week, and came up with these sketches/drawings.

Arrowhead Sketchers sketched Hedstrom’s Mill. Photo courtesy David Morris.

Also on Thursday, Drury Lane Books will hold a Full Moon Reading at 7:30 p.m. with local poet and performer Reed Schmidt. He will read from some of his original poems as well as a selection from his favorite poets. All welcome.

Reed Schmidt will read his poetry at the Full Moon Reading at Drury Lane Books at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

Schmidt studied literature and studio art at the University of Minnesota Morris. He has been a reader, writer, musician, and artist for most of his life—sometimes one more than the other depending on the year. Before settling in Grand Marais just over a year ago, he spent about three years teaching immersion English and kindergarten in South Korea, a brief time repairing violins in Atlanta, and a variety of other odd jobs along the way. You may have seen him recently as Jonathon Brewster in the Grand Marais Playhouse’s rendition of “Arsenic and Old Lace.” The reading is held outside the bookstore by the bonfire.

On Friday, the Grand Marais Art Colony will host a Pottery Potluck and Demo with Robert Briscoe and Jason Trebs from 4-6:30 p.m. at the Art Colony.

Bob Briscoe modifies a large vessel on the pottery wheel. He and Jason Trebs will demo at the Art Colony on Friday starting at 4 p.m.

Expect lively pottery making and conversation as you watch the potters throw organic, loose, and fluid forms on the wheel.

Along with demoing a variety of techniques and methods of making functional pots, the artists will talk about their own artistic work and individual paths. The event will culminate in a potters’ potluck.

There is a $15 suggested donation for this event. Pre-registration is encouraged. Please bring a dish to share if staying for the potluck. For more info, call the Art Colony at 387-2737.

Also on Friday, Pete K will talk about his music and play a few songs on WTIP’s “The Roadhouse,” which airs from 5-7 p. Pete will be on-air around 5:45 p.m.

On Saturday, Cilla Walford will give a watercolor demo at the Art Colony at 1 p.m. All invited.

Also on Saturday, check out the Cook County Farm & Craft Market, which is held in the Senior Center parking lot from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Cook County Farm & Craft Market is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays in the Senior Center parking lot.

Expect to find a wide variety of arts and crafts as well as baked goods, homemade pickles and more.

On Saturday night, a great trio, Harpeth Rising, will perform at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts courtesy of the North Shore Music Association.

Harpeth Rising plays at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Harpeth Rising is named for the Harpeth River in Middle Tennessee. They play “modern progressive bluegrass” or “chamberfolk,” but these titles only touch on their unique sound. The three classically trained musicians produce original music that’s intricately arranged, lyrically rooted in the singer/songwriter tradition, wrapped in three-part vocal harmonies reminiscent of both Appalachia and Medieval Europe, and evocative of the gypsy jazz of Django Reinhardt and the “dawg music” of David Grisman. To hear examples of their music, click here. Tickets are $18 adult, $15 adult/youth pair. Additional youth are free. Tickets can be purchased at the box office or online at www.tix.com..

Also, this is the last weekend for the show, “Ceramics in Cook County” which is on exhibit at the Johnson Heritage Post.

Mike Smieja is one of the potters exhibiting in the show at the Johnson Heritage Post.

This has been a popular exhibit and is well worth a visit. The Heritage Post is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday and 1-4 p.m. Sunday, when the show closes.

Adam Swanson is exhibiting a collection of his work in the Great Hall at Tettegouche State Park.

Adam Swanson is exhibiting his paintings at Tettegouche State Park.

Here’s an interesting one. The Silver Creek International Ukulele Carnival is Friday through Sunday at the Silver Creek Town Hall, about 11 minutes from Two Harbors. More than 100 ukulele players are expected to attend. There will be workshops, jam sessions, open mics, concerts and more. For the complete schedule and maps, click here.

The Two Harbors Ukulele group at the carnival last year.

In Thunder Bay, the exhibit, “Leanna Marshall and Celeste Pedri-Spade: “The Teaching is in The Making”: Re(Store)ied Memories of Anishinabeg” continues at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery through Sept. 4.

“The Teaching Is In the Making” is on exhibit at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery.

In ‘The Teaching is in the Making,” artists Celeste Pedri-Spade and Leanna Marshall blend together Anishinabeg photography and traditional regalia. While these practices may seem to be very different, they are related as both significant material markers of Anishinabe art, story, spirituality, and knowledge. The exhibit is about restoring and re-story-ing specific familial memories that are integral to Anishinabeg history, identity, and continued survival.

The gallery is open Tuesday through Thursday, noon to 8 p.m.(EDT) and Friday to Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. (EDT). The gallery is closed on Mondays.

In other art news:

 Betsy Bowen was recently named to the 50 Over 50 list, which honors 50 of the most inspiring and accomplished leaders across Minnesota. This is the first year that the 50 over 50 list has been complied to celebrate and recognize Minnesotans who have made significant contributions and achievements in their communities. Bowen was honored as an artist and creative who has contributed significantly to Minnesota’s thriving culture.

