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A Loon!

Boundary Waters Blog - Sun, 04/19/2015 - 9:44pm

I saw my first loon of the season today when I went for a drive around Trail’s End Campground. It was swimming in the bay of Gull Lake in front of the Saganaga Landing at the campground.  I didn’t hear him sing even though I tried to converse with him.

It was a rainy day on the Gunflint Trail and we received .61″ at the Seagull Guard Station.  Earl Falls, the tiny falls across from the Guard Station, is flowing nicely and Moose Pond is free of ice. The ice is pulling away from the shore on many of the smaller lakes and it won’t be long until the ice is off of Iron, Little Iron and Swamper. I’m guessing the ice will be off of Saganaga completely by May 2nd, but that’s just my SWAG Theory.

It’s muddy once again but we won’t complain.

Gunflint Trail waterfalls


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Ice Update 4/19/15

Clearwater Lodge Tales - Sun, 04/19/2015 - 8:19pm
It rained all day today which has the lake looking nice and black, there are cold temperatures coming our way which will inevitably slow the process.
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4/19/15 - Sawbill Lake Daily Ice Report

Sawbill Newsletter - Sun, 04/19/2015 - 4:38pm

4/19/15 - We didn't hang around on the lake very long for today's ice report. Just long enough to drill a hole and measure 13.5" of ice. The last week of summer-like weather has changed to an all day rain with temperatures in the high 30s. - Bill

Brian drills the hole from the safety of the canoe. It was probably safe to stand on the ice, but we didn't want to find out the hard way that it wasn't.

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Out and about on Earth Day

Unorganized Territory - Sun, 04/19/2015 - 12:35pm

My niece Kristi and I (cleaned up!) after the 2010 Tofte Trek 10K.

I’ll bet that last week’s Unorganized Territory about my love-hate relationship with mud confused a few readers. I wrote about the delight of taking the first four-wheeler ride of the season, splashing through puddles on the trails. And I wrote about the joy of slogging through the mud in the Tofte Trek 10K.

So, am I a motorhead? Or am I a tree hugger? Believe it or not, I’m both. In celebration of Earth Day, which is coming up this week, I’ll try to explain.

I do love riding my ATV. I enjoy splashing through the mud and trekking up and down hills, the rockier and bumpier the better. It is very empowering to be able to maneuver through a rough spot in the road or to bounce along a trail for hours. Believe it or not, it’s not passive, it takes upper body strength to keep the wheeler on the road. Sitting up straight to muscle the heavy machine where you want it to go is a great core workout. You get tired riding an ATV.

But it’s the good tired that comes from being outside, active in the sun or the rain.

So yes, I am a motorhead. But I’m a tree hugger too. There are many stops along the way on a four-wheeler ride to check out wildflowers, to see if there are fish in a nearby stream, or if I’m really lucky, to pick some berries. I love coming up upon wildlife on the trail or watching birds glide through the air overhead.

And then there are times when I want to be afoot, without the vibration of the engine or the rumble of the motor. I love hiking, especially along a river. I love the sound of water cascading over rocks and the rustling of leaves along the path. I love the view from Caribou Rock, from Carlton Peak, from Eagle Mountain and others.

And when I’m standing near the top of one of those vistas, I like the reassurance of a sturdy tree. More than once I’ve found myself at an overlook, peering far below with my arm hooked around a tree trunk. So yes, I am literally a tree hugger.

I think there are more people like me than there are those who are entrenched in one camp or the other. I know there are some people who cringe at the idea of riding an ATV. And I know there are ATVers who hate just walking around the block. But truly, those folks are few and far between. Few people are that one-dimensional. People can like ATVs and snowmobiles and still enjoy biking and cross country skiing.

And all of the users of the beautiful public lands in Cook County have something in common. We may have different methods for getting out into the woods, but we all love this place we call home. Get out and enjoy it!

Happy Earth Day!


I don’t accept the idea there are two sides to any issue. I think the middle ground is to be found within most of us.

