It is amazing how advanced our weather-predicting technology has become. As a child of the ’60s, I remember weathermen standing in front of a large plexi-glass map of the United States, drawing arrows to demonstrate the cold fronts swirling across Minnesota from the Canadian plains. I remember the meteorologists tacking up big snowflakes or raindrops on the map to show what was coming.
Now we have Doppler weather radar and we don’t even have to wait for the nightly news to see it. We have miniature weather stations on our smartphones, ready to call up a video loop of advancing storms any time we want.
We’ve come a long way, but the science still isn’t perfect. For example, one of our latest storms—when our local schools let kids out at 1:30 in the afternoon— dumped about 8 – 10 inches on the North Shore when the weathermen had predicted only 3 – 5 inches.
So, as I write this Unorganized Territory, I wonder what is going to hit us as the meteorologists with their fancy computer weather models are predicting 8 – 10 inches of snow tomorrow. Does that mean we will get 16 – 20 inches? That is a lot of snow.
I don’t know where we will put it. The topic of conversation around the office in recent days has been of the difficulty of shoveling our walkways. It’s getting harder and harder to pitch a shovelful of snow onto the snow bank. Our snow banks are now shoulder high.
The folks plowing our driveways are having the same problem. I went riding with my husband Chuck while he attempted to clear our driveway and a few others that he keeps open through the winter. The snow banks are so big that when he rams them with a new plow load of snow, they just tumble back down. It’s an adventure plowing this winter!
Chuck avidly watches the weather forecast, mentally preparing for what is on the way. I don’t pay too much attention. I have to be out and about no matter the weather and my philosophy is that I’ll look out the window in the morning and figure out what I need to wear that day. I’ll worry about driving conditions when I start driving.
But a few days ago, as I was driving home from the office, I noticed the most beautiful sunset over the Grand Marais harbor. The lake was almost completely frozen and both the lighthouse and the light on the west breakwall were coated in white. All that white against a pastel pink sky with faint streaks of blue and purple was stunning. It almost didn’t look real. It looked like a snow sculpture of our harbor. I pulled over to just stare at it for a moment.
The old poem, “Red sky at night, sailors delight; Red sky in morning, sailors take warning,” came to mind. Forget the weatherman, I thought; it is going to be nice tomorrow.
And it was! It snowed like crazy through the night and we woke up to another dumping of snow—more shoveling, snow-blowing and plowing—but it was also bright and sunny and way above zero degrees. It was beautiful. I’m not a sailor, but I was delighted.
I’m hoping to see a lovely pink sky at night again soon!
~ ~ ~ ~
Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.
Finally, it’s quit snowing! The Central Gunflint Ski Trail System received almost 17 inches of fresh new snow over the last 7 days. Our total snowfall since last November 1 is a little over 88 inches, as measured by the Baumann family at Golden Eagle Lodge.
Groomers from Bearskin and Golden Eagle Lodges have been grooming daily to pack as much snow as possible into the trail base. At this point the packed trail base measures 15″ – 18″. The snow in the woods is often over 3 feet deep, or even deeper in drifts. Classic ski conditions are fantastic, but due to the large amount of powdery snowfall we received in such a short amount of time, you can expect skate skiing conditions to be a little soft. We will continue to groom throughout the week in order to further pack down the base.
The pine trees in the woods are so beautiful, coated with what must be close to the maximum amount of snow that each pine bough can hold. Until the wind lifts the snow off the branches, expect every trail to be Christmas-card picturesque. Here’s a picture taken by the Baumann’s on Ridge Run Trail yesterday:
I’m not sure how many of you wilderness travelers need to have power when you are out and about. I do know some folks use their cell phones for taking photos and where there is cell phone service they can be important in case of an emergency.
When I went on my solo hiking adventure on the Superior Hiking Trail I took my cell phone along. I also took along a battery back up in case my cell phone died during the trip. I found a little comfort in knowing if I reached the top of a peak I could probably get cell phone reception.
