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Updated: 3 hours 19 min ago

Fall Colors are Here

Mon, 09/22/2014 - 7:06pm

Fall Colors

It’s beginning to look more like fall every day.  Today was a gorgeous day with brilliant sunshine and the temperature up in the 70′s on the Gunflint Trail. The forecast calls for more temperatures in the 70′s for the rest of the week. I wish I were out camping in the BWCA but at least I’ve been able to get out and do a little hiking.

Today a friend and I hiked the Devil’s Kettle Trail in Judge C. Magney State Park. It’s a short one mile hike along the Brule River to a beautiful waterfall.  Half of the river spills into a pool below the falls and where the other half goes nobody knows. Read the story below to learn more about it.

Minnesota State Parks
Judge. C. Magney’s Devil’s Kettle


If you’ve ever worried that we’ve solved all the mysteries of nature, fear not. Minnesota’s Devil’s Kettle Falls has been puzzling hikers and geologists for generations. At the falls, along Lake Superior’s north shore, a river forks at a rock outcropping. While one side tumbles down a two-step stone embankment and continues on like a normal waterfall, the other side vanishes into a deep hole and disappears — apparently forever.

  A few miles south of the U.S.-Canadian border, the Brule River flows through Minnesota’s Judge C. R. Magney State Park, where it drops 800 feet in an 8-mile span, creating several waterfalls. A mile and a half north of the shore of Lake Superior, a thick knuckle of rhyolite rock juts out, dividing the river dramatically at the crest of the falls. To the east, a traditional waterfall carves a downward path, but to the west, a geological conundrum awaits visitors. A giant pothole, the Devil’s Kettle, swallows half of the Brule and no one has any idea where it goes. The consensus is that there must be an exit point somewhere beneath Lake Superior, but over the years, researchers and the curious have poured dye, pingpong balls, even logs into the kettle, then watched the lake for any sign of them. So far, none has ever been found.   And this baffling situation only gets weirder when geologists start explaining Devil’s Kettle. Consider, for instance, the sheer quantity of water pouring into the kettle every minute of every day. While the notion of some kind of broad, underground river is an exciting device in movies, the reality is that those sorts of deep caves are rare, and only form in soft rock types like limestone. Northern Minnesota, as geologists will tell you, is built of stronger stuff.   In harder rocks like the local rhyolite and basalts, tectonic action can sometimes crush underground rock layers, creating a much more permeable environment for water. Unfortunately, there’s no evidence of a fault line in the area, and even if there were, it’s unlikely that the kettle could continue draining the Brule indefinitely. Storms and erosion send debris, sometimes as large as boulders and trees, over the falls and into the kettle — if the drainage route was, in effect, an underground gravel bed, at some point it would clog.   Another idea is that millions of years ago, a hollow lava tube may have formed beneath the falls, in the subsurface layer of basalt. Over time, the theory posits, the falling water eroded the rhyolite surface and punched straight down into the ancient lava tube, providing wide open access to the floor of Lake Superior. Again, there are problems with this theory, primarily that the local basalt is a type known as flood basalt, which spreads out as a flat sheet when ancient lava bubbled up from fissures in the ground. Lava tubes form in basalt flowing down the slopes of volcanoes, and even if the geology in northern Minnesota had somehow created an exception to that rule, no lava tubes have ever been found in any of the hundreds of exposed basalt beds in the area.   So where does the water go? So far, nobody knows — but not for lack of trying. Scientists and hikers will keep tossing things into the Devil’s Kettle and watching Lake Superior for any sign of their trinkets, but maybe there are other explanations. If you happen to be traveling, say, somewhere in Eurasia and stumble across a geyser that’s surrounded by pingpong balls, logs, and even a car that locals are reported to have pushed in one night years ago, you might want to call a geologist in Minnesota. You may just have solved the mystery of Devil’s Kettle Falls.
Read more:

Devil’s Kettle Minnesota


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Hiking up the Devil’s Track River

Sun, 09/21/2014 - 8:32pm

Today Josh, his friend and I went for a hike to see how far up the Devil’s Track River we could get. It’s something people around here do year around but I had never done it. In the winter people cross-country ski it but this time of the year when the river isn’t frozen you get your feet wet.

The Devil’s Track River formed a canyon so in some spots there are steep cliffs on both sides of the river. There’s no way to climb up the cliffs so you must wade through the water back and forth across the river to find land suitable to walk on.  In some places there are trees piled high from a spring flood a few years ago.  A scramble up and over the trees and once again you’re on your way.