Krista Tippett

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Rain and Ice

Gunflint Lodge - Sun, 04/19/2015 - 10:58am

Today is our first day of rain and does it look wonderful!  We have had snow flurries but starting about 5:30 this morning, it was all rain.  As a result, Gunflint Lake is quite black.  I can tell by some of the plowing marks that the ice flow is moving east.  That is what we want.  A good strong northwest wind would really help the process.  On the north shore of the lake, the open water coming out of Cross River is getting close to the end of the point.  Eventually the flowing water from the river will drive all the ice to the east end of the lake and then out.  We are ready.
Over on Tucker Lake the ice is so black that Bruce figures he could drive a boat right through it.  I don’t think we are going to try just yet.  Tucker Lake is a long narrow lake and not anywhere near as deep as Gunflint.  So, it will probably be out at least a week before Gunflint it.
This weekend was another one of the dog lovers weekends.  I think we have about 19 dog lovers with their pets.  We have doggie socials, homemade doggie treats, etc.  The most popular events with the dogs is to just take long walks in the woods without leases.  I think the people enjoy it the most also.  Luckily Friday and Saturday were just perfect for this activity.  Now the rain can come.
As the spring comes along, we have more than just birds wandering back.  Our neighbors down the lake have already had two black bears on their porch.  Adam’s dogs woke everyone up barking at bears.  As long as they stay out of the garbage, I don’t care.
While walking down the Tucker Lake Road, I saw some wolf scat.  There is no doubt that the wolves are around but we don’t get to see them very much.  Right now the wolves may be living on partridge.  There appear to be lots of them on our road.
Driving to the lodge today, I saw a rabbit on the shoulder of the road.  Most of its body was changing color to summer browns.  Its feet were still white but they are the last to change color.
Much of my vegetable garden is thawed out.  Bruce wants to do some trimming in the raspberries and strawberries.  Sounds good to me but today is not the day to do it – remember it’s raining out.  I am going to start a small asparagus bed this year.  It will take a couple of years to get anything to eat but in the end there will be some good dinners each year.As I have been writing, the rain has let up some.  The wind, however, has increased.  All of it helps the ice melt out.

P.S.  Take a look at Bruce's picture from last week.  The rocks are up to the ceiling now.  All he needs to do is the hearth.
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Ice Update 4/18/15

Clearwater Lodge Tales - Sun, 04/19/2015 - 9:43am
This was the view down Clearwater Lake Saturday afternoon, we are progressing nicely.  Forecasts predict rain which will continue to help, but then cold temperatures which will not.  We will keep everybody updated.
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Sunny Skies

Boundary Waters Blog - Sat, 04/18/2015 - 5:27pm

We’ve been blessed with beautiful blue skies and warm temperatures this past week. People are out and about without jackets and are wearing short sleeves and shorts. When the temperature reaches the 50′s up here we think it’s summer.

It doesn’t feel like April and everyone is wondering when Mother Nature will dump a foot of wet snow on us. Although it would make things muddy again and disappoint many we do need some precipitation. It looks like we might get some rain next week and that’s a good thing as I’m having a difficult time staying indoors.  When it’s nice outside I’m drawn outside to savor the sunshine on my face.

Temperature in degrees from the Seagull Guard Station on the Gunflint Trail.

  • April 11     65
  • April 12     71
  • April 13     55
  • April 14     63
  • April 15     68
  • April 16     60
  • April 17     69
  • April 18     57
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4/18/15 - Sawbill Lake Daily Ice Report

Sawbill Newsletter - Sat, 04/18/2015 - 4:13pm

4/18/15 - Today's ice thickness is 15". It's hard to believe that we were confidently skiing around the Kelso Loop just a week ago. Progress has been rapid, but the forecast taking a drastic turn for the colder tomorrow and for the foreseeable future. Sigh. - Bill

We have another celebrity ice testing technician today. Tyler Campbell, Duluth native who now lives in Colorado and long-time Sawbill crew member, does the honors.

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Boating Season Coming Soon

Boundary Waters Blog - Fri, 04/17/2015 - 5:11pm

The lakes are still frozen on the Gunflint Trail but the streams and rivers are starting to flow. South of us other lakes are opening up in Minnesota and many people are anxious to get out onto the water. We’re looking forward to getting out on the water too and the nice weather has us thinking we might be doing it sooner rather than later. As soon as the river opens up we’ll get a boat in and check out the conditions on Saganaga to report to all of you.

Here’s some safe boating tips from the Minnesota DNR.