Betsy Bowen

Her accomplishments, according to the “50 over 50″ post:

“On the North Shore, 69-year-old Betsy Bowen stands out as even more iconic than her widely recognized woodcuts. That’s because her creativity could fill Lake Superior, and also because of her vocal (and financial) support for the region’s vast array of writers, painters, photographers, performers, and more. She enthusiastically encourages every artist she encounters to “go for it.” In addition to giving birth to her own creative work, Betsy helped establish Good Harbor Hill Players and their ongoing winter and summer solstice pageants, drawing audiences of hundreds to the North House Folk School, in which she is also active. Other involvements over her decades of life in Minnesota include Cook County Whole Foods Coop, Grand Marais Art Colony, and various community projects. And, of course, the conversion of a historic local church into Betsy Bowen Gallery and Studios, with work and display spaces for a variety of local artists that draws art lovers to linger in Grand Marais.”

To see the list of honorees throughout Minnesota, click here.

At Bowen’s Studio and Gallery, Jeanne Knight has brought in new pottery and Ron Piercy has a wide variety of new silver jewelry with local and exotic gemstones.

Watercolorist David Hahn is currently show his work at the Coho Cafe in Tofte.

Jeff Niesen is exhibiting his work at the Angry Trout Cafe.

Painting by Jeff Niesen.

Also at the Angry Trout, look for the cool coloring book by Corrie Steckelberg. The drawings are charming and totally capture the experience of eating (and working) at the popular North Shore restaurant.

Corrie Steckelberg did the drawings for the Angry Trout Cafe Coloring Book.

Copies are available at the restaurant.

Drury Lane Books has just received more copies of the new Harry Potter book, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.”

The book has been reordered a few times already.

Last Chance Gallery in Lutsen will not hold a Bronze Pour at Four this Saturday. In other gallery news, there are new hand-dyed items from Wendy Richardson, including T-shirts, bamboo socks, scarves as well as table and bed linens.

Wendy Richardson has new work at Last Chance Gallery in Lutsen.

Copies of “The Woman Today” with the cover story about Rose Arrowsmith DeCoux are now available at the Arrowhead Pharmacy. The magazine is free. Check it out.

Rose Arrowsmith DeCoux holds of copy of the Woman Today magazine, where she is featured on the cover. Cover photo by Mark Tessier. It can now be found at the Arrowhead Pharmacy in Grand Marais. Free.

 

 

 

There’s lots of great music this week, too. Here’s the schedule.

Thursday, Aug. 18:

  • Eric Frost, Music by the Campfire, Lutsen Resort, 6 p.m.
  • Red Dirt Girl, Cascade Lodge Pub, 6 p.m.
  • Gordon Thorne, Gun Flint Tavrn, 8:30 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 19:

  • Plucked Up String Band, Voyageur Brewing, 4 p.m.
  • SplinterTones, Grandma Ray’s, 7 p.m.
  • Eric Frost, Music by the Campfire, Eagle Ridge Resort, 7:30 p.m.
  • Pete K, Cascade Lodge Pub, 7:30 p.m.
  • Mysterious Ways, Gun Flint Tavern, 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 20:

  • SplinterTones, Bear Tree Park, 1 p.m.
  • Jim & Michelle Miller, Sydney’s Deck, 6 p.m.
  • 4 Squared and the Makers, Papa Charlie’s, 6 p.m.
  • Plucked Up String Band, Lutsen Resort Lobby, 7 p.m.
  • Dat Dere Jazz Quartet, Cascade Lodge Pub, 7 p.m.
  • Eric Frost, Music by the Campfire, Bluefin Bay, 7 p.m.
  • Michael Monroe, Log Cabin Concert, rural Grand Marais, 7 p.m.
  • Harpeth Rising, Arrowhead Center for the Arts, 7:30 p.m.
  • Earth, Wind & Todd, Grandma Ray’s, 8 p.m.
  • Mysterious Ways, Gun Flint Tavern, 8:30 p.m.
  • Timmy Haus, Papa Charlie’s, 9:30 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 21:

  • Shoot from the Hipsters, Mogul’s Grille, 5:30 p.m.
  • Red Dirt Girl, Cascade Lodge Pub, 7:30 p.m.
  • Brothers in Arms, Gun Flint Tavern, 8 p.m.

Here are some of the photos we found this week.

First up, Nace Hagemann caught this wolf family strolling down the road. He said he has never photographed such young wolf pups.

Photo by Nace Hagemann.

 

For those who have been following the eagles on the DNR Eagle cam, here’s a photo of one of the eaglets that were hatched this spring.

This year’s eagle chick… all grown up. Photo by Thomas Demma.

 

Layne Kennedy took this shot of a very curious caribou in the Slate Islands recently.

And Carol Bowman took this intriguing shot of a loon the other day.

Loon by Carol Bowman.

 

Here’s an incredible and very rare shot: Space Lightning. The photo was posted on spaceweather.com this week.