I’ve often longed for extended trips into the Boundary Waters or other wilderness areas as I’m sure you have too. The next time you head out you might want to try one of these back ups so you can have power just in case you need it.
The RAVPower Luster Charger - RAV stands for “reliable, affordable value.” It provides 8 hours of talk time or a full charge in an iPhone. It’s small and doubles as a flashlight.
- Battery charging power: 8 hours of talk time for iPhones; one full charge for mobile phones
- Flashlight capability: 3 modes
- Package includes: Power bank, 1 micro USB to USB charging cable, and manual
- Weight: 2.93 ounces
- Dimensions: 0.87×0.87×4.25 inches
- Colors: Black, Blue, Gold, Pink, Silver
- Capacity: 3000mAh
- Price:$19.99 at Amazon
The Solar iCharge is great for those of you who have an iPhone and need an extra charge provided free from the sun. You can charge it via a USB cable too.Specs:
- Price: MSRP $79.99
- Weight: 3.8 oz
- Dimensions: 5″ x 2 5/8″ x 7/8″
- Country of Manufacture: China
- Where to Buy: Currently only available on the Solar iCharge website.
Powermonkey has a number of great solar chargers with battery back up power sources to choose from depending upon what your need is. I really love the idea of solar chargers even when there is a power source available. You can charge it with a USB outlet or electrical outlet if you must. It’s lightweight, compact and different varieties can be purchased for as low as $90 on Amazon.
I wish there was a way to take a picture of the wind to share with you. You just can’t quite feel the biting way it takes your breath away with a picture. It has been ferocious ever since the snow stopped falling yesterday afternoon. All that fresh powder is being whipped around horizontally (and vertically, and in circles). It ends up piling up in inconvenient places like Cool Whip. Super heavy Cool Whip that only the pup eats.
Our little beach area is the worst. The wind gets started on the far side of the lake and howls its way down the lake scraping up all the snow off the ice and delivering it to Tuscarora. The plow piles and boat house turn the parking lot into a wind tunnel. The ground is scoured clean down to the gravel in the middle. To the sides the snow drifts into dunes worthy of the Sahara.
Cabin 2 with it’s beautiful lake view gets a face full of snow this time of year. The drifts are as tall as the front steps. Behind it there is a pile as tall as the roof way back there in the woods.
It is hard to tell that there are canoes out in the canoe yard, but they are there. And the view from the outfitting office is, well, frosted with whipped cream.
Like everywhere in the state, we had massive amounts of snow on Thursday night and all day Friday, followed by high winds. Yesterday our groomers were out packing and rolling trails to make today’s Pisten Bully/Snowcat grooming go more smoothly but the wind blew pretty hard all night, resulting in major drifts. Although groomers have been out on the trails since early this morning, the entire grooming process for all 70+ K of trails may take longer than usual today. They’re moving some pretty significant amounts of fresh snow. Call Bearskin Lodge or Golden Eagle Lodge to get current updates on grooming, or stop by at the front desk of either resort to check.
It’s going to be beautiful out there once the trails are ready to go. Come out and enjoy this spectacular snow.
We are so lucky to have such a wonderful photographer living on the Gunflint Trail. And one who has the time to spend staring at the night sky and hanging out with wildlife. Nace Hagemann owns a construction company but I think he should hang up his hammer and spend all of his time taking pictures. Be sure to check out his Facebook Page and do it often for more amazing photos of the Gunflint Trail.
“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” Ansel Adams
I had never thought of a kayak as being a transportation mode for drugs. We’ve often joked about drugs being smuggled into or out of Canada via canoes and Duluth Packs portaged across the vast wilderness but we know this would be a pretty difficult feat. It turns out we weren’t the only ones to consider the possibilities!Updated: Tue, 11 Feb 2014 23:38:20 GMT | By The Associated Press, cbc.ca $162 million worth of meth hidden in kayaks seized by Australia
The drugs were allegedly found in 19 of the 27 kayaks in the shipment. ABC News
Australian police seized about $162 million worth of methamphetamine hidden inside kayaks shipped from China, officials said Wednesday.