We turned around before we reached any magnificent waterfall but it wasn’t about the destination as much as it was the journey. It was a glorious fall day and the sun was shining brightly. The water was a bit chilly but the the laughter of the boys warmed my heart.

Exploring Minnesota’s North Shore

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Mighty Lake Superior

Sat, 09/20/2014 - 8:38pm

Someone shared this neat graphic and information with me so I thought I would share it with all of you.

great lake superior

Lake Superior contains ten percent of all the fresh water on the planet Earth.
It covers 82,000 square kilometers or 31,700 square miles.

The average depth is 147 meters or 483 feet.

There have been about 350 shipwrecks recorded in Lake Superior

Lake Superior is, by surface area, the largest lake in the world.

A Jesuit priest in 1668 named it Lac Trac, but that name was never officially adopted.

It contains as much water as all the other Great Lakes combined, plus three extra Lake Erie ‘s!!

There is a small outflow from the lake at St. Mary’s River (Sault Ste Marie) into Lake Huron , but it takes almost two centuries for the water to be completely replaced.

There is enough water in Lake Superior to cover all of North and South America with water one foot deep.

Lake Superior was formed during the last glacial retreat, making it one of the earth’s youngest major features at only about 10,000 years old.

The deepest point in the lake is 405 meters or 1,333 feet.

There are 78 different species of fish that call the big lake home.

The maximum wave ever recorded on Lake Superior was 9.45 meters or 31 feet high.

If you stretched the shoreline of Lake Superior out to a straight line, it would be long enough to reach from Duluth to the Bahamas .

Over 300 streams and rivers empty into Lake Superior with the largest source being the Nipigon River

The average underwater visibility of Lake Superior is about 8 metersor 27 feet, making it the cleanest and clearest of the Great Lakes . Underwater visibility in some spots reaches 30 meters.

In the summer, the sun sets more than 35 minutes later on the western shore of Lake Superior than at its southeastern edge.

Some of the world’s oldest rocks, formed about 2.7 billion
years ago, can be found on the Ontario shore of Lake Superior

It very rarely freezes over completely, and then usually just for a few hours. Complete freezing occurred in 1962, 1979, 2003, 2009 and 2014.

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Still Paddling

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 10:08pm

People are still paddling the Boundary Waters even though it may seem too late in the season for some folks. We had a couple of groups come off of the water today who reported good fishing and wildlife viewing.

We have a few groups in the bunkhouse tonight who will begin their canoe trips tomorrow.  While the weather was somewhat rainy today and there’s a chance of rain tomorrow the extended forecast looks beautiful.

The sun is in the forecast for Monday and Tuesday and the temperature is supposed to be in the high 60′s. It looks like a great time to take a camping trip. If you can get out for a quick trip then go for it, I’m looking at my schedule to see how I can manage a quick trip myself.

Happy Paddling!

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Voyageur’s Garage Sale Goodies

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 9:51am

We have been going through our equipment and cleaning out cubbies to bring our garage sale visitors the best selection of goodies to gander at. This Saturday and Sunday many of the businesses and homeowners on the Gunflint Trail are participating in the Gunflint Garage Sale event. We want to see you all of the way at the end of the Gunflint Trail so we’re offering some great items for sale.

We have life vests, packs, tents, therm-a-rest pads and canoes for sale along with other items from our store.  Items are available on a first come first served basis and will not be held. If we have canoes or other gear left that we want to sell after the weekend then we’ll let you know. We’ll be open on Saturday and Sunday from 8am-4pm so come on up for a visit.

Feature Item…

Equipment for two!  $1200- you get to keep the equipment!

Description – The Complete Outfitting Package is everything you need for your next Boundary Waters trip except for clothes, personal items, toiletries, and permit/park fees. This package is designed to equip those looking to experience a full-blown canoe trip into the BWCA. The package includes:

  • We-no-nah Spirit II Royalex Canoe ‘09
  • Two We-no-nah paddles
  • Two NRS life vests with pockets
  • Granite Gear Traditional Portage # 4 pack
  • Granite Gear Traditional Portage # 3 pack
  • Granite Gear Traditional Food pack
  • Eureka TL4 Outfitter Edition tent
  • Two sleeping bags
  • Two self-inflating Thermarests
  • Single burner camp stove (first propane tank included)
  • Bear rope
  • Utility cord
  • Ground cloth for tent
  • 12’ by 12’ weather tarp
  • Folding camp saw
  • Small shovel
  • Cook kit (pots stack inside each other, lids double as fry pans)
  • Mess kit (plates, cups, knives, forks, spoons, filet knife, pot holder)


 We-no-nah Seneca Kevlar Canoe ’08


Description – For three-person paddling adventures, few canoes perform like the Seneca. Whether reeling in eight-pounders or power paddling to the next lake, the Seneca’s great initial stability and efficiency turn you into a harmonious paddling team. The Seneca is a big canoe with enough freeboard to keep gear and equipment dry. Designed for family and general use, the center seat is removable if you are looking to comfortably fit two large people with a lot of gear.