Spaceweather.com wrote:

On Aug. 13th in China, photographer Phebe Pan was photographing the night sky, hoping to catch a Perseid meteor. Instead, he witnessed a spectacular bolt of “space lightning.” Working atop Shi Keng Kong, the highest mountain peak in the Guangdong province, “I was using a fisheye lens to capture as much of the sky as possible,” says Pan. “Suddenly we saw a flash of blue and purple ejected from the top of a nearby thundercloud. It just looked like a tree with branches, and grew up very fast. So awesome!”

Space lightning are gigantic jets which can reach all the way up to the edge of space alongside meteors, noctilucent clouds, and some auroras, according to spaceweather.com.  “This means they are a true space weather phenomenon.”

And here’s a lightning bolt going in the other direction. Paul Sundberg took this beauty.

Storm Over Grand Marais by Paul Sundberg

And here a few beautiful Lake Superior cloudscapes.

Photo by Travis Novitsky.

 

Summer Superior by Kjersti Vick.

This photo tells many stories.

“Summer on the Harbor” by David Johnson.

And here’s what everyone wants to see coming out of their gardens this summer.

The Colors of Summer by Staci Drouillard.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

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Squirrel Steals a Go Pro

Boundary Waters Blog - Wed, 08/17/2016 - 8:41am

Ever wonder what it would be like to be a squirrel climbing in a tree? Wonder no more thanks to this fun video!

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8/16/16 - Roller skiers training on the Sawbill Trail.

Sawbill Newsletter - Tue, 08/16/2016 - 4:18pm

8/15/16 - The first few miles of the Sawbill Trail have been a summer training stop among competitive cross country skiers over the years. With the addition of another 10 miles of fresh pavement their training ground vastly expanded. Yesterday a group of at least 50 roller skiers made their way up the seemingly endless inclines as they traveled away from the shores of Lake Superior. Quite the sight to see. - Jessica


Caution signs were posted along their route.


Nothing but up hill and fresh pavement.

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Wondering about the Weather

Boundary Waters Blog - Tue, 08/16/2016 - 11:03am

“What’s the forecast?” Each morning and throughout every day at Voyageur we are continually asked about the weather. We print a forecast for the area in the morning but with today’s access to the internet people want to know an up to the minute forecast. They would love for us to pull up the radar image on the internet too.

I like to know what the weather is going to do. It helps me plan and prepare when I’m heading out into the Boundary Waters.  Do I need a tarp over my gear? Should I wear my rain gear?  One way to not completely rely on the forecast is to just keep these items easily accessible at the top of your pack while you’re paddling the BWCA.

When looking for a forecast for our area we usually look at the Superior National Forest or Ely and then come up with our own idea of what our weather is going to do.  We don’t look at Grand Marais because our weather is never the same as it is in town.  Grand Marais is 60 miles away and has the influence of Lake Superior so our weather is way different.

Like elsewhere in the USA it is a rare occasion when the forecast is accurate. What to do? If you’re heading into the BWCA wilderness with no access to forecasts then it might be helpful if you  learn to read the clouds or memorize some weather folklore and become your own weather forecaster.

  • Rain before seven, clear by 11.
  • When the dew is on the grass, rain will never come to pass.
  • When grass is dry at morning light, look for rain before the night.
  • Rainbow in the morning gives you fair warning.
  • Halo around the sun or moon then expect rain real soon.
  • When smoke descends, good weather ends.
  • When the wind is out of the east tis neither good for man or beast
  • When the ditch and pond offend the nose, then look out for rain and stormy blows.
  • When sound travels far and wide, a stormy day will betide.
  • When clouds look like black smoke a wise man will put on a cloak.

 

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8/12/16 - The Olympic spirit is alive and well in the north woods.

Sawbill Newsletter - Fri, 08/12/2016 - 9:28pm

8/12/16 - The Olympic spirit is alive and well in the north woods. A few days ago we held our very own Sawbill Olympics. Teams of two, representing various countries, competed in a myriad of events. Semifinals included; bear rope rolling, calculating rental agreements, and a retail scavenger hunt. Participants were scored on speed and accuracy.

The gold medal event took place the following day between teams Denmark and Croatia. Each portaged their aluminum canoes from the store down to the landing, paddled in opposite directions around mouse island, and then quickly portaged back to the store. Medals were awarded to the following countries; gold to Denmark (Owen and Elena), silver to Croatia (Claire and Dan), and bronze to Finland (Cindy and Brian).

Many thanks to the Olympic committee for organizing the events and to the athletes for participating. - Jessica


The start of the gold medal race. Croatia on the left, Denmark on the right.


Neck and neck for the first leg of the race.


Team Denmark pulls ahead after rounding mouse island.


Mixed emotions from Denmark as they take home the gold.

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Chasing the Northern Lights at Bearskin Lodge

Bearskin Blog - Tue, 08/09/2016 - 10:08pm
Northern lights over Bearskin Lodge, morning of August 3, 2016

When you’re visiting Bearskin Lodge, you are almost as far north as you can go and still be in the US.  You are also in one of the few remaining “dark skies” areas of the country, which means we have the lowest possible level of light pollution.  Your chance of seeing astronomical events at Bearskin can be very good if you devote some time to looking up at the night skies.