Five people were arrested in Sydney on Tuesday after customs officials discovered 183 kilograms of meth last week while inspecting a shipment of kayaks from China, the Australian Federal Police said.
Nineteen of 27 kayaks in the shipment had bags of meth stuffed inside the watertight areas of the boats, said Tim Fitzgerald, regional director for the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.
Four of the five people arrested are from Taiwan, and one is from Sydney. Two were charged with attempting to import drugs, and the others were charged with possessing a commercial quantity of drugs. They each face a maximum of life in prison if convicted.
Australian officials have made a series of major drug busts in recent months. In October, police seized about AU$200 million worth of meth hidden in the tires of a truck shipped from China.
Looks like more shoveling in our near future!Weather Alerts Northern Cook / Northern Lake, Southern Cook / North Shore, Cook County Winter Storm Warning issued February 20 at 9:33AM CST until February 21 at 12:00PM CST by NWS Duluth
Issued: Thursday, Feb 20 at 09:33 am
Expires: Friday, Feb 21 at 12:00 pm
…SIGNIFICANT WINTER STORM EXPECTED TO IMPACT THE NORTHLAND
THURSDAY AFTERNOON AND THURSDAY NIGHT…
.A DOUBLE-BARRELED WINTER STORM WILL HIT THE NORTHLAND TODAY. A
NORTHERN SYSTEM WILL BE MOVING ACROSS NORTHERN MINNESOTA TODAY
AND BRING SNOW SHOWERS TO THE REGION. IN THE MEANTIME…ANOTHER
MUCH STRONGER STORM IN THE SOUTHERN PLAINS WILL STRENGTHEN AS IT
TRACKS NORTHEAST INTO SOUTHERN WISCONSIN BY THIS EVENING…THEN
ACROSS CENTRAL LAKE SUPERIOR FRIDAY. LIGHT SNOW WILL SPREAD INTO
THE NORTHLAND LATE THIS MORNING. THE SNOW WILL BECOME HEAVY LATER
THIS AFTERNOON. THIS STORM SYSTEM WILL ALSO PRODUCE STRONG WINDS
TONIGHT AND THROUGH THE DAY FRIDAY WHICH WILL CAUSE BLOWING AND
…WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON CST FRIDAY…
* LOCATION…EAST OF A LINE FROM KABETOGEMA LAKE TO NEAR PINE
CITY MINNESOTA INCLUDING NORTHWEST WISCONSIN. THIS INCLUDES
HINCKLEY… ASHLAND…HAYWARD…PHILLIPS AND HURLEY.
* TIMING…THE HEAVIEST SNOW WILL OCCUR BETWEEN 6 PM TONIGHT AND 6
AM FRIDAY. SNOWFALL RATES OF 1 INCH PER HOUR ARE EXPECTED FROM
6 PM TO MIDNIGHT.
* SNOW ACCUMULATIONS…THE HIGHEST SNOW TOTALS WILL OCCUR ALONG
THE HIGHER TERRAIN OF THE MINNESOTA ARROWHEAD AND ACROSS MUCH
OF NORTHERN WISCONSIN WHERE 14 TO 18 INCHES OF SNOW IS
FORECAST. OTHER AREAS FURTHER TO THE WEST…INCLUDING
HIBBING…DULUTH AND PINE CITY WILL SEE SNOWFALL AMOUNTS
RANGING FROM 10 TO 14 INCHES.
1 TO 4 INCHES ARE EXPECTED THIS AFTERNOON.
* WINDS/VISIBILITY…NORTHWEST WINDS WILL GUST TO 40 MPH TONIGHT
* IMPACTS…SNOW COVERED ROADS WILL MAKE DRIVING EXTREMELY
DIFFICULT. THERE WILL BE CONSIDERABLE BLOWING AND DRIFTING
SNOW…AND NEAR WHITEOUT CONDITIONS…AT TIMES THURSDAY
AFTERNOON AND NIGHT…ESPECIALLY IN OPEN RURAL AREAS. THE SNOW
WILL BE THE HEAVY WET VARIETY. WHEN CLEARING SNOW AFTER THE
STORM MAKE SURE YOU TAKE BREAKS AND DRINK PLENTY OF WATER.