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                       April 17, 2015

Prepare now for a safe boating season

Before launching into open water, boaters are reminded to inspect their boats and boating equipment and review regulations, which can be found in the 2015 Minnesota Boating Guide at

“With lakes and streams opening up across the state, boaters are anxious to get on the water and start enjoying the boating season. The best time to make sure boats, equipment, and safety items are in legal and proper working order is before your first launch of the season,” said Debbie Munson Badini, boat and water safety education coordinator with the Department of Natural Resources. “No one wants to break down, get a ticket or have a safety emergency after waiting all winter to get back on the water.”

In addition to making sure boats are equipped with all required safety items, it’s important to take extra precautions during the cold water season when more than 30 percent of Minnesota’s boating fatalities take place.

While children younger than 10 years old must wear life jackets while aboard watercraft when underway (i.e., not tied to a dock or anchored for swimming), boat and water safety officials strongly recommend that all boaters wear life jackets anytime they are on cold water, no matter their age.

“Wearing a life jacket is an imperative part of staying safe on the water during the spring months when the water is extremely cold,” Munson Badini said. “In the event of an unexpected fall or capsizing, having a life jacket on can make all the difference. Adult boaters resistant to wearing a typical life jacket are encouraged to try inflatable styles, designed to make preventive use more convenient and comfortable.”

Before the first launch, boaters should verify their motorboats are equipped with the following:

U.S. Coast Guard-approved wearable life jackets for each person on board.
A Type IV throwable flotation device on boats 16 feet or longer.
A horn or a whistle.
Type B, U.S. Coast Guard-approved fire extinguisher.
Navigation lights in working order.
Valid boat registration, with numbers visible.
Watercraft can be registered in person at any deputy registrar of motor vehicles or at the DNR License Center in St. Paul. Registrations are good for three calendar years. Renewals can be done in person, or online at

Further details, including boating safety tips and information on watercraft operator permit requirements, can be found in the boating guide at

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4/17/15 - Sawbill Lake Daily Ice Report

Sawbill Newsletter - Fri, 04/17/2015 - 3:42pm

4/17/15 - The ice measured 17" thick on Sawbill Lake today. The first foot is just loose slush with 7" of clear, hard ice under that.

When we arrive at the lake each day for the ice measurement, Phoebe, Chief of Outfitter Security, and Roy, Deputy Chief of Outfitter Security, execute a perimeter reconnaissance to identify and neutralize downrange threats.

Too thick to paddle, too thin to walk. Looking north from the Sawbill Lake canoe landing.

Brian gets the honor of carrying the first canoe of the season to the lake.

...and now you see how the canoe is used.

Here are the most recent editions of the Cook County West End News from WTIP-FM, North Shore Community Radio:

April 16th, 2015
April 9th, 2015
April 2nd, 2015
March 26th, 2015

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Thirteen New Great Place Projects Across Cook County and Grand Portage

Moving Matters - Fri, 04/17/2015 - 12:10pm

The Cook County Chamber of Commerce and the Moving Matters project of the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic are pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 Great Place Project. Twenty seven local businesses, nonprofits, and individuals submitted creative ideas from across Cook County and Grand Portage. $10,000 in grants will be awarded to 13 recipients to help create great places within our communities.

“It’s both gratifying and exciting to see so many creative applications in the second year of the Great Place Project,” said Jim Boyd, executive director of the Cook County Chamber of Commerce. “Our county already is a Great Place; these projects make it a bit greater, and we all get to enjoy the results.”

The Great Place Project is a friendly, local competition for mini-grants to use high impact, low cost ideas to create great places in our communities. A great place is inviting, beautiful, and catches the eye. It reflects the unique character and identity of the community. And a great place encourages people to slow down and spend time there. “We know that people will be active where they have pleasant and safe places to do so. The Great Place Project has been an incredible opportunity to invest in community spaces and the health of our community” said Moving Matters Coordinator Kristin DeArruda Wharton.

2015 Grant Recipients:

Arrowhead Pharmacy: Mural paintings by local artist Betsy Bowen, complemented by seating and landscaping.

Birchbark Books and Gifts: Locally themed mural paintings with hidden books by local artist Tim Young.

Border Designs: Rustic park bench and plantings by walking path in Lutsen.

Cook County Higher Education: Welcoming entrance with plantings, enhanced walking path, and picnic table.

Cook County Historical Society: Gathering place with plantings, seating, and enhanced bike parking at museum.

Grand Portage Wellness Committee: Community Park gathering table and grill in Grand Portage.