Seeing the aurora borealis up here is a dream for many people, so it’s always a heart-breaker when guests discover that a magnificent display of lights occurred right over their cabin — but they never saw it.  Here are a few hints for chasing the lights during your Bearskin visit.

What does the aurora look like?

Think back to all those stunning photos you’ve seen of spectacular green, purple or even aqua northern lights, swirling overhead.  Then erase that imagery, because that’s probably not what you’re going to see with the naked eye. Although the northern lights can contain a full spectrum of colors, our night vision color receptors do not pick up very many of the colors.  The colors are there, just not so you can see all of them.  It’s a lot like green grass – at night it’s still green, but it doesn’t look green to your eyes. (Thank you, Debbie Center, for that analogy.)

 

This is how a good aurora might look to you with the naked eye.

Unless you are seeing the aurora through a camera, which has many more sensitive color sensors at night than your eyes have, in far northeast Minnesota you are mostly going to see a white shimmering glow. If you’re one of the lucky ones with more sensitive color receptors in your eyes (or if it’s an exceptionally bright display), there may be rays and swirls of green, aqua, and purple, depending on the degree of darkness.  If you have typical eyes, the aurora will look more like oddly moving white clouds in the sky – except that it’s dark, and you won’t normally see moving clouds then.

This is how the lights looked in the back of the camera

When should we look?

Once you realize that you’re not looking for a colorful neon light show, seeing the lights is simply a matter of knowing when and where to look.  The aurora can show up at any time of year. There is no such thing as “northern lights season,” because lights are geomagnetic disturbances caused by storms on the sun. They have nothing to do with seasonal occurrences here on earth. Winter is sometimes advertised as “northern lights season,” but only because it’s darker for a longer time. You might not need to stay up quite so late to chase the lights in February.

It’s also easier to see the aurora when there isn’t a bright moon.  A very dark night with clear skies and  minimal moonlight is ideal for seeing northern lights.

There are many phone apps and computer web sites that can help you predict the best nights for great aurora viewing  but they can’t forecast very far ahead, nor are they completely accurate. Predictions are a guess based on current sun activity.  A common question we get  is, “When should we come to Bearskin next (month/year/week) to see the aurora?” We truly have NO idea. Visit us when you are going to have a fabulous time anyway and then if the northern lights appear, it will just be one more unforgettable memory.

Where should we look?
This may seem obvious, but to see the northern lights you need to look north.  That can be tough at Bearskin because our cabins are along the lake’s north shore.  You need to get out on your dock, or out in a boat, or out on the lake ski trail in the winter, to be able to see a northern view.  If the lights get going nicely, then there will be an arc of lights across the resort from the NW (staff housing direction) to the NE (the BWCA end of the lake). Occasionally the lights form an umbrella of light over the entire lake, but don’t expect that.  It’s a rarity.

Here is the white glow on the horizon through the trees before the light show started on August 3.

If you see an odd glow on the north horizon an hour or more after sunset, start hoping for lights.  People often assume they are seeing the lights from a city (nope), or  the dim last light from the sunset (nope, the sun never sets in the north). Then give yourself at least 10 minutes for your eyes to adjust; it takes time in the dark for your eyes to start to see the aurora.  Bearskin sells headlamps that include a red light; these allow you to see outside without disturbing your night vision.  Once you spot the lights, we promise you will be mesmerized. You might see pillars, arcs, curtains, pulsation, shooting rays, soft clouds, or even hear auroral noises.

Photographing the northern lights

If you wish to “see” the aurora through the lens of a camera, it will require a little pre-planning and a slightly better camera than a typical “point and shoot.”  Your cell phone camera might work, especially if you can download one of the many apps that allow you to have more manual control over the phone camera settings.  The best results are achieved with a DSLR camera, or a high quality “point and shoot” with advanced manual settings.

Camera settings:

  1. You need to be able set the ISO on your camera to a high number, probably 800 or considerably higher. The bigger the number, the more “noise” your pictures might have – but sometimes that’s a trade-off you make to get aurora photos with your camera.
  2. You will need to set the shutter speed on the camera, probably somewhere between 10 – 30 seconds, so it stays open quite a while. That’s how the camera gathers the colors. Experiment with increasing the shutter speed, until you see a picture that works. If you are shooting the lights with a simple camera or phone, maybe a setting for night photos will give you a longer exposure.
  3. Because the lens needs to stay open a long time, a tripod or support is essential. If you didn’t bring a tripod, find a way to set the camera on a firm surface. You can’t hold the camera still long enough to let in adequate light  without assistance.
  4. The focus on your camera should be set to infinity, or whatever setting focuses very far away. If you can turn off automatic focusing, get rid of it.
  5. You will also need to look for the f-stop setting on your camera; it needs to be at the smallest number that your camera will permit. If you have lens choices, a wide angle lens captures more of the aurora, but it isn’t essential.
  6. Pressing the shutter sometimes wiggles the camera too much. A remote shutter control is ideal. (Amazon sells them for many cameras for around $7, not a big investment).  A work-around is to take pictures with your camera’s timer. Many cameras have a 2-3 second delay option; most have a 10 second option, which seems interminable when you’re waiting for your camera to go off under the aurora.  You have to work with what your own camera will do.

