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Apr-May 2013 VOL 10, ISSUE 2 For Folks Who Love the North

Fall into Spring

Opening day options Why squirrels don't swim


Northern Wilds is also available by subscription. See page 3 for details.



Join us for a NORDIC WALKING CLINIC on April 20. Contact the store for details.



from the editors

FEATURES Thundering and Wild 10 Kakabeka Falls

Hiking to Rose Falls 11 Shoot the Falls 12

Tips to improve your waterfall photography

Tick Troubles 14 Kubik's Quest for Trails 16 Fishing Tips for Beginners 18 Opening Day Opportunities 18 Smelt, a Spring Taste Treat 20

Here’s a prediction: Enough snow accumulated over the winter to provide a pretty good spring. Sure, we’ll have plenty of blustery days, some late snow falls and unwelcome, below-freezing temperatures. But melting snow will ensure we’ll also have lots of wondrous water. This wasn’t the case last year, when an early warm-up melted what little snow we had and inaugurated a cold, dry spring. For outdoor lovers, a spring without water is like having no spring at all. Water is the essence of everything fun: fishing, paddling or just enjoying the sound of a flowing stream. While some complain that April is “mud month,” perhaps they just don’t get it. You can’t celebrate spring without getting your boots muddy. Spring is when you can best enjoy the natural wonders of the North Shore: the cascading waterfalls found on nearly every river and stream. The queen of waterfalls is the tremendous Kakabeka Falls located about 20 minutes outside Thunder Bay. Inside, Elle Andra-Warner visits the falls, which are also known as the Niagara of the

Madam of Cook County 21

DEPARTMENTS North Notes 5 Events 7 Events Calendar 9 Book Reviews 22 Product Reviews 22 Through My Lens 15

The Accidental Gardner 17 Canadian Trails 19 Strange Tales 23 Dining Guide 24 Campfire Stories 26 Northern Sky 26

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Many of us can’t wait to make our first cast of the year. Inside you’ll find a roundup of some of the favorite game fish swimming in the lakes and streams of the Northern Wilds. Gord Ellis tells us how fishing techniques for the North Shore’s premiere sport fish, the steelhead, have changed over the years. And, if you are new to fishing, we’ve got a beginner’s primer to help demystify an activity that is difficult to learn on your own.

If you like history, you’ll find a story about how the British hid a 90-ton schooner at Isle Royale during the War of 1812. Barbara Jean Meyers writes about Mag Matthews, who operated a brothel on the Gunflint Trail over 100 years ago. Iron Mike Hillman tells us why squirrels don’t swim. While it isn’t really a historical story, Javier Serna profiles firebrand hiker Martin Kubik, who deservedly gets credit for keeping the canoe country’s historic hiking trails open to the public.

We hope this issue of Northern Wilds inspires you to go outside and celebrate spring. Just be sure to leave your muddy boots by the door when you come inside.

—Shawn Perich and Amber Pratt

About our cover: Ontario's Dog Falls is a great place to visit in the spring. | GARY WALLINGA

June/July Advertising Deadline: May 17, 2013

Subscribe to NORTHERN WILDS Don’t Miss an Issue

Copyright 2013 All rights reserved Advertising rates and publishing schedules are available.

North. South of the border in Minnesota, photographer Bryan Hansel tells us how to take better photographs of waterfalls. On the Gunflint Trail, Adam Mella takes us on a spring hike to the famous Stairway Portage and Rose Falls.

PUBLISHERS: Shawn Perich & Amber Pratt EDITORS Shawn Perich, Editor • Javier Serna, Managing Editor •


OFFICE GRAPHIC DESIGN Bev Wolke Katie Viren ADVERTISING Amber Pratt, Advertising Manager, Jane Shinner, Sales Representative

CONTRIBUTORS: Contributors: Elle Andra-Warner, Gord Ellis, Joan Farnam, Michael Furtman, Bryan Hansel, Mike Hillman, Adam Mella, Barbara Jean Meyers, Deane Morrison, Breana Roy, Gary Wallinga Copyright 2013 by Northern Wilds Media, Inc. Published six times per year. Subscription rate is $15 per year or $28 for 2 years. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part requires written permission from the publisher.

Northern Wilds Media, Inc P.O. Box 26 Grand Marais, MN 55604 (218) 387-9475 (phone / fax)

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On Lake Superior • Fully Equipped Lakeside Condos and Lakefront Hotel Rooms, Perfect for Families! • Daily and Weekly Rentals • Spring Prices Starting at $69+taxes & fees a Night! • Minutes from Miles of Hiking and Biking Trails • Indoor Pool • Love Golf? Check Out Our Golf Packages at Superior National!