Java Moose: Chair seating by the Grand Marais Harbor, at both café locations.

Kah-Nee-Tah Gallery: Log bench seating area with plantings.

Last Chance Studio: Moose sculpture created by local artist Tom Christianson.

Oddz and Endz: Resting spot with benches, tables, and planters using repurposed and recycled materials.

Schroeder Area Historical Society: ADA accessible viewfinder at Taconite Harbor.

Tofte Historical Society: Planters to enhance the plaza at the North Shore Commercial Fishing Museum.

Visit Cook County: Enhancement of Grand Marais Visitor Center common area with benches and planters.

The Great Place Project is sponsored by the Moving Matters project of the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic and the Cook County Chamber of Commerce. The Moving Matters project, with funding from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota’s Center for Prevention, is working to create safer and more accessible places to walk and bike in Cook County and Grand Portage.

Published in the Cook County News-Herald, 4/18/15 edition.

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4/16/15 - Sawbill Lake Daily Ice Report

Sawbill Newsletter - Thu, 04/16/2015 - 4:41pm

4/16/15 - Today's ice thickness on Sawbill Lake was 18.5". The warm spell continues. - Bill

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For the Birds

Boundary Waters Blog - Thu, 04/16/2015 - 9:56am

Birds, birds everywhere you look there are birds. They are singing their songs as they flitter about and the snow buntings are scattering as one drives along the Gunflint Trail.  I’ve spotted robins, red winged black birds,  juncos and lots of ducks. The eagles are in their nests and soon the loons will return. The activity above is like the activity on the ground as we flitter about preparing for the upcoming season at Voyageur.


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Waterfalls, Theatre, Music & More

North Shore Arts Scene - Thu, 04/16/2015 - 2:08am

Travis Novitsky took this great shot of the High Falls in Grand Portage the other day. He calls it “Waterfall season is officially here.”

Waterfall season has started on the North Shore with lots more to come. The first “show” started this week, with falls up and down the shore opening up and rushing over cliffs to Lake Superior. Every one is worth a visit.

Meanwhile, there’s plenty to keep you busy this weekend.

First up is the opening of “James & the Giant Peach,” a play based on the popular children’s book, at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts Friday, April 17 at 7 p.m. Performances will be at 7 p.m. April 17-18 and April 24-25, with 2 p.m. matinees on Sunday, April 19 and April 26. Tickets are available at the door.

There are lots of other plays being performed this weekend along the shore as well.

The Duluth Playhouse presents “Jesus Christ Superstar” April 16 through May 3 with performances at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and matinees on Sunday. There will be Saturday matinees on Saturday, April 25 and May 2. Tickets are $25. Visit for more.

Lake Superior Community Theater presents the musical “Nunsense” at 7 p.m. April 16-18 at the Silver Bay High School and at 2 p.m. April 19.

It will also be performed at the Two Harbors High School  at 7 p.m. April 24-25 and at 2 p.m. April 26. Tickets are $12 adults and $8 students. For tickets and more info, click here.

Dave Saffert will perform the quirky songs of Tom Lehrer in “Tomfoolery.”

And at the Manion Theater on the University of Wisconsin-Superior campus, Dave Saffert will be performing in “Tom Foolery,” a retrospective on the songs and wacky humor of Tom Lehrer.

It opens this Friday. How many chances do you get to enjoy songs about poisoning pigeons in the park? Not many, for sure, but if you were a fan of Tom Lehrer, this is a show not to be missed.

“Tom Foolery” is a production of Rubber Chicken Theater in conjunction with UWS.  Performances are April 17-18 and 24-25 at 7:30 p.m.  Tickets can be purchased at the box office or call (215) 394-8380. The Manion Theater is located at 1805 Catlin Ave. in the Holden Fine and Applied Arts Center, Superior, Wis.

And finally, for performance artists (and others), Jack Nickolay and Rose Arrowsmith DeCoux will hold a workshop entitled “Memorization Made Easy!” at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts April 22-23 from 7-9 p.m. $45, Contact to register.

Cook County’s Most Wanted plays for the fundraiser for Molly Thomas on Saturday at the Art Colony.

