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Sledding in a Canoe, you betcha!

Sat, 02/18/2017 - 11:01am

Enjoying some paddling this winter at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters.

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Winter Camping in the BWCA

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 11:02pm

These photos are from a few years ago when Mike went out winter camping. Tom Thulen captured some nice photos and makes it look like so much fun.

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Unseasonably Warm, AGAIN!

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 11:04pm

The forecast calls for warmer than normal temperatures again. Highs in the upper 40’s and lows above freezing certainly doesn’t feel like February. I prefer it to get cold and stay cold once winter begins, I dislike the big swings in temperatures. The good news is we have a ton of snow and it will stay around unlike other places in the state. I feel really bad for folks who live where the snow is probably going to disappear this weekend with a forecast of temperatures in the 60’s.  We shall see what the weekend brings!

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Great Lakes Ice Coverage or Lack Thereof

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 9:55pm

I don’t think it will be a year for visiting the ice caves in Wisconsin. There isn’t enough ice yet and it’s doubtful we’ll have enough consistently cold temperatures to freeze it solid enough for travel.  I guess I’ll have to cross my fingers for a visit to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore next year!

We don’t have ice around Grand Marais and the harbor has barely been frozen this year. We’ve had stretches of cold weather but it’s been followed by unseasonably warm weather.  It’s been a strange winter when it comes to weather.

According to Paul Huttner’s article the mild winter is producing below average ice cover… As of Sunday, 13.5 percent of the Great Lakes is covered with ice… well below the historical median of about 30 percent for this week of the year.

The lack of ice is making for a different kind of situation around Madeline Island this year, here’s an interesting article about it.


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Great Day for a Cross-Country Ski

Tue, 02/14/2017 - 9:29pm

The woods are blanketed in snow and perfect for all sorts of winter fun.

A great day in the woods

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Happy Endings for a Moose

Mon, 02/13/2017 - 1:57pm

I don’t like to see animals suffer and I was a little afraid to watch this video but I’m glad I did. Hopefully the moose was able to recuperate fully.

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More Eagle Updates

Sun, 02/12/2017 - 9:19pm

From the MN DNR

Eagle Nest Update: February 10, 2017

And then there were three

True to form, our eagle pair laid their third egg two days after the second egg.  Egg number one arrived on Saturday, Jan. 28; the  second egg came on Tuesday, Jan. 31 and the third egg appeared on Friday, Feb. 3.  Looking ahead about 35 days, we should start watching for a hatch around March 3.  We’re looking forward now to a full month of watching this diligent pair switch off incubation duties and bringing new culinary surprises into the nest.

We’ve received some questions about the color of the third egg.  Why is it so bright compared with the other two?  This is normal color variation, according to the Raptor Center of Minnesota; it’s no cause for concern in terms of development or shell thickness. After a month of rolling around in the nest with the other two, the odd egg will likely be the same color as the other two by hatching time.

Minnesota weather also has been true to form, changing dramatically from one day to the next. Temperatures this week at the nest have gone from 0 degrees Fahrenheit to almost 40 today.  We saw snow and freezing rain on the ground — and on the eagles this week. Weather for the week ahead is expected to be mild, good for hunting and good for incubating.

Winter breeding is for the birds!

Did you ever wonder why bald eagles breed during the winter? It’s sure not because it’s easy! Incubating eggs and finding food for hungry mouths is hard work, especially when temperatures are frigid, daylight is scant, and everything’s covered with snow and ice.

One explanation for the species’ winter breeding may pertain to the “biological head start”  it affords eaglets. Earlier breeding means earlier eggs, earlier hatching, and earlier fledging or nest departure. That provides more time for eaglets to practice their flight and foraging skills before fall migration and the onset of the next winter.

Although most birds breed when temperatures are mild and food is abundant, the bald eagle isn’t the only winter breeding bird in Minnesota. Other winter breeders include the great horned owl and rock pigeons (although pigeons have the ability to produce multiple clutches of eggs throughout the year).

As winter progresses and temperatures rise, more and more species begin breeding. Common ravens, barred owls, and house sparrows breed during late winter or early spring. Then, when spring begins overshadowing the rawness of winter, species like hairy and pileated woodpeckers and American woodcock begin their breeding preparations.

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Rose’s Photos

Sat, 02/11/2017 - 6:28pm

We’re so thrilled one of our former Voyageur Crew members is sharing her awesome photos with us. Rose Wenck worked for us two summers ago and took some great pictures while she was there. She’s currently in a winter wonderland out west but we’ll be sharing her pictures here!

