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Wonderful Weather for a Boundary Waters Trip

Mon, 07/21/2014 - 6:58am

Is sunshine and 70 degree temperatures the ideal weather to have for a Boundary Waters canoe trip? I was pondering this question as I slugged across a water swollen portage in a downpour on my last BWCA canoe trip.

It is wonderful to be at a Boundary Waters campsite relaxing on a rock underneath a sun-filled sky. Paddling a wilderness lake as the sunlight reflects off of the water’s surface is also a beautiful thing. But are there disadvantages to having perfectly warm, dry weather on a wilderness canoe trip? I determined there to be some benefits of experiencing not so wonderful weather during a BWCA trip.

  • Portages without mud puddles are boring. It’s much more exciting to not know what your foot will encounter when sloshing into the water.
  • Portages are just portages and not waterfalls if there hasn’t been any rain.
  • When it’s windy and raining there are no bugs to bother you.
  • Watching rain come from across the lake in sheets looks really cool.
  • Hearing thunder in the distance can make for good conversation as to what exactly the noise was.
  • Rain keeps your body cool and clean.
  • It gives you something to talk about during the day.

And of course, “bad” weather on your canoe trip makes you appreciate the wonderful weather even more.

Boundary Waters Canoe Trip

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Best Time to Paddle the Boundary Waters

Sun, 07/20/2014 - 6:11am

I’ve always said, “Any time you can paddle the Boundary Waters is the best time to paddle the Boundary Waters.” Taking that into consideration the next thing to consider is what you want to experience while you are in the Boundary Waters or what you don’t want to experience while there. Knowing what you want out of a canoe camping trip in the BWCA will help you determine the best time to visit.

Many people come to the Boundary Waters to experience the solitude of the wilderness.  While route choice plays a big part in getting away from people the time of the paddling season makes a big difference too.  I was out paddling last week and I began to wonder if there had been an atomic bomb that went off somewhere because there were so few people out there.

If the main goal of your canoe trip is to not see many people then paddling the Boundary Waters around the 4th of July is a great time. We were towed out past American Point and we didn’t see anyone camping anywhere. We portaged into Ottertrack and didn’t meet anyone on Monument Portage which rarely happens. We saw a couple of canoes on Ester Lake and one group camped there but no groups camped on Hansen Lake or Ottertrack.  For 4 days we had so few encounters with other people we felt like it was the middle of October.

Every year we see a dip in visitors around the 4th of July.  People have picnics, parades, family reunions and fireworks to attend on the 4th of July and they don’t want to miss out on the annual festivities.  That leaves the Boundary Waters empty for people who are willing to give up their sparklers for twinkling stars in the night sky. Of course May, September and October are also great times to paddle if you’re looking to get away from people, but in July you have water warm enough for swimming too.

I love camping in the BWCA when I don’t see other groups so I was super happy to be paddling a week after the 4th of July and see so few people.  While it may not be great for business it’s super for folks who are able to paddle during that time.

Quiet time in the BWCA


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Loon Chicks are Hatching in the BWCA

Sat, 07/19/2014 - 6:59am

We usually start seeing baby loons around the 4th of July in the BWCA. This year it was a little bit later but now that we started seeing them guests have reported seeing them everywhere in the Boundary Waters and Quetico Park.

The tiny balls of fluff ride around on the adult loon’s back after they are first born. It’s a real treat to see one tucked beneath the wing of a loon. The chicks are sometimes so well hidden you would never guess there was one there. Once the chick gets a little bit bigger it will start swimming on its own. It’s fun to be able to watch from a distance as an adult loon attempts to feed the chick. I’ve watched as a loon placed some food directly into the mouth of the chick and then progressed to placing the food directly in front of the chick on the surface of the water and by day’s end the adult was placing it just below the surface so the chick had to get it’s face wet.  The chick learns quickly how to fish for itself.

Loons are beautiful creatures and even more so when there’s a chick on their back.

Loon chicks in the Boundary Waters

Loons hatching in the BWCA



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Blue Bears

Fri, 07/18/2014 - 6:28am

It’s not a new species of bear but the bears are blue because they are sad. The blueberry crop has not ripened yet and the bears are hungry.  One very skinny bear has been checking out the garbages at Voyageur on a regular basis.   Rugby(guard dog extraordinaire) has done a good job at keeping the bear on his toes but I feel badly the blueberries aren’t ripe yet.

