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  Voyageur Quote: "The Eskimo has fifty-two names for snow because it is important to them; there ought to be as many for love." 

Author Unknown

 

 

 

  Wilderness Lake

 

 

   

Weather Report

I have to say it, I love winter!  I used to be such a summer person and would dread the long nights and short days of winter, but now, with so many recreation opportunities to choose from and so much snow to play in, I just love it!  The weather has been perfect for getting out to enjoy the great wilderness.  We've been out snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, ice fishing and snowmobiling in the almost too warm weather.  The temperatures have been unseasonably warm for February in Minnesota.  We had a number of days with high temperatures in the 30's and lows only down to the high 20's.  We experienced some snow melt but there is still plenty left on the ground.  The forecast calls for more mild temperatures with highs in the 20's and 30's and lows in the teens and 20's.  There is more snow in the forecast and plenty of winter ahead for us Gunflint Trail residents and visitors to enjoy.

 

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Wildlife

Critters Out and About:  The wildlife enjoyed the break in the cold weather almost as much as us humans on the Gunflint Trail.  The little bit of snow that did melt will help the deer and moose travel easier through the woods and enable them to find food.  The thaw wasn't soon enough for one young deer who fell prey to a pack of wolves on one of my favorite ski trails; there was just too much snow for him to escape.  The streams and rivers are no longer solid on the top and this will help one of my favorite northwoods animals, the otter.  They rely on openings left by beavers, muskrats and mild temperatures to keep their watering holes open during the cold winter months. You can often tell where an otter has been by his slide mark in the snow.   The tracks of rabbit, fox, pine martens, grouse and other wildlife can easily be seen in the snow and make any winter outing even more fun. 

 

  

 Banadad Yurt   

 

 

 

  

 

What's New?

Birthday Bliss- For my birthday present this year Mike surprised me with a wonderful gift from Boundary Country Trekking.  This was truly an act of giving because he accompanied me on a 8-mile cross-country ski into a yurt to spend an evening in the middle of the wilderness.  The yurt was cozy and warm with a wood stove for heat and a gas stove for cooking.  There was a small wilderness lake for water and an outhouse nearby.  Mike cooked me a terrific dinner of crab legs that were hauled in along with our other gear by our Yurt Hosts.  That night there was a beautiful full moon and even though the temperature was in the negative 20's it was wonderful to be outside and gaze at the stars.  The next day we cross-country skiied another 12 miles through the wilderness back to our vehicle.  It was an awesome wilderness adventure that I will never forget.  I highly recommend this trip to anyone who loves the solitude of the Boundary Waters and the magic of winter.

Ohio River Paddlefest- This 4th annual Paddlefest Event will be held on July 8th and 9th on the Ohio River.  A friend of ours who operates a canoe outfitting business in Ohio is sponsoring a boat for survivors of breast cancer.  He has an employee and close friend who has been diagnosed with breast cancer and is now undergoing treatment.  They plan on painting a 28-foot Voyageur Canoe the color pink and then have 14 breast cancer survivors paddle it during the Paddlefest on the 9th of July.  If this is something you are interested in then please contact jim@paddlersinn.com for more information or to show your support through sponsorship or donations.  Information about the Paddlefest can be found at this website. 

 

 You can ski the Banadad and enjoy a Mongolian Hot Pot Dinner with Boundary Country Trekking during the Gunflint Trail Winter Tracks Festival this month.

      

 

 

 

 

 

Product Review

Patagonia- This company is one of my favorites for outdoor clothing.  Not only do they make incredibly durable products but also they make a committment to education and the environment.  Each year they spearhead an educational campaign on a specific environmental theme and their catalogs read like an adventure magazine.  All of their garments are built to perform and can be worn year after year.  They even guarantee their clothing and you can return it if you are not satisfied with it.  They make all types of clothing for the outdoor enthusiast and all the different layers to enable you to enjoy any type of weather.  For quality clothing check out Patagonia in a store near you or online. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Skills

Winter Dressing- One of the reasons I used to dread winter was because I was always cold.  Now that I have invested in some good clothing and have learned how to dress I enjoy being out in the cold temperatures.  You do not need to spend alot of money to stay warm nor do you need to look like a fashion model when out playing in the snow.  The most important thing to remember when dressing for cold weather is to layer your clothing.  Layers will trap air and keep you warmer than one heavy coat.   One thing to help you remember how to dress in layers is Wick, Warmth, Weather.  The first layer next to your skin you want to have wick away any moisture that can cool you off.  The 2nd layer is for warmth and can be fleece, a sweater or even wool, whatever will keep you warm.  The outer layer is for weather and this is to protect you from the outside elements such as snow, wind or rain.  If you always have cold feet then be sure to wear moisture wicking socks and loose fitting boots that allow circulation.  My feet have never been cold in my Mukluks because my movement is not restricted.  Keep your face protected and hands warm and remember what everyone says, "Wear a hat, you lose all your heat through your head."   For more information about winter dressing check out this website.

 

 

 Cache Bay Lake Trout

 

 

Fishing Report  

I was finally invited to make the journey into Cache Bay for a winter ice fishing adventure.  Well, maybe I wasn't officially invited but I insisted that I get to go with.  The journey began at Voyageur where we hopped on snowmobiles to ride 5 miles through the Boundary Waters to get to the Canadian Side of Saganaga.  We stopped to purchase our Canadian Fishing Licenses and then continued our ride west to Hook Island, as far as we could go with motorized machines.  We parked on the ice, strapped on our snowshoes and made our way across the frozen ice to Cache Bay, about an hour walk that day.  The time it takes varies depending upon snow depth, slush, and the shape you are in.  We hand drilled holes, scooped out slush and started fishing for Lake Trout.  Almost immediately one Lake Trout took the bait of a fellow angler and we had a fish on the snow.  It wasn't too much longer and I had my first bite and I was able to successfully reel in a beautiful silver Lake Trout.  It was so much fun and I was so proud of myself.  I had the lucky hole of the day and had another fish bite at my minnow, but release it half way up.  I had another fish on and all the way up to my hole, but I was accused of trying to horse it in and the fish escaped by hitting the edge of my hole.  I was able to bring in one more good-sized Lake Trout towards the end of the day and I was completely satisfied and thrilled with my success.  The sun started to go down so we packed up and began our trek back to the snowmobiles.  The ride home was slower as one of the snowmobiles broke down and we had to tow it back, but the great tasting Trout for dinner was well worth the effort of the day!