Also this weekend, Cook County’s Most Wanted will play for a fundraiser for Cook County High School sophomore Molly Thomas as she prepares to travel to Australia in July to compete in the Down Under Tournament.
 She will be representing the Central Conference Track and Field Team in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

The event will be held at the Grand Marais Art Colony from 6-10 p.m. on Saturday and feature music, a sweet treat sale and a silent auction. Tickets are $10 adults, $5 students. All invited.

The Midwest Extreme Snowmobile Challenge is this weekend.

Also this weekend, the final celebration of snow this winter will be held at Lutsen Mountains when snowmobilers from across the country compete in the first ever snowmobile event on the mountains. The Midwest Extreme Snowmobile Challenge will be held on Moose Mountain on Saturday and Sunday with short course cross-county, hillclimb and hillcross races. Spectator tickets are available for $18/day or $28 for a 2-day pass. (Tickets are limited to 500 this year)  For the complete schedule and tickets, click here.

The Permanent Collection Exhibition continues at the Johnson Heritage Post.

For art exhibits, the Johnson Heritage Post‘s opening show of the season, Permanent Collection Exhibition, continues through this weekend. The exhibit will feature new acquisitions and donations to the Heritage Post, including works by Birney Quick, Anna Johnson, Helga Moe and Mary Pratt, as well as others. The exhibit will continue through April 19. The Heritage Post is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 1-4 p.m. Sunday.

Works from the Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School Exhibition at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery.

In Thunder Bay, the Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School Exhibition continues at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery through  April 26.

Three exhibits continue at the Definitely Superior Art Gallery in Thunder Bay as well, including the video installation by Kelly Richardson. Richardson, who is a world-class video installation artist, recently finished a show at the National Gallery in Ottawa, and has just received a prestigious residency in England. Also on exhibit are selections from the art collection of Dr. Bob Chaudhuri and metal sculpture by Brandon Vickerd. The exhibits continue through April 25.

Also this weekend, Gallery 33 in Thunder Bay will hold its grand reopening from 4-6 p.m. on Saturday with music, refreshments and lots to see. The gallery is located at 4 Balsam St.

And at the Tweed Museum of Art in Duluth (on the campus of the University of Minnesota-Duluth) an exhibit of student work continues through April 30. Also, the gallery is featuring the Senior Exhibition by Yookwon Lim entitled “Inside the Umbrella.”

The museum and gift store is open Tuesdays from 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Wednesday–Friday, 9 a.m. to4:30 p.m. and 1-5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
In art news, local artists who will be exhibiting at the Grand Marais Arts Festival  July 11-12 include Melissa Wickwire, Dave Steckelberg, Elise Kyllo, Julie Arthur, Mary MacDonald, Nancy Seaton, Joan Farnam, Gail Anderson, Jeff Niesen, Nace Hagemann, Betsy Bowen, Jerry Riach, Tom Christiansen, Cooper Ternes and Tim Dennison. In all, 80 local and regional artists will participate in the show in downtown Grand Marais.

“Newbie” by Kari Vick.

Kari Vick is exhibiting her work at Sivertson Gallery, including “Newbie,” a giclee print.

Drury Lane Books is closed for the month of April.

Grand Marais photographer Bryan Hansel is crafting all the photographs for Sven & Ole’s new product, frozen pizzas, which are now offered at local and regional vendors.

Kah Nee Tah Gallery in Lutsen is featuring turned wood pieces by Wayne Johnson of Maple Grove.

Great Gifts of Lutsen has cards by Betsy Bowen, Terry Nelson deNatale, Anna Hess, John Peyton, Kelly Dupre and Jackie Kotlarek.

The Arrowhead Regional Arts Council is accepting applications from individuals wishing to serve on the board.

The current openings are for representatives from Koochiching County, Carlton County and at-large members from any of the seven counties in the Arrowhead Region. The board is especially looking for individuals with a knowledge of dance or classical music.

ARAC offers grant support and technical assistance to individual artists and nonprofit arts organizations who reside in the seven counties which make up the Arrowhead Region: Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake, and St. Louis.

The deadline to submit an application is May 13. For more info, click here.

And finally, there’s quite a buzz around the region about Grand Marais being chosen as the Coolest Small Town in America. Here’s an example: the Duluth Art Institute is organizing a Summer Kick-off and Member Party May 28 and the grand prize is “An Artful Weekend in Grand Marais.” The prize includes a two-night stay at the Art House B&B, a two-day course at North House Folk School and dinner at the Crooked Spoon.