Blueberry harvesters in the area also feel badly the berries aren’t quite ready. In most recent years the crop has been ready by this time of the summer but due to the late spring it will be a couple of weeks before they are ripe. Hopefully the blueberry pickers can resist the temptation to enter the picking areas until it’s time to pick otherwise the plants will get damaged and we’ll have fewer blueberries making people and bears bluer.

There are some delicious tasting wild strawberries around for people who are ready to pick. There are even a few ripe raspberries and what looks like a good Thimble Berry crop in the making. Let’s hope the recent sunshine will speed up the ripening process so our bears will no longer be blue.

Interesting bear facts from Hiking in Bear Country-

Sides explains that a bear’s teeth can be very sharp, indicating that the bear eats meat. The back teeth are flat, telling of diet of plant material.

Seventy-five percent of a black bear’s diet consists of plant material. The rest is made up of berries, fish, or maybe a fawn in the spring. Each chomp is important for researchers. Teeth marks can reveal a bear’s age, sex, and even how many times it has given birth.

Bears venture out around 100 miles for food. Some even travel 40 miles just for an acorn. For them, it’s worth it. Storing food for the winter is a number-one goal. A hibernating bear can burn 3,000 – 4,000 calories a day in the winter.

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Voyageur Brewing Company

Thu, 07/17/2014 - 6:57am

Have you heard the exciting news? Mike and I are part of a new craft brewery coming to Grand Marais, Minnesota. Two other couples are involved in this exciting adventure so we’ll still be able to take care of all of our guests at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters while brewing some great beer.

Voyageur Brewing Company is located on Highway 61 right across the street from the Lake Superior harbor and Java Moose coffee shop. Ground was broken last week for the Tap Room that will have light appetizers and of course, beer! We’ll have growlers that you can fill with our beer to bring into the Boundary Waters and then re-fill when you’re on your way home.  We also plan to bottle our beer so you can find your favorite in a local liquor store.

We’ve started a blog and we’re on Facebook so you can follow along with our progress.  We’ll be asking for input along the way so be sure to “like” our page and check it out often.  We plan to be brewing beer before the end of the year and we’ll be looking forward to having you visit the Voyageur Brewing Company in Grand Marais, Minnesota.

Grand Marais Brewing Company

Voyageur Brewery in Grand Marais, Minnesota

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How Bad are the Bugs in the Boundary Waters?

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 6:57am

The great thing about the bugs found in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota is none of them are likely to kill you with a single bite. If you have an allergy to bees or some other unusual condition then there is a slight possibility of death but for the most part the bugs in the Boundary Waters just “bug” you. This along with the fact we do not have poisonous snakes makes me quite comfortable while canoe camping in the BWCA even if there are insects buzzing around.

I just spent a few nights in the Boundary Waters and was pleasantly surprised with the current bug population(or lack there of it).  The way the mosquitoes have been around Voyageur this year made me think I would be lifted away by mosquitoes out on the trail but they were not bad except right at dusk.  They appeared for about an hour in the morning at dawn and another hour at night and that was about it.  The portages(even though they were very wet) were relatively mosquito free and I had no reason to wear a head net.

The blueberry pollinator(Black Fly) population has also dwindled down to almost nothing.  They are usually gone by the first part of July but I thought with the delayed summer we might have them around a little longer this year. Black flies tend to like some people more than others and luckily they don’t like me very much or I don’t react to their saliva like some folks do. These are the small but stout flies that like to swarm around your head and bite you around the neck, behind the ears and on the scalp. Kids or people experiencing black flies for the first time will often bleed or swell up and may even get a fever but for the most part they just annoy you. Unlike other flies they can’t bite through clothing so if you wear long sleeves and long pants then they won’t be able to bite you.

The benefit of rain and wind when you’re out paddling the BWCA is the biting fly(barn fly, stable fly, dog fly) isn’t around to suck your blood.  These flies are the ones that land and bite quickly and their bite usually hurts. When you try to slap at them they are long gone but return just as quickly as they departed to bite you again. These biting flies are persistent and don’t seem to mind bug spray, even those with Deet.  To protect yourself against them you can wear pants or stay inside as they aren’t normally found indoors.  Early morning and late afternoon are peak times as well as during warm periods following rainfall. Catnip oil has been said to help prevent bites and is worth a try if these flies are out in full force.