We-no-nah Seneca Kevlar Canoe ‘13


Description – For three-person paddling adventures, few canoes perform like the Seneca. Whether reeling in eight-pounders or power paddling to the next lake, the Seneca’s great initial stability and efficiency turn you into a harmonious paddling team. The Seneca is a big canoe with enough freeboard to keep gear and equipment dry. Designed for family and general use, the center seat is removable if you are looking to comfortably fit two large people with a lot of gear.


We-no-nah Boundary Waters Kevlar Canoe ‘13


Description – The Boundary Waters offers a unique blend of excellent stability and easy paddling. Extra fullness throughout the middle gives this canoe extra capacity. The bow and stern height are kept low to catch less wind. Curved webbed seats keep you in the center, yet offer flexible seating.


We-no-nah MN II Kevlar Canoe ‘13


Description – The MN II is the most efficient, straight-tracking, tandem tripping canoe ever made. They are fast and seaworthy even when loaded with heavy gear, yet they are fun to paddle lightly loaded just for the thrill of it. This boat revolutionized both portaging and long-distance paddling and opened places like the Boundary Waters to many.


We-no-nah Prism Kevlar Canoe ‘12

$1100 (includes detachable portage yoke)

Description – One of the most popular solo canoes, incredibly versatile, it will take you comfortably over all kinds of waters. Blending efficiently, stability, capacity, and finesse, it is ideal for cruising with a light load, but also has the volume needed for medium-length trips.


 We-no-nah Kevlar Canak  ‘12

$1650 (includes detachable portage yoke and compartment sip over covers)

Description – The Canak is great for solo lake camping when the capacity and portability of a canoe is needed, and the touring ability of a kayak is desired. The one of a kind bow and stern storage compartments are spacious and more accessible than standard kayak hatches for easy loading and unloading of canoe camping sized packs. The slip over covers (included) provide a dry ride no matter the weather conditions. The floor mounted sliding seat and adjustable kayak style foot braces make this boat as comfortable as any kayak.


We-no-nah Spirit II Royalex Canoe ‘10


Description – Royalex canoes are incredibly tough. This makes them the ideal choice for sportsman, whitewater paddlers, families and kids, or anyone in the market for a durable canoe. Roomy enough for Boundary Waters style trips, the Royalex is even more stable when fully loaded. If you could have only one canoe to serve all your needs, for the rest of your life, the Spirit II is one of few candidates.


We-no-nah Spirit II Royalex Canoe ‘12


Description – Royalex canoes are incredibly tough. This makes them the ideal choice for sportsman, whitewater paddlers, families and kids, or anyone in the market for a durable canoe. Roomy enough for Boundary Waters style trips, the Royalex is even more stable when fully loaded. If you could have only one canoe to serve all your needs, for the rest of your life, the Spirit II is one of few candidates.


Alumacraft Quetico Canoe ‘91


Description – The Alumacraft is your classic canoe.  It hauls heavy loads with ease while dealing with wind and waves easily. The durability of this canoe along with stability makes the Alumacraft an excellent choice.


Alumacraft Quetico Canoe ‘02


Description – The Alumacraft is your classic canoe.  Always reliable, it hauls heavy loads with ease while dealing with wind and waves easily. The durability of this canoe along with stability makes the Alumacraft an excellent choice for paddlers.


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Coming Soon to a Forest Near You

Wed, 09/17/2014 - 3:18pm

The trees are starting to show their true colors along the Gunflint Trail. There are some leaves turning yellow, orange and red but it will be awhile before the colors are peak.  To find out when we’ll have peak colors on the North Shore read the press release below from the Minnesota DNR.

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                    Sept. 8, 2014

DNR’s fall color finder will help travelers with trip planning

Minnesota state park and trail visitors will soon be seeing red and orange and yellow and countless other shades of autumn as the leaves and prairies grasses put on their annual show.