There are so many other camera settings that the experts use to photograph the lights, but these will get you started. If your camera has good “live view,” you may be able to watch the lights right in the back of the camera.  Otherwise, just take dozens of photos, look at them, adjust as you go, and sooner or later you may see colors.

How can you bring out all the colors of the aurora in your pictures?

Almost all of the photos of the northern lights that you see online and in books have been put through an editing program to bring out more of the colors.  Search “aurora post processing” for hundreds of articles on how to do this.  Adobe Lightroom is the most popular, but any photo editing program will be fun for you to try.  Even simple phone apps like Aviary will let you play with your pictures.

Many of the aurora photos that you see are art, not reality.  I think the goal should be to make it look somewhat similar to what you saw that night, or at least reflect the real experience.  Other photographers, though, enjoy bringing out as many stunning colors in photos as possible, often cranking up the colors so the lights look turquoise, yellow, magenta, and orange.  If you look at northern lights photos often, you’ll eventually decide on a color range you like. The point is to experience the lights and then, if you get some photos, to extend your enjoyment of the experience by recreating your vision of the aurora, however simple or wild that may be!

 

Resources:

  • Facebook group: Become a member of Great Lakes Aurora Hunters.  All your questions will be answered there sooner or later.  Wondering if the aurora is out? Just look at GLAH; if the lights are dancing, somebody on GLAH will say so. Every foolish or insightful question about photographing the lights has been asked on this Facebook site, often repeatedly.  You can learn a great deal from this group. Check the section called “notes” on the page.  It leads to countless useful articles.
  • Do a web search of “photographing northern lights:” You will get dozens of informative articles about viewing the lights and photographing them.
  • Space Weather Prediction Center: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/  So much info here, but for the northern lights you want to click on the box at the lower right that shows the Ovation aurora model, which predicts auroral activity. If there’s any sign of that bright green or better yet, mutli-colored oval being close to the tip of Minnesota, there’s hope for lights.  This section of the website shows a 3 day prediction:  http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/products/aurora-3-day-forecast
  • softservenews.com: Yes, it sounds like a website about ice cream, but for some reason it’s about the northern lights. This might not be the most reliable aurora predictor, but it certainly is the one of the easiest.
  • Aurora Forecast/Geophysical institute: From Alaska, but fairly useful for us http://www.gi.alaska.edu/AuroraForecast/NorthAmerica/20160810

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Review: DeLorme InReach Wilderness Messaging Device

Tuscarora Lodge and Outfitters News - Fri, 08/05/2016 - 11:17am

As the world becomes increasingly globalized and technology makes it easier and easier to stay in touch, we’re finding that more Boundary Waters visitors than ever want a way to get in touch with the outside world in case of emergency while in the wilderness or so they can keep up on any news from home. Tuscarora’s been offering satellite phones for a few years to help people with the somewhat incongruous goals of getting away from it all and still being reachable. For most people, having a satellite phone provides a sense of security for both themselves and their loved ones, the same way having a fully stocked first aid kit provides peace of mind on the trail. Like that first aid kit, a satellite phone’s meant to be just another tool in your pack in case the unthinkable happens.

But now that people have their phones on them almost every waking moment, sometimes people view a satellite phone as a clunky cell phone rather than an emergency device. This is when the three big “cons” of satellite phone usage pop up:

  1. Our satellite phone has a battery life of about 24 hours. This essentially makes the phone a call-out only device because it needs to be turned off for the majority of your trip to make sure it has enough “juice” to call in case of an emergency.
  2. You must be out in the open to get a signal for the phone. Satellite phones are notorious for dropped calls.
  3. Satellite phones are ‘spensive. Replacement costs are around $1300, so you really, really don’t want to accidentally drop it in the lake.

We figured there had to be a better way for people to do their canoe trips and still remain in contact.

Enter the DeLorme Inreach device.

A longtime time Tuscarora guest has been talking up the DeLorme Inreach device for a while and this spring we decided to give it a whirl. It’s a bit of an apples to oranges comparison to compare the Inreach to a satellite phone, since you can’t make calls with the Inreach. Rather, the Inreach is a texting device that allows you to send text messages and emails (160 character limit per message) to people back home and have two-way conversations that way. There’s no monthly limit on messages that can be sent with our plan, so you don’t have to worry about racking up a big bill, no matter how much you use it during your travels.

The device also has an emergency SOS button that sends your location to emergency response and allows you to send a message describing the emergency. After the SOS button is pushed, it sends your location every 10 minutes to emergency response if you’re moving, or sends the location every 30 minutes if you’re stationery. Obviously, not a button you want to press accidentally, but handy to have, “just in case.”

Other things the Inreach can do:

  • Post your location on social media, including Facebook and Twitter.
  • Shoot waypoints on a map.
  • Uses a whole lot less battery than a satellite phone. You don’t want to leave it on during your entire trip, but you can use it freely without worrying about the battery dying.
  • Is water resistant and floats. Replacement costs are around $300.