I’ve been to places where the bugs are way worse than I’ve ever experienced them in the Boundary Waters. When you’re outside in the summertime there are most likely going to be bugs outside with you.  You can protect yourself with clothing, repellent or just staying inside during certain times of the day. And if you just can’t be inside and aren’t prepared for bugs the good news is when you’re in the Boundary Waters they might bite you but they probably aren’t going to kill you.



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Boundary Waters Unique Mouse

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 9:34am

My first thought was, “Is that a kangaroo rat or what?” Then I thought, “We don’t have kangaroo rats in Minnesota, they live in a desert.” Of the 5 of us camping in the Boundary Waters none of us could identify the mouse that was hopping around our campfire late one evening.  None of us had ever seen such a mouse and none of us was particularly fond of seeing one at that particular time.

The thing about normal mice is they seemingly come out of nowhere to startle a person with their appearance and quick movements. The mouse we were seeing had movements that were unexpected and unpredictable. Rather than running along the ground in a somewhat expected pattern the mouse we were watching leaped and bounded from one place to the next. This made the mouse seem even more threatening to the 5 BWCA campers.

We all vowed to check the internet when we got home so we could determine what kind of mouse jumped around like a kangaroo.   According to my research the woodland jumping mouse is found in Northeastern Minnesota and this must have been the visitor to our Boundary Waters campsite.

from the DNR…  Jumping Mice

Two species of jumping mice live in Minnesota: the meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius) and the less common woodland jumping mouse (Napaeozapus insignis). The meadow jumping mouse ranges throughout Minnesota. The woodland jumping mouse stays in the woods of northeastern Minnesota.

With their long hind feet and the longest tail of any Minnesota mouse, they can jump more than three feet to avoid danger. They are also good swimmers and divers. But the main way they avoid predators is by standing very still.

BWCA woodland jumping mouse


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Gunflint Trail Canoe Races

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 8:53pm

It’s that time of the year and the Gunflint Trail Canoe Races are here again.  This Wednesday evening folks will gather at Gunflint Lake to raise funds for the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department.  There will be food, raffle prizes and of course the annual canoe races.  Come support the GTVFD, cheer for the Voyageur Crew and have a great time at the Gunflint Trail Canoe Races.

Gunflint Trail Canoe Races – A Northwoods evening of family fun!
Wednesday, July 16, 2014 4:00 pm – 7:30 pm

Gunflint Lodge Waterfront
143 S. Gunflint Lake
Grand Marais, MN 55604
This is a fundraiser for the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department.

All proceeds go to the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department
The event times are as follows:
4:00 pm-7:30 pm Silent Auction
4:00 pm Kids Fun events begin
4:30 pm Food service begins
6:00 pm Canoe Races begin with the long distance race followed by many age and gender races with gunnel pumping as the finale.
Race registration is at the waterfront.
6:00 pm General Raffle

The Canoe Races are sponsored by the Gunflint-Seagull-Saganaga Property Owners Associations and Chris Steele of Seagull Lake is the 2014 chair. Proceeds from this top summer Trail event go to the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department which provides fire, emergency and rescue services to keep residents and visitors safe. The deparmnet is completing a long term program that has upgraded facilities at all three stations along the Trail and welcomes funds to maintain these buildings and equipment.

For more information contact:
Julie Henricksson, the Gunflint Trail Canoe Races Committee at 218-388-2246.

Categories: Member Feeds

Get Lost! Or Not

Sun, 07/13/2014 - 6:58am

It won’t be long before two-leggeds start entering the forest in search of blue gems known as blueberries on the Gunflint Trail.  Some times these two legged creatures get so caught up in the berry patches they forget to look up to see where they are, where they came from and where they are going.  Before long a person can get disoriented or find themselves in an area where the brush is too tall to see their surroundings. Panic can set in and before he or she realizes what is happening they trip over a stump and find themselves on the ground with one leg bone sticking one way and another leg bone sticking another way.  Without food, water or a way to communicate this person is what is known as SOL(shit outta luck). Maybe they told someone where they were going, maybe they have a whistle around their neck and maybe someone will come looking for them but then again, maybe not.