To help travelers plan their fall hikes, bike rides, paddling trips and scenic drives to coincide as closely as possible with peak color, staff at Minnesota state parks and recreation areas will update an online fall color finder at every Thursday, starting Sept. 4. This online trip-planning tool includes a map showing where to find peak color across the state, a link to fall color programs and special events, a slideshow and a photo uploader that provides an easy way for people to share their favorite fall color images.

“We’re anticipating a beautiful fall color display,” said Patricia Arndt, communications and outreach manager for the Department of Natural Resources Parks and Trails Division. “It will move across the state quickly, though, so we encourage everyone to get out and enjoy it while it lasts. The fall color finder can help people locate a park or trail to visit or a naturalist program that the whole family can enjoy.”

Family-oriented fall color programs are also listed in a free “Feel the Wow of Fall” brochure available at Minnesota state parks and recreation areas, at Twin Cities libraries and at metro area outdoor retail stores. The DNR Information Center will also mail the brochure to anyone who requests it.

Colors typically peak between mid-September and early October in the northern third of Minnesota, between late September and early October in the central third, and between late September and mid-October in the southern third (which includes the Twin Cities). Peak fall color typically lasts about two weeks, but that can vary widely, depending on location, elevation and weather. Trees at higher elevations are the earliest to show color change.

For smartphone and tablet users, the DNR offers fall colors “to go” on a mobile fall color finder that is integrated with Google maps. To access the mobile version, scan the QR code at or visit and bookmark the site.

For more information, visit the online calendar at
or call the DNR Information Center at 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

A vehicle permit is required for entrance to Minnesota state parks and recreation areas. Anyone who purchases a one-day permit ($5) can exchange it for $5 off a year-round permit later the same day. Year-round permits, $25, provide unlimited access to all 75 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas for a full year from the month of purchase.


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Wildlife Coming out of the Woods

Tue, 09/16/2014 - 10:59pm

When the two legged creature visits to the Gunflint Trail slow down the four legged creatures appear more frequently. Numerous sightings of wolves, bear, bald eagles, fox, grouse and more have been reported and yesterday I saw our moose back on the road. Fall is a great time to visit the Gunflint Trail, come see for yourself.

Moose on the Gunflint Trail

Gunflint Trail moose


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Garage Sale on the Gunflint Trail

Mon, 09/15/2014 - 1:55pm

This weekend is the annual Gunflint Trail Garage Sale. On Saturday and Sunday, September 2oth and 21st you’ll be able to find deals up and down the trail.  Businesses and cabin owners are participating so there will be plenty of places to stop. Participating businesses are Clearwater Lodge & Golden Eagle Lodge(set up at Clearwater), Boundary Country Trekking, Hungry Jack Outfitters, Trail Center Lodge, Norwester Lodge, Big Bear Lodge, Gunflint Lodge, Gunflint Pines and VOYAGEUR CANOE OUTFITTERS!

If you stop in and get your map stamped at every business and bring it to Trail Center on your way back to town you’ll get a prize. If you come all of the way to the end of the Gunflint Trail and visit us at Voyageur then you’ll have the opportunity to purchase some camping gear for a great prices.  We’ll have canoes for sale including a Minnesota II Kevlar, a Seneca, a Royalex and more.  We’ll also have paddles, packs, thermarest pads and tents for sale along with some great deals on gift store items including clothing.

We hope you will come see us on Saturday or Sunday from 8am-4pm. If you’re interested in purchasing a canoe and can’t make it up then feel free to give us a call on Monday or sign up for our email newsletter so you’ll know when we have more for sale.

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Are You Ready for some Football?

Sun, 09/14/2014 - 7:56pm

It’s that time of the year and football season is here. Mike is helping coach the Cook County Varsity Football team for the second season this year. Last Friday night his team played in Duluth, then we drove up to Thunder Bay to watch our son Josh play a game on Saturday and today he took Abby and a friend to watch the Minnesota Vikings play. Tomorrow Josh has another game in Silver Bay, Minnesota as does the Junior Varsity football team so Mike will have had 4 days in a row of travel and football.  I sure hope he was ready for football!

It’s also volleyball season for Abby and she has games on both Tuesday and Thursday night of this week. The forecast calls for lots of windshield time this week.

Football season is here


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Adventures in the Wilderness

Sat, 09/13/2014 - 10:56pm

Every once in awhile we have a guest share their Voyageur Experience with us. You can find more stories on our website but I thought I would share one with you here.