A couple weeks back, Andy and his buddy Quinn decided to take advantage of this summer’s high water and paddle the Greenwood River about 30 miles southeast of Tuscarora. The Greenwood River not technically in the Boundary Waters, but it’s tucked away in some pretty remote reaches of the Superior National Forest. Arguably, you’re more likely to find assistance during an emergency when you’re in the Boundary Waters than in Greenwood country, since, more often than not, you’re on an established travel path while traveling in the BWCA. Down in Greenwood country, if you run into trouble, it’s going to be a long time before someone stumbles upon you.

While no one really thought Andy and Quinn would find peril during their afternoon trip down the Greenwood, Andy threw in the Inreach to see how it would work in a wilderness situation.

When we were testing out the DeLorme around Tuscarora, we found that it can take a little while for the messages to transmit if you’re not out in the open. Also, if you’re moving while the Inreach is transmitting, it can get a little confused and might send duplicate messages. However, when Andy was down at Greenwood, we were able to go back and forth with just a minute or two lag time between messages.

When you open the link in the email or text sent with the Inreach, you’re brought to a map that pinpoints where the message was sent from. You reply to the Inreach sender right in the little message box on the righthand side of the screen.

You can zoom in and out on the map to get a very specific location.

Even if you didn’t want to message anyone during your trip, it would be kind of neat to send yourself your location so at the end of your trip you have several snapshots of your route.

All in all, we’ve found the Delorme Inreach to be a viable alternative to a satellite phone. You might not be able to send or receive very detailed messages with it, but it is a good way to check in at home with a simple, “all’s well,” and with its GPS tracking capability, it’s a useful tool if you have the misfortune of ending up at the center of a search and rescue mission. It’s a device that satisfies the map geek and provides peace of mind.

Currently we have one DeLorme in reach available for rental at Tuscarora and if it proves popular, we’ll make more available. If you try one out, be sure to let us know what you think.

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Clearwater Lake Campsite Reviews

Clearwater Lodge Tales - Tue, 05/10/2016 - 5:32pm

In hopes of helping future paddlers better understand their camping options in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness we are going to be periodically releasing reviews of the campsites in our vicinity. As with any review some subjectivity comes along with the territory, but there are also some basics that can be easily measured; the number of tent pads, the canoe landing, the fire grate area and the view from...

The post Clearwater Lake Campsite Reviews appeared first on Clearwater Historic Lodge & Canoe Outfitters.

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3.31.2016 Thanks for a great ski season

Bearskin Lodge Ski Trail Reports - Thu, 03/31/2016 - 4:23pm

Well, the time has come  — we are officially calling it the end of the 2015 -2016 ski season. We do still have a considerable amount of snow on the trails and you are welcome to come up to ski or snowshoe. But both resorts decided today that we are now officially done grooming for the season.  With 40 – 50 degree temps each day, there’s not much we can do with the groomer to recreate a nice surface. Time to store the equipment away and reflect on our great luck that during a winter when most of Minnesota was snowless, that once again the Central Gunflint Trail System offered great ski conditions all winter.

Golden Eagle did the final wrap up on the numbers for the season.  Our total snowfall was 93.46 inches — pretty fantastic for a “no snow” year!

  • New Snow Last 24 hours:  0.00”
  • New Snow Last 7 days:  2.00”
  • Trail Base, Staked:  Not measured
  • Snow in Woods, Staked:  Not measured
  • Surface Conditions:  Melting snow
  • Last grooming day:  3-26-16
  • Total snowfall since Nov. 1:  93.46”

Thanks for being such great guests.  We love our skiers, both our regular winter guests and our frequent day skiers, and we always miss them over the next seasons.  Stop in to say hi!

And don’t forget about our great Fall Work Weekend.  For just $99 plus a few hours of fun trail trimming, you can enjoy Bearskin Lodge in another season. Our skiing guests love seeing the trails during another season, plus it’s fun to ski by a location all winter and think, “I certainly did a great job of trimming here!” Find out more by clicking here.

 

Join us for trail trimming weekend in 2016


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3.26.2017 More snow, new grooming

Bearskin Lodge Ski Trail Reports - Sat, 03/26/2016 - 4:50pm

Just in case you were imagining that it’s not winter at Bearskin Lodge in late March this year…

New snow this morning made it possible to groom again, possibly for the last time this season unless we get a significant new snowfall.  Skiers seemed quite happy with conditions today, and the trails look beautiful.

A few trails are now out of commission for the season, for various reasons. We are no longer grooming the west end of Logging Camp Trail, the BWCA Logging Camp section, North-South link from upper Beaver Dam to Summer Home Road, and Poplar Creek Trail.

Due to the warm weather prior to last week, we are not grooming any lake-crossing trails for the remainder of the season   You can ski on the ice just fine, it’s not unsafe for you;  but the heavy grooming machines are another story. We don’t want a repeat of the infamous Dave Tittle story of putting a groomer through the ice!  The North-South Link trail across Flour Lake has a single lane classic track set by snowmobile to allow for a connection between the north and south halves of the system.