My advice to you is to not go blueberry picking on the Gunflint Trail. It’s way too dangerous with the lions, tigers, bears and of course Sasquatch. You are much safer to head to the nearest grocery store and buy a pint of blueberries, they are bigger anyway. Leave the dangerous work to people like me who know how to handle Sasquatch when he approaches and asks for all of your berries.

If you must go blueberry picking then please be careful. Pick with a partner, stick together, know your surroundings and tell others where you are going and when you’ll be back. And if you happen to see Sasquatch, just remember I warned you.

Woman Emerges From Russian Wilderness After Rescuers Lose Hope Justin Meissen / FlickrA woman who was lost in wilderness for nearly a month has found her way out of the forest.

A young woman who was lost in the Far Eastern wilderness for nearly a month has found her way out of the forest, a week after rescuers had given up on finding her, a news report said.

The 28-year-old woman, who was reported missing on June 13 — a day after she had gone into a forest to gather wild plants in the north of Sakhalin Island — re-emerged over the weekend just 3 kilometers away from where she had entered the woods, a spokesperson for the local emergency situations service said, Interfax reported Monday.

The woman told rescuers that she and her companions — one of whom is still missing — had nothing to eat while they were in the forest and survived by drinking water and covering themselves with tree branches for warmth at night, the spokesperson was quoted as saying.

Two men, aged 45 and 72, went into the forest along with woman, the report said. The 45-year-old man, who was spotted by a search helicopter on June 15, told rescuers that the trio had become lost and had an argument about which way to go, leading the younger man to head off in one direction, and the woman and her older companion to head off in another, the report said.

By late June, rescuers had apparently given up on finding the woman and her older companion, ending the ”active phase” of their search, Interfax reported.

When the woman re-emerged from the forest on Saturday, she said that two days earlier her 72-year-old companion had felt too tired to walk, and she continued alone to search for a way out of the forest, the spokesperson told Interfax.

The woman refused hospitalization and accompanied rescuers back into the woods on Sunday to search for the older man, but was unable to locate the spot where she had left him, the report said.

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Why To Use a BWCA Canoe Trip Outfitter

Sat, 07/12/2014 - 6:36am

There are so many reasons to use a BWCA canoe trip outfitter for your wilderness canoe trip. The biggest reason most people are happy for the services of a canoe outfitter is they don’t have to clean the gear when they are done with their canoe trip. At Voyageur Canoe Outfitters our guests just get the gear to our outfitting building and we do all of the unpacking and cleaning of the gear. Of course there are many other reasons to use a Boundary Waters outfitter, especially one with over 20 years of experience like we have.

  • We know the routes and can help you plan a BWCA trip that will be right for your group.
  • We know the portages and can help you find the best ones and avoid the not so good ones.
  • We know the lakes and what their topography and scenery is like so you’ll be in an area you want to be in.
  • We know the BWCA fishing spots and can put you on the right lakes with the right fish to help you have a more successful BWCA fishing trip.
  • We know the Boundary Waters campsites and which ones see less use than others.

All of the knowledge a BWCA canoe trip outfitter has can make the difference between a good wilderness canoe trip and an incredible trip. That along with the fact there aren’t too many folks who enjoy digging out all of their miscellaneous camping gear, packing it up, purchasing new equipment and hauling it up to the BWCA. Even if there are a few people who enjoy packing for a Boundary Waters Canoe trip I would imagine there are very few of them who want to deal with the soggy, dirty gear after their canoe trip. And to those who don’t mind either of those aspects then more power to them and they can still have the convenience of picking up their permit, bait and last minute essentials at Voyageur.


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There’s More to Do than Visit the BWCA

Fri, 07/11/2014 - 6:28am

If you are like most of our guests of Voyageur Canoe Outfitters then the only reason you pause on your way up the Gunflint Trail is to get gas or go to the bathroom in Grand Marais.  Did you know there are some people who come to our area to just visit Grand Marais, Minnesota? You might be surprised to know how many things happen in this small town by the big lake. There are so many activities going on that sometimes I even want to go into town on a weekend in the summer.  Not this weekend though. This weekend I hope to be paddling the Boundary Waters for a few days with a few friends. If you can only make it as far as Grand Marais then check out all of the fun things there are to do this weekend and every weekend by reading the NorthShore ArtScene.
Here’s the scoop from the NorthShore ArtScene by Joan Farnam.

