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  Voyageur Quote: "It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end." Ursula K. Le Guin

 

 

December Snow

 

   

Weather Report

     November came and went without much in the way of precipitation.  In fact, it was the driest November we've experienced on the Gunflint Trail in the past ten years.  Most years we receive between 10-20" of combined precipitation with snow and rain, this year the grand total was only 5.20".  Thank goodness the ice has formed on most of the lakes in the Boundary Waters so the water can no longer evaporate into the air.  Lake Superior is expected to hit record low water levels this year so we're hoping for a snow filled winter to fill that big basin up.  December started out terrific with anywhere from 6-12" of snow along the Gunflint Trail.  Excitement filled the air as temperatures dropped, ice formed, and winter fun was on everyone's minds.  This past week of warmer temperatures has melted a little bit of the snow but not our enthusiasm for the snow that remains on the ground.  We will keep our fingers crossed for another foot of snow to be dumped before Christmas and hopefully every week after until we're tired of shoveling. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lynx Cubs

 

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Wildlife Report:   Canadian Lynx-  I love cats and it doesn't matter what kind, shape or size. There is something about cats that intrigues me; their self centeredness since they do as they please, their sheer determination to win a person over, or maybe it's their elusiveness.  Irregardless of why I love them is the fact that in the winter I sometimes get to see one of my favorite cats, the Canadian Lynx, out in the wild of the Gunflint Trail. 

     It took me awhile to be able to determine the difference between a Bobcat and a Canadian Lynx.  If I were to see both of them side by side then I would have no problem, but when I would only catch a quick glimpse of one bounding through the forest it was sometimes difficult.  Both the bobcat and lynx are about the same size in length and have longer back legs than front legs so they can spring after their prey.  Each of them have ear tufts with the tufts on the lynx often being longer than 1" and the bobcat's less than 1".  The lynx has larger feet and generally weighs between 20-25 pounds and the bobcat is smaller weighing between 15-20 pounds.  The tail of the lynx is the tell-tale feature and is completely black as compared with the more striped tail of the bobcat.

     There is an ongoing Lynx study in Northern Minnesota that has survey data that estimates more than 200 lynx living in Northern Minnesota. It was believed as recently as 2000, there were no Lynx living in Minnesota, the study has proved not only do they exist but also they are reproducing here as well.  To see a video clip of a lynx and her cubs click here.

     Scientists radio collared thirty-three lynx to track their patterns and learn more about them.  Since 2003, 16 of the GPS collared cats have died, 11 of them in 2005.  The lynx died due to different causes including human traps, trains, vehicles, other animals and unknown reasons.  The snowshoe hare population may be a large factor in the success of the Minnesota lynx since it is their main food.  If the population of the hare declines then it is possible the lynx population will as well.    I'm hoping for a healthy lynx population in our neck of the woods so I can continue to see cats in the wild enjoying themselves.       

 

     

 

 

 

Pink Paddles

Purchase a Pink Paddle today and help find a cure for breast cancer tomorrow.

 

 

Snowshoe Fun

 

 The Boundary Waters Blog

  

 

 

 

  

 

 

What's New? 

Holiday Season- Holiday celebrations are well underway as everyone busily prepares for Christmas.  If you are looking for a special northwoods gift then you may want to check out our New Christmas Section of the Voyageur Trading Post.  We have a few special items on sale that can be used as gifts or stocking stuffers.  Remember, you can always request a gift certificate to be used at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters as well.  Just give us a call or e-mail us and we'll take care of it. From our family to yours, we wish you a very merry holiday season and the happiest of New Years.

Caught in a Filter- We don't want to be caught in your Spam filter so won't you please add our e-mail address to your list of approved senders?  voyageur-newsletter@canoeit.com We wouldn't want you to miss out on any important information and we'd really appreciate your help with delivering our e-mail newsletter to you.