There have been a number of fun animal sightings on the trails in the past week, which is enjoyable for skiers. The moose are very active right now, and appear to love clomping right down the groomed trail.  We’ve also had many reports of foxes and otters along the trail–we like them better because they don’t destroy the grooming quite so much.

So far we’ve received about 92 inches of snow this season, not a record breaking winter by any means, but vastly better than almost anywhere else in the state. We are, indeed, in a magical snow pocket here in the med-Trail area. We still have about 15 inches of snow in the woods and a trail base of around 8 – 10 inches. Temps during the day are getting into the 30’s and even occasionally the 40’s, but our snow doesn’t seem to be disappearing at a very fast rate. Skiing is the best early each day, before the snow gets soft.

Spring conditions can change rapidly. Call us if you’re wondering if it’s a good day to ski.

 

 


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3.18.2016 Beautiful day, fabulous new snow

Bearskin Lodge Ski Trail Reports - Fri, 03/18/2016 - 1:39pm

 

Add Bear Cub, Campground, and Summer Home Road to the newly groomed list. )xcart, Beaver Dam, and Ridge Run were done yesterday.  Poplar Creek will not open for remainder of this March due to water problems.

Bring a camera if you come. The heavy snow stuck to the trees, so we have our Christmas card look back again.

Soup, chili, wine, beer, and of course, hot cocoa in the lodge if you come up for the day to ski.  Wish you could stay more than one day? We have a 3 nights for the price of 2 special going on now — ask for it when you call to reserve. We’ve had a lot of “drop everything and drive up to ski” phone calls today. Seems like the novelty of the early spring in the Twin Cities has worn off and people are getting weary of waiting for their grass to turn green!


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Sota 12.20.04 – 1.22.16

Gunflint Pines Northwoods News - Fri, 01/22/2016 - 5:48pm

Sota Hikes to Ham Lake.

With heavy heart we must report that we lost Sota early this morning. We will miss her greatly. She was a major part of our life here at the Gunflint Pines Resort. She was the camp greeter and often could be found opening the door to run out and greet the next guest as they arrived.

She often guided guests on hikes to Lonely lake or High cliffs. Many a guest would start off hiking only to find her flushing the path in front of them and waiting at the intersections to be sure they were on the right path. But many a guest would also come back without her, distraught only to have us ask how long they were hiking. We knew that if they had taken a short hike – she found others to hike with before coming home. She was an excellent bird dog, squirrel or chipmunk chaser and mouser. She was smarter than and had more grace than many humans (I swear!) and was nothing but loving to everyone.

Sota stalks Deer

Sota was 11 years old and had a good life. She was loved and adored by many children who returned each year only to ask where she was so they could pet her belly.

Sadly we feel we must also tell you that she was killed by Wolves. At 3am this morning, she had to go to the bathroom. Within minutes we heard them, quickly dressed and scared them off. It was too late. This happened within 30 ft of the building. It is a testament to the severity of the Wolf situation. We understand that this was always a possibility, and that the wolves are just trying to survive. We also know there are those out there who will criticize us for even mentioning the wolf situation, but those who do not live here, have no idea how large the population is.

Sota in her favorite spot in the lodge.

We used to have a deer herd of roughly 100 on the south shore of Gunflint. This year I have seen fewer than 4. Please understand that we also love the wolves and appreciate there need for balance in nature, but our position has and always will remain this: if you are going to manage the Moose, deer, small game etc populations – you must also manage the wolf population. There is no longer a balance in our area. The wolves are beginning to becoming desperate. How long before they begin starving and become aggressive.

Rest in peace Sota – many will miss you!

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After the Holidays – on to 2016!

Gunflint Pines Northwoods News - Wed, 01/13/2016 - 11:59am

 

Ready to slide at Gunflint Pines Resort!

Happy New Year!  2016 looks exciting and welcoming!  This past holiday season was the best we’ve had in many years.  The temperatures were great, the snow was plentiful, the ski trails were packed and tracked, sleds were sliding, snowmen were being made, quite the happy winter start!

Fun on the sledding hill.

 

Gunflint Pines Sledding fun!

My favorite game! Stop by if you want to play!

For Christmas my son bought me a Chinese Checker board, favorite game of mine!  I found my marbles so I’m ready to go!  Stop by if you want to play a game.  Remember we’re a pet friendly destination and I love puppies so feel free to share.  This little guy (still unnamed) was only 10 weeks old and looked like a stuffed animal!  He was adorable.  We offered the names of Sasquatch and Yeti – but they were leaning towards Cesar or similar.

Visiting Puppy at Gunflint Pines Resort!

Gunflint Lake froze over late this year!!!  The west end out front of us only froze over on the 30th of December.  The East end finally froze over the morning of the 4th.   With the colder temps the past week we are building ice quickly just in time for the Trout Opener this weekend.