Grand Marais Arts Festival & Lots of Music

by Joan on July 9, 2014

Here’s proof that summer has really arrived in Cook County — the peonies are blooming, and the Grand Marais Arts Festival opens on Saturday, just to mention a few of things to do this busy weekend.

On Friday, Caribou Highlands on Lutsen Mountain will host the Hopped Up Beer Fest on Friday and Saturday. The band, Fresh Hops, will play Friday night.

The Grand Marais Arts Festival will be held in downtown Grand Marais on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with more than 70 regional and local artists juried into the show.

There will be all kinds of activities and demonstrations during the Arts Festival, too. There will be lots of live music in Harbor Park (see music schedule below), a wide variety of art activities, including screen printing a T-shirt, making an accordion book with the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, gyotoku fish printing with Cameron Norman, creating clay characeters with Denise Tennen,  rock balancing with Peter Juhl and having your portrait drawn by David Hahn.

The Arts Festival also includes the Clothesline Art Sale with works donated by artists of every age. The pieces will be installed on real clotheslines in the Art Colony’s booth, and everyone is invited to check them out. The sale is a fundraiser for the Art Colony.

There will also be artist talks and demonstrations throughout the weekend, and art of every medium to admire and enjoy.

And members of the Northwoods Fiber Guild will be demonstrating on the lawn of the Johnson Heritage Post during the Arts Festival on Saturday. WTIP Community Radio will be broadcasting live from the festival, too.

There are a number of other events on the opening day of the Arts Festival, Saturday, as well.  The Cook County Farm & Craft Market will be open in the Senior Center parking lot from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The North Shore Health Care Foundation will sponsor a pie social in the Johnson Heritage Post from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Cook County Historical Society is setting up a tent outside Bally’s Blacksmith Shop from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. The public is invited to come identify mystery artifacts found while cleaning the shop, share stories about the shop and learn about the renovation.

And the Historical Society will hold its annual Planked Trout Dinner fundraiser at the Rec Park’s Recreation Hall that night at 5:30 p.m. For advance tickets, call 387-2883 or email

Singer/songwriter Rachel Kilgore will be in concert at What’s Upstairs? above Betsy Bowen’s Studio at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

And Drury Lane Books will host a Full Moon Music event outside on Saturday night featuring music by Yvonne Mills and Friends at 8 p.m.

There are some wonderful art exhibits in the county, as well.

“Feels Like Home: Jo Wood Beadwork and Don Lessard Paintings” continues at the Johnson Heritage Post. The Heritage Post is open from 10 am. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and 1-4 p.m. Sunday.

Watercolor painter Tim Pearson has an on-going exhibit at the Grand Marais Art Colony‘s Spotlight Gallery. The Art Colony is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

The Cross River Heritage Center  is hosting the 10th annual Lundie Vacation Home Tour at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. The tour features homes in the Hovland area and a light supper at Naniboujou Lodge. The event is a fundraiser for the Schroeder Area Historical Society.For more info, click here.

And the Heritage Center is featuring a number of local artists this month, including work by painter Sandi Pillsbury Gredzens.

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New Moon, Blue Moon, Blue Man, Superman, Supermoons?

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 6:52am

This year there are several Super Moons according to the unscientific type. I probably know more about the Blue Man Group or Blue Moon Beer than I do a Supermoon but I know I will be watching the real moon on July 12th. And with a little luck I’ll be doing it from a Boundary Waters campsite!

Would the Real ‘SuperMoon’ Please Stand Up?

by David Dickinson on July 8, 2014

Want to stay on top of all the space news? Follow @universetoday on Twitter

The perigee Full Moon of June 22nd, 2013. Credit: Russell Bateman (@RussellBateman1)

‘Tis the season once again, when rogue Full Moons nearing perigee seem roam the summer skies to the breathless exhortations of many an astronomical neophyte at will. We know… by now, you’d think that there’d be nothing new under the Sun (or in this case, the Moon) to write about the closest Full Moons of the year.

