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  Voyageur Quote: "When nature gives you a smile, always return it." 

Author Unknown

 

 

 

 Frosty Sue

 

 

   

Weather Report

Nature has given us all something to smile about on the Gunflint Trail.  We have had so much snow fall this season it is incredible.  In the past two weeks we have received over eighteen inches of new snow with a good five inches on the 18th, 4 inches on the 22nd and two to three inches almost every day in between!  A snowshoe walk in the woods is becoming ever more difficult even with a good pair of snowshoes.  The moose and deer are beginning to struggle and are keeping to well beaten paths so their travel is easier.  When confronted on a roadway the deer or moose must pick it's re-entry place into the woods very carefully as snowbanks are a good 5-6 feet high in places.  Temperatures have warmed up this week with highs in the high teens and 20's and lows in the negative 15 degree range.  We had a very cold spell with a low of -43.8 actual temperature on the 17th of January.  It didn't warm up too much and for almost a week we didn't see a high of zero and lows hovered in the negative 20 to negative 30 degree range.  The forecast looks like a heat wave with highs in the upper 20's and even into the 30's for the next week or so.  The low temperatures are predicted to be in the upper teens, almost too warm for cross-country skiing, but we'll take what we can get.  It's a great forecast for anyone wanting to experience the wonder of our northwoods winter.

 

  

Flying Squirrel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wildlife

Northern Flying Squirrel(glaucomys sabrinus) Flying squirrels are an interesting animal that we have frequent our bird feeders year round.  They are nocturnal so when the bird feeder starts swinging after dark, we know it is likely a flying squirrel who has come to visit.  These animals do not actually fly but they do glide through the air and can glide up to 100 feet or more.  They are fun to watch as they glide into the feeder and hang out while eating bird seed.   They are on average 11" long from tail to nose, brownish gray in color with a whitish belly, they have big eyes, and a long, flat tail.  They also have what is called patagium that is the furred skin that stretches from their ankle to wrist which allows them to "fly". Unfortunately they have many predators including weasels, pine martens, foxes, and cats.  You can find out more about the flying squirrel on the Minnesota DNR Website.

 

 

  

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What's New?

Winter Tracks- The Gunflint Trail is sponsoring a festival to celebrate winter this February 23-March 1st.  This is the perfect opportunity to come and experience winter and all of it's recreational opportunities.  You can try snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, dog sledding, ice fishing and more.  The Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon is also happening during this time and you can watch teams as they check in at local check points. 

Newsletter- The Voyageur Tales annual Newsletter will be arriving in your mail boxes soon.  It is full of valuable information including all of our new rates and services for this summer.  If you would like to receive one and have not requested written information from us this past year or paddled with us then e-mail us with your address and we will gladly send you one.

Permits-We can start phoning BWCA reservations in on the first of February.  There are plenty of permits for paddling available but if you will be requiring a motor permit then please give us a call as soon as possible to make sure your travel dates are secured.

 

      

Extrasport Volksvest

 

 

 

 

Product Review

Extrasport Volksvest- This is the lifevest we will be offering to our paddlers who choose the Travel Lite, Comfort Traveller or Kayak Package this summer.  Extrasport is a great company that produces only quality garments.  Their products are comfortable, lightweight, durable and are made of breathable fabric.  Before any item can have the Extrasport name it must be built to last, designed to work well and be the most comfortable PFD available.  Each vest is designed for the specific type of activity it will be used in, whether it is whitewater or calm water.  They even have vests designed for women only.  For a great lifevest be sure to check out their website.

 

Snow on Saganaga

 

 

 

 

 Skills

Winter Survival- We frequently travel the 56 mile Gunflint Trail into Grand Marais for various reasons.  The trail is rarely plowed immediately and we find ourselves driving on hard-packed ice with 3-5 inches of snow on top of it, at a temperature of near zero.  There isn't much traffic but there are a ton of moose who love to lick the salt off of the road and in the process become large roadblocks that cause you to swerve.  There is no cell phone coverage on the Gunflint Trail and if you end up in the snowbank you may find yourself waiting around for quite awhile.  You may think since you live near a big city, have a cell phone or drive on interstates that you no longer need to be worried about being stranded in your vehicle.  But right before Christmas we found ourselves stranded with hundreds of motorists trying to travel through Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana; we luckily made it to a hotel with 4-wheel drive but others were not as lucky and spent the night in their car.  To be on the safe side this winter we recommend travelling with an emergency winter survival kit in your vehicle.  Be sure to include the following at a minimum: a warm blanket, matches, candle, firestarter, jumper cables, a small shovel, a bag of salt or cat litter, windshield scraper, flashlight or headlamp with fresh batteries, drinking water, high calorie snacks, compass, map, knife, first aid kit, and extra warm winter clothes.  Travel Safely this winter and always!

 

 

 

 Fish on!

 

 

Fishing Report  

The opener on January 15th started out bitterly cold with a temperature of almost 30  below.  The cold temperature scared away most people except the very brave or those with portable shelters.  Permanent ice fishing houses are not allowed overnight on the Minnesota Side of  Saganaga as it is in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.  Other Gunflint Trail Lakes that are not in the BWCA do allow them but they are not commonly seen.  Last weekend anglers did venture out onto the lakes and had some success while fishing Lake Trout.  They were able to catch them using tube jigs and swedish pimples tipped with minnows in about 25-50 feet of water.  It's difficult to determine how deep the fish are without a portable depth finder but if you find the bottom of the lake and work your way up jigging along the way you are bound to catch one somewhere along the way.  If you don't catch one after several attempts you may as well go and drill another hole to try and find them as they usually don't come  around later if they weren't there right away.