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Nominations sought for Lake Superior awards The Lake Superior Binational Program is seeking nominations for its 10th Annual Environmental Stewardship Awards Program. The awards program seeks to recognize great works to protect or restore the environment in and around Lake Superior. There are six categories, including youth, adult individual, business, industry, municipality or tribe/First Nations and organization. The deadline for submitting an application is April 12. For more information, go to

BWCA Wolf Sanctuary?

A bull moose spotted near Two Harbors. | MINNESOTA DNR

State Moose Hunt Suspended Minnesota DNR indefinitely suspended its fall bulls-only moose hunt in February after the winter survey results showed the herd had dropped another 35 percent since last year. The DNR estimated that the herd was at about 2,760 animals, down from 4,239 last year and 8,840 in 2006. DNR officials stressed that the hunt is not a contributing factor in the decline.

“The state’s moose population has been in decline for years, but never at the precipitous rate documented this winter,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “This is further and definitive evidence the population is not healthy. It reaffirms the conservation community’s need to better understand why this iconic species of the north is disappearing from our state.”

Gunflint Trail operator circulated petition to end hunt Before the DNR decided to end the state’s moose hunt in the face of a declining herd, Sue Prom, who owns Voyageur Canoe Outfitters near Saganaga Lake, had circulated an electronic petition asking that the hunt be cancelled. The on-line petition had garnered 1,124 signatures before the DNR acted to end the hunt in early February. “I have a moose head on the wall of my lodge … so it’s not that I’m against moose hunting,” her petition read. “I’m all for hunting if the moose herd population can handle it.”

As the debate over Minnesota’s wolf hunting season rages on, a board member of the Ely-based International Wolf Center offered up the idea of a setting aside a year-round wolf sanctuary. “Extreme pro- and anti-wolf voices are the loudest in public debate,” said Rob Schultz, executive director of the IWC. “However, the role of the International Wolf Center is quite different from the agendas of these other groups. Our role is to be a voice of reason and calm, advocating for wolves by providing the public with science-based information that’s without bias.”

The IWC released an interview it conducted with board member and wolf expert L. David Mech, who floated the idea of making the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, home to about 150 wolves, off limits to wolf hunting, as a compromise between lethal wolf control and total protection. Mech said doing that wouldn’t bother farmers, since there is little livestock near the BWCA. He also suggested that hunters wouldn’t complain about the wolves harming deer and moose populations there because the area is only lightly hunted.

Red Rock Historical Society receives grant Ontario’s Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport gave the Red Rock Historical Society a $15,000 grant, which will allow the group to purchase equipment, including a computer, camera, scanner and software. The money will be used

for the group’s Archival Project, which involved duplicating, cataloging and archiving an extensive collection held by the Society. It will make the Society’s archives easily accessible by the public, in a digital format.

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Trampled by Turtles’ ‘Banjo Dave’ dog sleds into BWCA Duluth-based string band Trampled by Turtles has been touring the country hard lately. And in early February, member “Banjo Dave” Carroll even played in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. You had to be there. Carroll and four of his close friends took a two-night dog sledding trip in search of lake trout, travelling 16 miles from Smitty’s on Snowbank Lake to Disappointment Lake, with the aid of a dog-sled guide. The group rode in on three sleds pulled by a pack of 21 dogs. “We’re all avid outdoorsmen and fishermen, but normally we do our (Boundary Waters) trips in the summer,” said Carroll, mentioning his group of friends are all musicians.

“The whole thing was amazing,” Carroll said. “My favorite part was riding on the sleds. ... Normally, you’re walking with a canoe on your shoulders and you’re not able to see everything. ... But this was different. You’re going through the woods so fast, ducking under branches. It was so incredible.” The group did well, enjoying a meal of lake trout and bringing some back after releasing a few. They camped in one of the big white canvas tents popular on these trips, with a wood-burning stove in the center. And, of course, there was music in the evenings. “I don’t have a beater banjo, plus they’re pretty heavy,” Carroll said. “My buddy Blake has this old guitar we bring. It’s been burned by fire. It sounds incredible. We pass the guitar around.”

ater are Calling. Fair Winds and Fresh W

L L I W R A F W O H YOU GO? the perfect getaway - it’s in our nature.