Bill and I have just returned back from a terrific trip to the Boundary Waters. It had been years since I had been on a canoe trip, and my husband had hardly even been in a canoe! So, we were very excited for our adventure in the North Woods. Voyageur Outfitters came highly recommended from a friend living in the Twin Cities area. We weren’t disappointed! Due to our lack of experience, we opted to stay in a cabin for a few days and do day trips; only venturing out into the wilderness the final day for an overnight camp out. From start to finish, the crew exceeded our expectations. All crew members were enthusiastic, informative, and genuinely concerned with our enjoyment and safety. We were given lots of advice on routing, both for our day trips and the overnight. This group truly loves the wilderness and their job! I hope to see all of them again. I hesitate to mention names because they were all outstanding. But, I guess I have to give a special shout-out to the girl! s: Kyra, Abigail, and Hannah. They were the best!

We didn’t see an bears or moose – but the LOONS!!! We were thoroughly captivated by their calls! One evening, we heard them do their dance – unforgettable!

Mike and Sue are running a great operation. We hope to be back next year!

Lindsay & Bill – Atlanta, GA

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Wolves on the Gunflint

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 11:09pm

On Wednesday a guest arrived and told us he had seen a wolf on his way up the Gunflint Trail. Hannah who has worked at Voyageur all summer expressed displeasure that she had been here all summer and still hadn’t seen a wolf.  I told her it was easier to see them in the fall and winter and that we see quite a few of them.

That afternoon she drove down the Gunflint Trail and called me when she got to Grand Marais. “Guess what I saw on the drive to town?” Yep, she saw a wolf. Then on Thursday when I drove to town to watch Abby’s volleyball game guess what I saw on the drive to town? Yep, I saw a wolf. Today on my way up the Trail guess what I saw. Yep, I saw another wolf.

It’s funny how things like that happen. We can go all summer without seeing one and then see one a day. You just never know what you’re going to see on the Gunflint Trail, but if you had to guess…

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Weekend Fun in Grand Marais

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 9:51pm

This weekend in Grand Marais is the Unplugged Festival at the North House Folk School.  If you have never been to it then I suggest checking it out in the future. There are some great bands and fun to be had. This Saturday night Mike and I will be pouring Fulton Beer at the Festival. Fulton was started by three couples, one of which is from Grand Marais, Minnesota.

While pouring beer we have the opportunity to talk about our brewery opening in Grand Marais. The progress of the construction at  Voyageur Brewing Company is incredible.  It’s so exciting to see how much gets done in such a short time.  Next year before you come up the Gunflint Trail for your canoe trip you’ll have to stop in at the Brewery for a Nalgene or stainless steel growler filled with a delicious beer.

Voyageur Brewing Company

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Winter in September

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 9:14pm

While the other day we experienced summer in September today we had winter. Rumors circulated about the sighting of snow falling around the mid-trail region but we didn’t see any flakes at Voyageur. It was chilly with a high temperature of just 43 degrees and very windy. The main wind speed was between 9-13 miles per hour and gusts were in the 20 mile per hour range all day long. We also received over a half of an inch of rain so all in all it wasn’t a great day to be paddling in the Boundary Waters.  The sun did appear just before it was ready to set tonight and Tony’s brother Justin snapped some beautiful photos of it before it disappeared.

The rest of the week looks like it will be nicer with sunshine and less wind. Tonight the first fire of the season is roaring in my fireplace and Rugby couldn’t be happier.


Saganaga Lake Sunset

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Heading South or North

Tue, 09/09/2014 - 7:40pm

A sure sign of fall is when the flocks of geese fly over the Boundary Waters with bills pointed south. Today there were a couple of very large flocks of geese all heading south. Their timing coincides with the departure of the Quetico Park Ranger.

The difference between the geese and Janice the Cache Bay Ranger is she heads north when the weather gets cold.  What does that mean for people wanting to visit the Quetico Park?  People are welcome to visit the Quetico when the Ranger is no longer there but camping fees are purchased on a self-service basis.

Permits to enter the Quetico Park are no longer needed after the Ranger Station closes but overnight camping fees must still be paid.  Payment is by cash only that is deposited into a collection container.  Checks aren’t allowed because by the time payment is retrieved the date is old and the bank won’t accept them.

The good news is the price of the overnight camping fee goes down a little bit.  The rate is $16.50 per adult per night and youth is $6.50 per night and the rates are at par. If you have questions then you can call the Quetico Park directly at 807-597-5019.

Safe travels to all those migrating south or north.

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