Here’s the music schedule for this weekend:

Thursday, April 16:

  • Eric Frost & Bill Hansen, Poplar River Pub, 6 p.m.
  • Rod & Caribou, American Legion, 7 p.m.
  • Gordon Thorne, Gun Flint Tavern, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, April 17:

  • The May North, Gun Flint Tavern, 8 p.m.
  • Bump & Adam Moe, Voyageur Brewing Co., 8 p.m.
  • Timmy Haus, Papa Charlie’s, 9 p.m.

Saturday, April 18:

  • Cook County’s Most Wanted plays for the fundraiser for Molly Thomas, Grand Marais Art Colony, 6 p.m.
  • Briand Morrison, Lutsen Resort, 7 p.m.
  • The May North, Gun Flint Tavern, 8 p.m.
  • Eric Frost & Friends, Voyageur Brewing Co., 8 p.m.
  • Hitchville, Papa Charlie’s, 9:30 p.m.

Sunday, April 19:

  • Timmy Haus Caribbean Reggae Party at Moguls Grille, 2 p.m.
  • Jim & Michele Miller, Gun Flint Tavern, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, April 21:

  • Timmy Haus, Poplar River Pub, 6 p.m.

Wednesday, April 22:

  • Open Mic Night, Gun Flint Tavern, 5 p.m.

We found lots of photos of the northern lights and waterfalls this week, as well as some lovely spring shots.

Let’s start with beautiful photographs of the auroras. (f you check my NorthShore ArtScene Facebook page in the next few days, you’ll see lots more. The lights were popping again on Wednesday night.)

Photo by David Johnson.


Photo by Heidi Pinkerton.


Photo by Bryan Hansel.


“Ancient Cedar Aurora,” by Travis Novitsky.


“Northern Lights at Schroeder,” by Thomas Spence.


There have been storms and threats of storms.

Bill Hansen caught this shot on the Sawbill Trail the other day.

Photo by Bill Hansen.


And David Johnson was in the right place to catch the first thunderstorm of the season in Grand Marais.

“First Storm of Spring,” by David Johnson.


And here’s a completely different mood. Layne Kennedy caught this incredible shot when he was in Spain.

Photo by Lane Kennedy taken in Granada, Spain.


Here are a few of the waterfall shots we found this week.

“The Temperance Opened Up,” by Thomas Spence


The Flute Reed by Sandra Updyke.


Cascade River Falls by David Johnson.


With the ice melt,  birds are streaming north and pairing up for the summer. Michael Furtman caught this wonderful shot the other day.

“Trumpeter Swan pair in flight,” Michael Furtman.


We’ll end this week’s offering with two powerful images by Kirk Schliefe.

“In the Grasses” by Kirk Schliefe.


“Spring has Sprung” by Kirk Schliefe.


Have a good weekend, everyone!




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Chik-Wauk Museum Expansion

Boundary Waters Blog - Wed, 04/15/2015 - 9:13pm

Chik-Wauk Museum has plans to improve the already wonderful facility.  They will be breaking ground this year for a Nature Center.  The center will provide space for presentations, workstations and displays for hands-on learning.

Plans also include a boathouse to display old boats, a cabin like what once stood on the property and a vaulted toilet.  In order to make all of these improvements funding is needed and donations can be made online.

We anxiously await the seasonal opening of the museum Memorial Weekend.

Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center on the Gunflint Trail

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4/15/15 - Sawbill Lake Ice Report

Sawbill Newsletter - Wed, 04/15/2015 - 4:41pm

4/15/15 - We have visiting celebrity ice auger operators for today's Sawbill Lake ice thickness report. The ice was 20" thick, very soft for the first foot and pretty solid for the last 8". - Bill

Former Sawbill crew members, Leif "Leifboat" Gilsvik and Jess "Hammer" Hemmer, acting as honorary ice depth testers. Don't worry, they both took a turn on the auger.

In honor of the visitors, we had the first outdoor lunch of the season. Photo by Brian "Mongo" Henry.

Brian found this beautiful and intrepid crocus in the yard between snowbanks.

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Spring brings changes

Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center Blog - Wed, 04/15/2015 - 10:18am

The snowshoe hare are starting to change from their beautiful pure white in the winter time to the brownish color you recognize all rabbits have during the rest of the year.