Trampled by Turtles’ “Banjo Dave” Carroll with Big Moose in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. | DAVE CARROLL


“Entry Points” with Dan and Lee Ross March 22-April 7

Local and nationally recognized stone and clay sculptors Dan and Lee Ross spent two weeks in January at the Grand Marais Art Colony exploring printmaking for the first time. The result is a collection of original prints entitled “Entry Points” which will be on display at the Art Colony March 22 - April 7. The artists will speak at the opening reception a 5 p.m. March 22 and be available at the exhibit from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. March 23. Visit for more info.

Arrowhead Home and Builder Show April 3-7

Hundreds of displays and exhibits will be featured at the 47th Arrowhead Home and Builder Show at the DECC in Duluth. View the newest and most exciting items on the market for better living, building materials, landscaping, decorating ideas, remodeling and interior designs. Many discounts will be available at the show and prizes will be given away. For more info, visit www.

CLE's Spring Home and Garden Show April 5-7

The Canadian Lake Exhibition will host the annual Spring Home and Garden Show in Thunder Bay. Over 200 exhibi-

tors will have booths about painting, landscaping, furnishing, lighting, pool installations, patios, banking and much more. Visit for more info.

Fitger’s 5K Run and Walk April 20

Start your spring training with Fitger’s 5K Run and Walk in downtown Duluth. The race begins at Fitger’s then travels to Canal Park and finishes at Fitger’s. Trophies will be awarded to the top competitors from each age category and all finishers will receive a T-shirt. The race begins at 9 a.m. and the awards ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m. Entry fee is $25. For more info, visit www.

BLUES FEST The 12th Annual

JULY 5 - 7 2013

Outdoor Adventure Expo April 26-28

Gear up at the 56th Bi-Annual Outdoor Adventure Expo in Minneapolis. There are more than 100 exhibitors and 140 presentations. A few things to see and do include a canoe and kayak auction, outdoor clubs and environmental organizations, a beer and gear social night with a raffle, the Radical Reels Tour and featured speakers. Admission to the expo is free. Visit for more info.

Gunflint Green Up









✯ FRI JULY 5 ✯

✯ SAT JULY 6 ✯

✯ SUN JULY 7 ✯




Gates Open at 4 PM

The Steepwater Band Cliff Stevens Band Tracy K

May 2-5

Volunteer with the staff from Gunflint Lodge to help re-establish the Gneiss

Yarn Harbor

Produced By

Yarn Harbor is part of Duluth Local “Creative Shop Crawl” May 3rd and 4th.

In Conjunction With

Check out our website and blog for classes & additional events website: Find us on Facebook! blog:

Presented By

Gates Open at 11 AM

Mingo Fishtrap Samantha Fish Melvin Taylor Quinn Sullivan The Groove Merchants The Chain

Gates Open at 11 AM

The Family Stone Kim Mitchell Davina and the Vagabonds J.W. JONES Blues Band Too Slim and the Taildraggers Doug Deming & The Jewel Tones Rebel Spirit Hospitality

is a full service yarn shop supplying the community with beautiful yarns, books, notions & classes.

Dominion Insurance of Canada Done-Rite Tire & Auto Franklin Tempelton Investments Hertz Equipment J&J Sports Microage Music World Academy National Car & Truck Rental

See our website for details.






103 Mount Royal Shopping Circle Duluth, MN 55803 • 218-724-6432 Sun 12-5 • Mon 12-8 • Tues & Wed 10-5 Thurs 10-7 • Fri & Sat 10-5

Thunder Bay’s Greatest Hits

A-1 Sewage Services Apex Investigation Colosimo’s Music Genivar Dan’s Emergency Road Service

Memorial Avenue

Northern Lights Golf Complex Recool Sharon Timko - Scotiabank Thunder Bay Laser Clinic Wanson Lumber Wayne Hacquoil




Lake trail up to Blueberry Hill on the Gunflint Trail. The trail is adjacent to the Chik-Wauk Museum and has been closed since the 1999 blow down. Volunteers will be planting trees and cutting back around them to allow additional sunlight. Volunteers will be provided lunch on Saturday and dinner Friday and Saturday. The registration fee is tentatively set at $48 per person. Visit for more info.