Permits Available- The lottery process for BWCA permits is still open via the internet until 5pm CST on January 15, 2007. We can reserve Quetico permits 5 months prior to the start date of your wilderness trip.  Please feel free to call us toll-free at 1-888-CANOEIT with your permit reservation request.  We can reserve your permit for you and help you plan all of the details of your next canoe camping adventure.

The Boundary Waters Blog Winter is a great time to enjoy the Gunflint Trail.  Before you plan your next vacation head over to the Boundary Waters Blog to see everything winter in the northwoods has to offer.  There's snowshoeing, ice skating, cross-country skiing, ice fishing, snowmobiling, and more.  You can read about our winter adventures and much more every day at the Boundary Waters Blog.  

 

Corn Socks

 

 

 

 

Product Review: Fox River Socks-

I have always loved Fox River socks for their high quality, awesome comfort and dedication to the environment.  Now I have even more reason to love them because they have began making a line of socks out of corn.  "Ingeo fiber is the first man-made fiber derived from clean, sustainable, 100 percent renewable resources."

How corn becomes socks... (from their website)

First, corn's grown and harvested.  Then the sugars are extracted from the corn and fermented and transformed into polyactide, a high performance polymer.  Then PLA is extruded into Ingeo fiber, naturally dyed, and lovingly knitted into socks

     If these corn socks are as good as Fox Rivers other socks then my feet will hunger for them.  All of their socks I have tried no matter what kind have been extremely comfortable.  They are durable and keep my feet dry by wicking moisture away from my feet preventing blisters and keeping them warm.  Fox River is a great company that is environmentally aware and belongs to One Percent for the Planet. This is an alliance of companies that recognize the true cost of doing business and donate 1% of their sales to environmental organizations worldwide. I can't wait to try their new line of corn socks that I can put into the compost pile after they've lived a long hard life
 

 

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Wilderness Skill: Keeping Warm- Remember when you were a kid and you could play outside in the snow all day long? I never got cold, I never wanted to go in and I didn't care if I couldn't feel my toes or fingers, it was worth it.  Then when I got older I didn't like to go outside when it was cold out.  I would dress for High School in my thin pants, short-sleeved shirt, and dress shoes no matter if it was 20 degrees below zero outside.  I would shake, shiver, and almost freeze to death not only because it was cold out but also because I wasn't dressed properly.

     Staying warm when you're outside in the cold is easy to do if you dress appropriately.  The key to warmth is to stay dry because wet clothes against your skin will remove the heat from your body much quicker than dry clothes.  Cotton is not a good option for a base layer because it doesn't wick away moisture or keep you warm when wet like wool does.  Wool is probably the best natural fiber but synthetic fibers are much better at wicking moisture away from your body.  

     Choose the right clothes to wear before heading out into the cold and you will stay dry and comfortable.  A base layer that wicks moisture away from your body is as essential as wearing a hat, mittens, and thick warm socks.  After the base layer then you can add layers of different types of clothing depending upon the activity you will be participating in. 

     If you are properly dressed then you will be able to stay warm and comfortable no matter what the thermometer says.  Wind-chill, frostbite, and hypothermia are the dangers of winter outdoor recreation but with proper preparation and clothing you will find yourself once again yelling, "Just a few more minutes and then I'll come inside!" 

 

 

 

 

Winter Shore Lunch 

 

 

Fishing:  Fishing Opener-   Trout season opens on December 30th in the Boundary Waters. We're looking forward to our next journey into the wilderness not only to fish, but for the experience in itself.  It is so much fun to cross-country ski or snowshoe across frozen lakes or snow covered portages where the only tracks you will see are of animals.  The distinct track of an otter sliding through the snow, the paw print of a wolf, or the holes in the snow left by the hoof of a deer or moose.  Reaching the frozen expanse of a wilderness lake is awe inspiring.  Drilling the hole through a foot or more of solid ice, pulling a lake trout up and having a shore lunch are an added bonus to this awesome adventure. 

 

 

 

 

 Thank you for reading our newsletter.  We hope you enjoy it and tell others about it. 

  Mike, Sue and the Voyageur Crew