Voyageur at the end of the Gunflint Trail

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Great Winter Conditions

Fri, 02/10/2017 - 2:24pm

Lovers of all things winter are as happy as can be with the additional snow we received this past week.  The only people who aren’t happy are those who have impossibly high piles of snow with no where left to put the new stuff when they shovel.  Snowmobile trails, ski trails, Lutsen Mountain and everywhere in between is blanketed with abundant snow for optimal enjoyment of outdoor recreational activities. I’m not sure where this drone footage is from but it will give you a great idea of what our winter wonderland is like.

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Lunar Eclipse

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 1:32pm

From the Earth Sky website…

Tonight – February 10, 2017 – you might think the full moon looks slightly darker than a typical full moon, if you catch it as it’s passing through the Earth’s faint penumbral shadow. There’s a penumbral lunar eclipse tonight, the most subtle kind of eclipse. Some people will easily notice Earth’s light penumbral shadow, inching across the moon’s face. Others will look at tonight’s full moon and swear they notice nothing unusual.

The star near the moon on eclipse night is Regulus, sometimes called the Heart of the Lion, brightest star in the constellation Leo.

As always, to see the eclipse, you have to be in the right place on Earth. The map below shows who will witness this one.

The world’s Western Hemisphere (North and South America, Greenland) sees the penumbral eclipse of the moon on the evening of Friday, February 10. The world’s Eastern Hemisphere (Europe, Africa, Asia) sees the eclipse on Saturday, February 11. Read more.

As far as the Americas are concerned, the penumbral eclipse will be more easily viewed after sunset February 10 from the eastern portions of North and South America than along the American Pacific Coast, where a shallow penumbral eclipse must contend with the glare of evening twilight. For the most of North America, the moon will be in eclipse at moonrise (sunset) on February 10 and will be obscured by evening twilight.

The ideal spot to watch this penumbral eclipse is from Europe, Africa, Greenland and Iceland. From there the whole eclipse can be seen, from start to finish, and it occurs at late night in a dark sky.

In Asia, the eclipse will be obscured by morning twilight on February 11 and will be in eclipse at moonset (sunrise) February 11.

Lunar eclipse computer via US Naval Observatory (select date of eclipse and location from pop-up list)

Akash Anandh in Singapore caught a September, 2016 penumbral lunar eclipse as it progressed.

The Earth’s shadow is composed of two parts: the inner dark cone-shaped umbra and the faint penumbra surrounding the umbra, as shown on the image below. So be forewarned. A penumbral eclipse is nowhere as dramatic as a total or even partial umbral lunar eclipse.

Although the whole eclipse, from start to finish, lasts for some four and one-third hours, the beginning and ending stages are not visible to the eye. Given a dark sky, free of twilight glare, the eclipse might be visible to the eye for an hour or two, centered on the greatest eclipse (February 11 at 00:44 UTC). At North American time zones, that means the greatest eclipse will happen on February 10, at 8:44 p.m AST, 7:44 p.m. EST, 6:44 p.m. CST, 5:44 p.m. MST, 4:44 p.m. PST and 3:44 p.m. AKST.

A lunar eclipse can only happen at full moon, but more often than not the full moon swings above or below the Earth’s shadow. On February 11, 2017 the full moon swings south of the dark umbra but passes through the faint penumbra.

We list the times of the penumbral eclipse first in Universal Time (UTC), and then in local time at North American time zones:

Penumbral eclipse begins: 22:34 UTC (on February 10)

Greatest eclipse (nearest umbra): 00:44 UTC (on February 11)

Penumbral eclipse ends: 02:53 UTC (on February 11)

How do I translate UTC to my time?

For North American time zones (on February 10):

Atlantic Standard Time
Penumbral eclipse begins: 6:34 p.m. (on February 10)
Greatest eclipse (nearest umbra): 8:44 p.m. (on February 10)
Penumbral eclipse ends: 10:53 p.m. (on February 10)

Eastern Standard Time
Penumbral eclipse begins: 5:34 p.m. (on February 10)
Greatest eclipse (nearest umbra): 7:44 p.m. (on February 10)
Penumbral eclipse ends: 9:53 p.m. (on February 10)

Central Standard Time
Penumbral eclipse begins: 4:34 p.m. (on February 10)
Greatest eclipse (nearest umbra): 6:44 p.m. (on February 10)
Penumbral eclipse ends: 8:53 p.m. (on February 10)