THE HEAVY WET SNOW MAY BRING DOWN TREE BRANCHES AND CAUSE POWER
OUTAGES. STOCK UP ON NEEDED ITEMS FOR YOUR HOUSEHOLD AND NON-
A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW MEANS HEAVY SNOW ACCUMULATION IS ANTICIPATED…AND THAT SNOWFALL RATES OF ONE INCH PER HOUR OR GREATER CAN BE EXPECTED AT TIMES. EXPECT SNOW COVERED ROADS AND VERY LOW VISIBILITIES. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL…EXERCISE EXTREME CAUTION AND ALLOW EXTRA TIME TO REACH YOUR DESTINATION.
Take a look at the February photo, which was submitted to us by a News-Herald reader. If you think you know where she was when she took the picture of the abandoned, snow-covered car, send us your answer. The location will be announced next month and a winner will be drawn from all the correct answers. Whoever is drawn will win a free one-year subscription to the Cook County News-Herald (a $30 value). Good luck!Our January WHERE ARE WE? photo was taken from the dock in Chicago Bay in Hovland. Several people responded that the collapsed fish house in the picture once belonged to Helmer Aakvik. Drawn from all the correct entries was David Stemp of Chatfield, MN and Hovland. Congratulations to David, he wins a one-year subscription! Answer to the February WHERE ARE WE? must be received by March 10, 2014.
This has been a tough winter for those of us who like to get outdoors. I have always claimed that my rule for participation in winter activities—whether it’s snowshoeing, ice fishing, snowmobiling, or just going for a walk—is that it must be 10 degrees above zero. I have broken that rule a multitude of times this year.
If I waited for a day with temperatures of 10 degrees above zero this winter, I would never do anything fun. So I have been out and about in the bitter cold on a number of occasions, most recently as a snowmobiler in the 11th annual Snowarama for Easter Seals.
My husband Chuck and I bundled up and headed out on the fabulous Grand Portage trails with about 120 other riders. I say about 120 riders because I’m not sure how many riders took the same trail as us.
We were among the riders who braved the long route to Windigo Lodge, Trail Center or Hungry Jack Lodge and back to Grand Portage Lodge, while others took a shorter route. The shorter route took riders up the beautiful ridgeline overlooking Grand Portage and included a stop at Grand Portage Trail Center for a bonfire and S’mores.
Chuck and I decided to make the long trek. I chose not to ask what the temperature was. I was determined to enjoy the day, no matter how cold it was. We were rewarded with trails as smooth as butter, letting us sail up and down the hills and around corners at exhilarating rollercoaster speeds.
It warmed up a little bit as the day wore on and a light snow fell, decorating the trees that overhang the trail. We were disappointed not to see any moose on this
ride, but we saw plenty of tracks, caught a glimpse of a couple of deer and spotted a very healthy-looking fox on Poplar Lake.
During the 116-mile ride, I had some time to do some thinking. The beautiful scenery and the lull of the engine are soothing. I sing songs or compose poetry in my mind while cruising along. I toy around with ideas for News-Herald features or Unorganized Territory columns. I think of fun activities for my Girl Scout troop or projects for my grandkids. Of course I can’t write anything down, so I seldom remember these wonderful ideas later. But I greatly enjoy the thinking time on the trail. It’s almost a motorized meditation.
But I do remember one thought from this most recent ride and that is how proud I am of the people who take part in Snowarama—and all the other charity rides and events that take place every year throughout our region— despite the challenges of winter weather.