But love ‘em or hate ‘em, tales of the “Supermoon” will soon be gracing ye ole internet again, with hyperbole that’s usually reserved for comets, meteor showers, and celeb debauchery, all promising the “biggest Full Moon EVER…” just like last year, and the year be for that, and the year before that…

How did this come to be?

What’s happening this summer: First, here’s the lowdown on what’s coming up. The closest Full Moon of 2014 occurs next month on August 10th at 18:11 Universal Time (UT) or 1:44 PM EDT. On that date, the Moon reaches perigee or its closest approach to the Earth at 356,896 kilometres distant at 17:44, less than an hour from Full. Of course, the Moon reaches perigee nearly as close once every anomalistic month (the time from perigee-to-perigee) of 27.55 days and passes Full phase once every synodic period (the period from like phase to phase) with a long term average of 29.53 days.

And the August perigee of the Moon only beats out the January 1st, 2014 perigee out by a scant 25 kilometres for the title of the closest perigee of the year, although the Moon was at New phase on that date, with lots less fanfare and hoopla for that one. Perigee itself can vary from 356,400 to 370,400 kilometres distant.

But there’s more. If you consider a “Supermoon” as a Full Moon falling within 24 hours of perigee, (folks like to play fast and loose with the informal definitions when the Supermoon rolls around, as you’ll see) then we actually have a trio of Supermoons on tap for 2014, with one this week on July 12th and September 9th as well.

What, then, is this lunacy?

Well, as many an informative and helpful commenter from previous years has mentioned, the term Supermoon was actually coined by an astrologer. Yes, I know… the same precession-denialists that gave us such eyebrow raising terms as “occultation,” “trine” and the like. Don’t get us started. The term “Supermoon” is a more modern pop culture creation that first appeared in a 1979 astrology publication, and the name stuck. A more accurate astronomical term for a “Supermoon” is a perigee-syzygy Full Moon or Proxigean Moon, but those just don’t seem to be able to “fill the seats” when it comes to internet hype.

One of the more arcane aspects set forth by the 1979 definition of a Supermoon is its curiously indistinct description as a “Full Moon which occurs with the Moon at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit.” This is a strange demarcation, as it’s pretty vague as to the span of distance (perigee varies, due to the drag of the Sun on the Moon’s orbit in what’s known as the precession of the line of apsides) and time. The Moon and all celestial bodies move faster near perigee than apogee as per Kepler’s 2nd Law of planetary motion.

A photo essay comparing Full Moon sizes and appearance from one Supermoon to the next, spanning 2011-2012. Credit: Marion Haligowski/RadicalRetinscopy. Used with permission.

We very much prefer to think of a Proxigean Moon as defined by a “Full Moon within 24 hours of perigee”. There. Simple. Done.

And let’s not forget, Full phase is but an instant in time when the Moon passes an ecliptic longitude of 180 degrees opposite from the Sun. The Moon actually never reaches 100% illumination due to its 5.1 degree tilt to the ecliptic, as when it does fall exactly opposite to the Sun it also passes into the Earth’s shadow for a total lunar eclipse.

The truth is, the Moon does vary from 356,400 to 406,700 kilometres in its wonderfully complicated orbit about our fair world, and a discerning eye can tell the difference in its size from one lunation to the next. This means the apparent size of the Moon can vary from 29.3’ to 34.1’ — a difference of almost 5’ — from perigee to apogee. And that’s not taking into account the rising “Moon illusion,” which is actually a variation of an optical effect known as the Ponzo Illusion. And besides, the Moon is actually more distant when its on the local horizon than overhead, to the tune of about one Earth radius.

Like its bizarro cousin the “minimoon” and the Blue Moon (not the beer), the Supermoon will probably now forever be part of the informal astronomical lexicon. And just like recent years before 2014, astronomers will soon receive gushing platitudes during next month’s Full Moon from friends/relatives/random people on Twitter about how this was “the biggest Full Moon ever!!!”

Does the summer trio of Full Moons look bigger to you than any other time of year? It will be tough to tell the difference visually over the next three Full Moons. Perhaps a capture of the July, August and September Full Moons might just tease out the very slight difference between the three.