Mountain Standard Time
Penumbral eclipse begins: 3:34 p.m. (on February 10)
Greatest eclipse (nearest umbra): 5:44 p.m. (on February 10)
Penumbral eclipse ends: 7:53 p.m. (on February 10)

Pacific Standard Time
Penumbral eclipse begins: 2:34 p.m. (on February 10)
Greatest eclipse (nearest umbra): 4:44 p.m. (on February 10)
Penumbral eclipse ends: 6:53 p.m. (on February 10)

Alaskan Standard Time
Penumbral eclipse begins: 1:34 p.m. (on February 10)
Greatest eclipse (nearest umbra): 3:44 p.m. (on February 10)
Penumbral eclipse ends: 5:53 p.m. (on February 10)

Lunar eclipse computer via US Naval Observatory (select date of eclipse and location from pop-up list)

The moon travels from west to east across the Earth’s penumbral shadow, to the south of the umbra (dark shadow). The north side of the moon will be noticeably darker because it’s closer to the umbra.

Although the residents of Australia and New Zealand will miss out on this penumbral lunar eclipse completely, a different sort of eclipse will occur in their sky. The moon will occult (cover over) Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation Leo, on the night of February 11. For instance, from Perth, Western Australia, the occultation takes place on February 11 from 8:39 p.m. to 9:51 p.m. local time. However, the full moon’s glare may make it difficult to observe this lunar occultation. Click here for more information.


This photo – from James Jacolbia in Quezon City, Philippines, shows a moon with no eclipse (left) and the moon undergoing the March 23, 2016, penumbral lunar eclipse (right).

Bottom line: As far as the Americas are concerned, the penumbral eclipse of the moon will be more easily viewed after sunset on February 10 from the eastern portions of North and South America.

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Skiiing, Skijoring & Biking at Pincushion Mountain

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 1:25pm

If you’re looking for something fun to do this Sunday then head over to Pincushion Mountain just outside of Grand Marais. It’s the Winter Festival and there will be a 10km and 32km classical ski race as well as a 7 km Fat Tire Bike Race and a Skijoring race. It looks like we’ll have perfect weather for the day. If only I had a fancy race suit I’d be able to race too. Here’s more information about the event.

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The Canoe a Short Film

Tue, 02/07/2017 - 5:30pm

Just in case you are missing open water and canoeing.

The Canoe (Film) from Goh Iromoto on Vimeo.

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Lutsen Ski Hill Fun

Mon, 02/06/2017 - 9:21pm

We went skiing at Lutsen with Cassidy and Matt the other day and it was a great time! Guess we aren’t the only ones to think it’s a good place to ski.

Lutsen Ski Hill made the list of the Best Family Ski Resorts as the “Best in the Midwest.”  

“The Midwest may not have treeline skiing and 4-mile runs, but its skiing is good enough to produce skiers like Lindsey Vonn. While states like South Dakota, Michigan, and Wisconsin are all home to respectable resorts that can make for a fun family weekend, our pick is Lutsen in Minnesota.”

“Situated on the scenic North Shore of Lake Superior just under two hours from Duluth, Lutsen provides 90 runs and 900 feet of vertical. With nearly 60 percent of the terrain being intermediate, it is friendly to all enthusiasts of all skill levels. If you don’t want to be on the slopes for the whole trip, there is plenty of world-class Nordic skiing in the area, especially if you head up the nearby Gunflint Trail.  The nearby town of Grand Marais is a great way to unwind and enjoy some great food given its impressive restaurant scene.”

The list was created by, with input from a panel of ski enthusiasts, parents, and other ski bloggers. Key criteria included great skiing or snowboarding, a setting that was inviting to families and children, a long track record, and activities in the area for non-skiers.

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A Few Photos of Winter on the Gunflint Trail

Sun, 02/05/2017 - 9:22pm

Matt and Cassidy have been getting outside and enjoying winter on the Gunflint Trail. Here are a few photos they have taken.


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Silence is Golden

Sat, 02/04/2017 - 10:35pm

There aren’t too many places you can experience real silence. The winter woods is one of those places and the Gunflint Trail provides ample opportunities for golden moments. For some people silence is deafening for others it is the only way they can hear clearly. I crave the quiet, alone times and the good thing is I know how to satisfy that craving. Time on the Gunflint Trail does a mind and body good.

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