The snow bunting birds are passing through again on their way back north for the spring. We see them in the fall when they travel south for the winter and again in the spring on their way back north. If you have driven the Gunflint Trail in either the fall or the spring you will see these birds fluttering around by the side of the road.

Some of the residents on the Gunflint Trail have probably started planting some tomato, squash and other variety of seeds indoors to get a jump start on their garden for the season.

We have also had some changes at the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center this spring, Ada Igoe has moved on to another adventure after 5 years of organizing and handling everything the museum and nature center offered. I have been a resident on the Gunflint Trail for the past 24 years. I am really looking forward to working with the local residents that help out at the museum everyday and also to meet the people that visit the museum and here their stories of the area.


Spring also brings time to start getting the museum open for the season. Fred Smith and his crew of volunteers were up at the museum this past week to get the coverings off the windows and also to turn the heat on in the building. Now I can start working in the building and getting familiar with the surroundings.

We do not open until the 23rd of May but I am sure I will be keeping busy until then.

See you this season, Bonnie Schudy

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Beautiful Weather on the Gunflint Trail

Boundary Waters Blog - Tue, 04/14/2015 - 9:46pm

The sun has been shining brightly and the clouds have been scarce. It’s been absolutely gorgeous outside and on Sunday the temperature reached 71 degrees on the Gunflint Trail. With temperatures predicted to be in the 60′s the next few days the ice will surely take a beating. The Seagull River is just beginning to open up to the south of our docks.  If the weather keeps up like this we’ll have open water on area lakes in a couple of weeks and Saganaga won’t be too far behind.

Voyageur Canoe Outfitters

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4/14/15 - Sawbill Lake Ice Report

Sawbill Newsletter - Tue, 04/14/2015 - 4:04pm

4/14/15 - Sawbill crew member Brian Henry is back on the job and one of his first duties was to drill a hole and test the ice thickness. The warm spell is taking its toll with a loss of more than 4" since yesterday.

Brian couldn't do it without the help of Roy and Phoebe.

Today's measurement is 21", down from 25.5" yesterday. Bright sun, wind and warm nights make for quick melting.

Meanwhile, Sawbill's own Cindy Hansen is in Germany, enjoying spring on the shores of Lake Constance in Bavaria. Her trip is part vacation and part acting as an unpaid assistant to her sister Sherrie who travels to Germany for her job.

Cindy imitates a statue in the background.

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Spring 2015

Tuscarora Lodge and Outfitters News - Tue, 04/14/2015 - 2:19pm

It is finally spring-like enough around here to motivate me to write an update!  After a false spring in mid March I lost a little hope when the cold weather and snow showers returned.  This weekend however felt good enough for me to peel the window plastic off, dust off the screens and open the windows wide!

In just a few days with sunshine, 60’s, wind, and rain, the drive ways and road have almost completely cleared off.  Thanks to the diligent Cook County guys, the culverts are flowing freely and the road has not washed away at all this spring (yay!).

The beaver pond by the road is so close to loosing all it’s ice.  Those are ravens up above in the shot.  They have been making all sorts of crazy sounds as they work on their nests and pair up for the spring nestling season.  Other birds have been out chirping and buzzing about like the pine siskins and juncos.  I woke this morning to the sounds of robins singing in the yard.  Hard not to smile with that kind of alarm clock.

The Cross River is gurgling along happily in the sunshine as well.  Just two days difference in these two pictures below shows what can happen in the spring.  The ice is almost all gone between the rapids close to the road and the first portage towards Ham Lake.  Won’t be long until that chunk breaks free and we can paddle over there.



Lucy and I have been sneaking out of the office to go for long muddy romps in the sunshine.  The Magnetic Rock hiking trail is very muddy with frost heaves rutting the trail and snow and ice piles in the shady spots.  Sure feels great to stretch the legs and Lucy enjoys getting as muddy as possible.  The Centennial Hiking trail is still holding on to a crust of ice in the shade as well but is always good for a spring adventure

Round Lake is looking pretty springy as well.  The ice is pulling away from the shore and has popped up enough to allow the standing melt water on top to drain down.  The ice is looking darker and darker each day.  Won’t be long before paddling season begins if the weather holds!

Keep watching the blog for updates on the ice conditions.  I will post what I know as we approach May.  Keep sending warm thoughts our way!

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