As we rode along, I recalled that for three years, Chuck took part in the three-day ALS Association of Minnesota Blackwoods Blizzard “Never Surrender” Tour, which raises money to fight Lou Gehrig’s disease. Several other local snowmobilers took part in the Blizzard Tour for seven years, riding from Cloquet to Ely to Two Harbors and back to Cloquet. Although there were no Cook County riders on the ride this year, in the past Cook County riders raised thousands and thousands of dollars to assist those stricken with ALS. The 2014 Blizzard Tour raised $710,000.
On our Snowarama ride, I thought about my editor friend Lynn from the Twin Cities who was riding that same frigid weekend in the annual Mud Dog Ride for Rein in Sarcoma. She rode from her home in the Twin Cities to the Shooting Star Casino & Hotel in Mahnomen, Minnesota, using the ride as a platform to raise money to fight the rare and deadly cancer. The Mud Dog Ride has raised over $25,000 to fight sarcoma since it began in 2011 in memory of outdoor writer Eric Skogman.
And of course, on the Snowarama ride, I thought about the money raised for Easter Seals kids, to help children and young adults with disabilities live more independent lives. This year Snowarama riders raised $36,000 to bring the 11-year total raised in Grand Portage to $292,750.
There are many other groups and organizations that also go the extra mile to help others—the Polar Plunge to benefit the Special Olympics, for instance. Several brave local participants will be taking the plunge shortly after this issue goes to press. Mush for a Cure is another amazing event, coming up soon on the Gunflint Trail, which raises thousands of dollars to fight breast cancer.
I could go on and on, but you get the idea. We are hardy, generous souls in Minnesota no matter the weather. I’m proud to be one of you. Stay warm and ride on!
A candle loses nothing by
lighting another candle.
Father James Keller
We certainly do have the snow here, with more on the way. The Baumann family at Golden Eagle Lodge measured 18.5 inches of snow received since February 12th. We have a forecast of another big snowfall coming Thursday.
The groomers have been out on the trails almost every day, trying to keep up with the fresh snowfalls. It’s a challenge. Three groomers go out on our 70+ K of trails after each snowfall, and it takes the better part of day to complete grooming the entire system — longer if the snow is deep and soft, as it was on Tuesday. When they finally finish grooming every trail, nobody gets too enthused about a forecast for fresh snow.
Reports are that trails have been a tad slow which is to be expected after fresh snowfall, but with warming temperatures in the forecast, we predict some faster conditions in the upcoming days. Weatherwise, this is the warmest week we’ve had all month. Blue skies, fresh snow, and warmer temps = the perfect winter days.
We’re very busy this week, but the last week in February offers a few nice openings in cabins and lodges. We have availability for dinner on both Wednesday and Saturday nights, as well as openings for dog sled trips. It would be a wonderful week to take advantage of winter adventure package.
The bitter temps and short days of January left me feeling a little more closed in this year than in the past.
Today was a sunny beautiful day. Children were sledding, guests were skiing snowmobiling, and fishing and the phone has been ringing off the hook. Perhaps I’m not alone in my feeling of cabin fever! – I had a mind to hang a note on the door and head out for a snowshoe workout
We’ve had such great snowfall recently, nearly 10 inches since Friday. Today was a nice break, but tomorrow’s promise is for 4-8 more inches. The snowbanks are higher than I’ve seen in a long time.
The 2013 Mush for a Cure “fun”d-raiser is just around the corner. The event has changed a bit this year – with the start and end all happening out front on the lake! Starting with a pancake breakfast fundraiser sponsored by Upper Lakes Foods, you can watch the Mushers set up on the lake, start the race and wait for the results.
If you’re in the area or just want to drive up to watch the fun it’s a crazy pink day!!
Tons of new snow. It’s a beautiful world out there. The forecast for the upcoming week is fantastic (that is after we get another big dump of snow on Monday), with temperatures predicted to be remarkably mild.
It almost doesn’t matter where you live, you’ve probably spent your winter so far shoveling snow. Come up to Bearskin and we’ll take care of the shoveling and plowing for you — all you have to do is be here to enjoy our winter.