This past year we started posting our future availability by means of google calendars in our blog section.  While we still do not have online booking capability and I have to update them manually it can give you a good guide as to what might be available for our cabins, camping cabins or our Lakehome.  I have also started relying on the google calendars to make updating our snow report and Ski Trail report easier and more up to date.  You can always feel free to call us directly for up to date information 218-388-4454.

Summer reservations are starting to book as people seem to be planning further ahead – don’t wait too long to give us a call and start planning your escape up north!

Shari

 

 

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Kratt Chat: Summer’s success

Visit Cook County - Mon, 09/21/2015 - 11:39am
Kratt Chat: Summer’s success September 2015

New Gondola Installation at Lutsen Mountains

One word describes how I felt as I watched the helicopters soar over Lutsen Mountain – Thrilled! This investment from leadership at  Lutsen Mountains only reinforces the energetic growth felt throughout Cook County.  In July, I completed my second year working for Visit Cook County.  When I started, I thought I knew a lot about this wonderful corner of northeastern Minnesota. I have now come to realize the depth of the partnerships we share in making life here enjoyable and energized.  I am delighted.

AN INCREDIBLE SUMMER!  

As our summer season closes, I want to highlight a few spring, summer and fall highpoints. We are all aware that Cook County offers some of the biggest and best of the midwest: tallest peak, highest waterfall, most groomed cross country ski trails, largest ski resort in the Midwest, most BWCAW entry points – you get the picture. This list is endless, and keeps on growing. Another “best” came across my desk today –  Hwy. 61 from Duluth to the Canadian border was included in Mashable’s “7 Scenic Fall Foliage Drives.” And perhaps the most reputable, the title of “Coolest Small Town in America,” awarded in February  to Grand Marais. We would love to hear from other business owners regarding the summer experience of 2015. We know World’s Best Donuts sold more donuts than they have since opening in the summer of 1974! We look forward to hearing many more great sucess stories as we enter the last part of 2015.

MEASURING SUCCESS

Safe to say – our efforts in marketing and media relations have paid off.  I, along with the Visit Cook County team, serve our tourism related economy tirelessly. Thanks to our partnership with Giant Voices and LINPR we have built a successful marketing and PR strategy that is showing results. These partnerships allow us to build upon great outreach opportunities like sharing a booth with WTIP at the MN State Fair (a complete blast) followed by a live media appearance with KARE 11.

The one true measurement of tourism success for Visit Cook County is our lodging tax.  This is always a moving target as we have lodging properties that pay monthly, quarterly and annually.  We measure our monthly decreases and gains based on prior year figures which actually allow us to be pretty close on the measurement.  And of course, we work extra hard to bring people here in our shoulder seasons of April and November. The County collects the lodging tax and prepares all the reporting.  You can see all the figures if you look here: http://www.cookcountychamber.org/charts.php?id=15

That said, Visit Cook County’s fiscal year began May 1.  If you calculate the success in the first three months of our fiscal year, the statistics are astounding.  A quick snapshot of May-July shows growth in Lutsen/Tofte/Schroeder up 15.9% and Grand Marais is up 15.8%. And on an even bigger scale, lodging sales in 2014 totaled $33Million dollars.  In a county that records $150million in sales, we need to tip our hats to the lodging property owners – not only as economic tourism drivers but also as employers.

We hope you have saved the date to celebrate with Visit Cook County and the Cook County Chamber on November 3rd at Lutsen Resort. You can look forward to more information about the event in the coming weeks, but until then, make sure you’ve saved the date!

 

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The Trapper’s Daughter & the…..

Sivertson Gallery - Sat, 04/25/2015 - 3:06am

The Trapper’s Daughter & The…..

The day we have all been waiting for is finally here!!!

It is my great pleasure today, on April 25th 2015, to present to you for the first time,

Wow, isn’t she a beauty??

After their long sail along the Lake Superior coast, the Trapper’s Daughter, Bear & Raccoon are finally able to relax on the shore near a big campfire. With beautiful bright embers floating toward the starlit sky, this print … read more

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Trapper’s Daughter Day 5!!!

Sivertson Gallery - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 5:07am

Day 5! Day 5! Day 5!

Today is the last day of our countdown before we reveal the NEW Trapper’s Daughter print for 2015!!

We kick off today’s countdown with a truly incredible print from 2013,

“The Trapper’s Daughter Crosses the Height of the Land as Winter Fades From the Woods & Waters.”

“The Trapper’s Daughter and the Spring Moose” came into the gallery like a hurricane. We could hardly keep this image on the walls and in the bins after … read more

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Day 4 of Our Trapper’s Daughter Adventure!

Sivertson Gallery - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 3:24am

Day 4 of Our Trapper’s Daughter Adventure!

Day 4 of our Trapper’s Daughter adventure beings with the winner of our 2014 Summer Solstice Trapper’s Daughter Bracket Competition….

In 2010, Rick Allen decided to try something new. With 26 different wood blocks, and 26 individual passes through the press, Rick and his famous helper Janelle, the Warrior Printress, worked their tails off on this one!!!

But wait…. there’s MORE!

The Kenspeckles decided to add a beautiful moon to the Long … read more

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