And for those preferring not to buy in to the annual Supermoon hype, the names for the July, August and September Full Moons are the Buck, Sturgeon and Corn Moon, respectively. And of course, the September Full Moon near the Equinox is also popularly known as the Harvest Moon.

And in case you’re wondering, or just looking to mark your calendar for the next annual “largest Full Moon(s) of all time,” here’s our nifty table of Supermoons through 2020, as reckoned by our handy definition of a Full Moon falling within 24 hours of perigee.

So what do you say? Let ‘em come for the hype, and stay for the science. Let’s take back the Supermoon.

Read more:

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Quetico Park & BWCA Fires

Wed, 07/09/2014 - 3:05pm

I can’t remember the last time we had such a wet year and I can’t believe a fire would be able to start with all of the rain we have received. Obviously not all parts of the forest have received as much precipitation as we have on the Eastern edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. A couple of fires have started in the Quetico Provincial Park of Canada and one in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area on Disappointment Lake by Ely.   I do not know what caused the BWCA fire but one of the Quetico Park fires was caused by a campfire left unattended.

As always campers, lets remember to make sure our campfires are dead out!

Disappointment Island Fire

On June 30, 2014, a fire was reported in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) east of Ely on an island in Disappointment Lake (Township 64N Range 8W Section 33—see map). A Forest Service helicopter pilot reported stiff winds had carried a spot fire from the island to the mainland near a designated campsite.  Fire crews were dispatched to the scene. Size was estimated to be one acre on the island and one tenth of an acre on the eastern shore of Disappointment Lake.

According to the US Forest Service, fire managers are using confine and contain suppression tactics on the fire. Crews may use some hand ignition to confine the fire to the island. Fire crews will be in the area. Current conditions are damp but a drying trend is expected within the next few days.

All BWCAW entry points, portages, travel routes, and hiking trails remain open.

Two fires reported

A A A – text size

Tuesday, 8 July 2014 – 2:03pm

From the MNR

Two new fires were reported in the Northwest Region since the evening of July 4.
One was a human-caused fire in Quetico Park in Fort Frances District and one at Sandy Lake First Nation in Red Lake District.

Fort Frances Fire #8, a 1.0-hectare blaze burning on an island at the south end of Quetico Park, currently is being monitored.
It started from a campfire left unattended.
Red Lake Fire #15, meanwhile, is listed as “under control” at 1.5 ha in size.
No problems are expected with this fire.
Sunny breaks, followed by rain and thunderstorms, continue to be the pattern for the Northwest Region—and this is forecast to continue for the rest of the week.
This ongoing rain has provided relief in terms of forest fire hazards but is keeping the risk of flooding high in the Kenora, Fort Frances, and Dryden areas, which have been dealing with high water and flooding concerns for weeks now.
The far northern sectors of the region have seen less rain and the fire situation reflects this, with four lightning-caused blazes in Red Lake District and one in Sioux Lookout District.
Most of these fires are being observed through aerial reconnaissance as they burn to natural boundaries.
For “FireSmart” tips, visit
A link to the Ontario Fire Danger Map, which is updated daily, can be found at
Report forest fires by dialing 310-FIRE (3473).

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The Best Canoe and Kayak Magazine Cover Ever

Tue, 07/08/2014 - 10:17pm

What makes this month’s Canoe and Kayak Magazine’s cover so amazing? It features a Boundary Waters lake on it and not just any lake in the Boundary Waters. It’s a photo of our very own Saganaga Lake taken by one of our favorite photographers Layne Kennedy.

Layne took the photograph on Saganaga Lake in the Boundary Waters at sunrise. It was chosen for the Wilderness Issue and we couldn’t be prouder of Layne, the BWCA or Saganaga Lake. And to make it an even better issue it features two wilderness explorers who have ties to the Gunflint Trail in Minnesota.

Amy and Dave Freeman from Wilderness Classroom are featured in this month’s Canoe and Kayak Magazine. Amy worked at a Boundary Waters canoe trip outfitter on the Gunflint Trail before she became famous and Dave worked at one on Sawbill Lake.

YAY for Minnesota and all our fame in this month’s Wilderness Edition of the Canoe and Kayak Magazine.

BWCA Lake Saganaga featured on Canoe and Kayak Magazine Cover

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