Northern Sustainability and Simple Living Symposium

Runners compete in the 2012 Ham Run Half Marathon. HAM RUN HALF MARATHON

May 3-5

Windy Pine Cottages Rental Pine Cottages

Truly Wilderness with Comfort! email: Phillip & Susan White, owners

Year-Round Accomodation Excellent Fishing

Moose & Bear Hunting Wheelchair Accessible

Phone: 807-475-6947 Fax:


Focus on learning everyday do-ityourself skills with the 2013 Northern Sustainability and Simple Living Symposium at the North House Folk School. A variety of courses will be offered such as Introduction to Canning, Making Sustainable Soaps, HandSewing Skills, Basic Knifework, Sailing Away from Fossil Fuels and many more. There will also be a presentation at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday by guest speaker Dmitry Orlov, author of “Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Example and American Prospects” and “The Five Stages of Collapse: Survivors’ Toolkit”. For more info on workshops and signups, visit

RR #2, Site #6 Comp 21, Nolalu (on Whitefish Lake), ON Canada POT 2K0

Featuring Buffalo Chili, Bison and Lamb Burgers, Smoked Baby Back Ribs and other Delicious Entrees All meat is ground fresh at the Station or smoked in-house.

A Great Place to Meet.

May 5

Enjoy the tranquility of Superior National Forest with the Ham Run HalfMarathon, the Ham Run 5K and the Little Runts Run. The half marathon begins at Gunflint Lake and finishes at Seagull Lake, utilizing the Gunflint Trail. The Ham Run is a green race, taking place just after the Gunflint Green Up and Earth Day. Efforts to conserve resources include race T-shirts made from recycled material, eco-friendly race bags, re-usable race banners and mile markers, on-site recycling and composting and more. Tree seedlings will also be given to participants and awards to the top finishers. Participants will also be treated to a complimentary ham dinner, free beverages, live music and free massages. To sign up or receive more info, visit

MN Outdoor Youth Expo May 18-19

This family event, held at Wild Wings of Oneka Hunt Club in Hugo, has over 20 activities such as birds of prey demos, archery, canoeing and kayaking, water safety, dog handling, geocaching, trout fishing, laser shooting, mock pheasant hunting and more. The event is from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day and the entry fee is $5 per person or free for

1-807-475-4406 Winter Hours Fri 4-9pm, Sat & Sun 12-9pm or find us on Twitter and FaceBook 30 minutes from the border in Silver Mountain, Ontario Canada on the corner of ON 593 & ON 588.

Great Food. Around for 105 years, Silver Mountain Station is a great, welcoming destination for individuals or groups. Whether you come by car, snowmobile, atv, motorcycle, or horseback we offer a beautiful location and great food! Wild game served seasonally.

Ham Run Half-Marathon

Great History.


birds have been spotted. Visit Hurkett Cove, Ouimet Canyon and the Nipigon Trail for a chance to see a variety of species of birds, such as woodpeckers, peregrine falcons, warblers, eagles, waterfowls, shorebirds and hawks. Along with guided bird tours, participants can also take part in a silent auction, attendance prizes, presentations and food. To register or view more info, visit

NortherN SuStaiNability SympoSium | may 3-5

everyday SolutioNS

Featured Speaker: Dmitry Orlov, author of the award-winning book Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Example and the forthcoming The Five Stages of Collapse: Survivors’ Toolkit.

Boreal Birding and Northern Landscapes Festival Birders at last year’s Dorion Bird Festival search for a wide variety of species. | DORION BIRD FESTIVAL

ages 15 and under. Concessions will be available. Most activities at the expo will be free or of minimal cost. For more info, visit

Dorion’s Canyon Country Birding Festival May 25-26

Explore Ontario’s Canyon Country some 80 kilometers east of Thunder Bay, where a record number of

May 30-June 2

Learn more about the birds, wildflowers, and geology of the northern landscape with the Boreal Birding and Northern Landscapes Festival at the North House Folk School in Grand Marais. A variety of courses and public programs will be held such as Bird and Wildlife Photography, Wildflowers of Early Summer, Minnesota Birding and more. There will also be an assortment of guided hikes, a film screening, and presentations. Featured guest speaker will be photographer Paul Sundberg at 7 p.m. on June 2. For more info on the festival, visit


For more event listings, log on to: APRIL 1 & 26

Mulligan Stew (Disc Golf)

Wildkids School Year Day Camp

Mont du Lac Recreation, Duluth


Midwest Mountaineering Outdoor Adventure Expo

International Wolf Center, Ely

2013 Outdoor Adventure Series Duluth Pack Store, Duluth, 7 p.m.


Spring Home and Garden Show

APRIL 26-28

U of M, Minneapolis

MAY 2-5

6th Annual Gunflint Green Up

Canadian Lakehead Exhibition Thunder Bay, 9 a.m. 807-622-6473

Gunflint Lodge, Gunflint Trail


Northern Sustainability and Simple Living Symposium

North Shore Peregrine Falcons Sugarloaf Cove, Schroeder, 7 p.m.

APRIL 13-14

MAY 3-5

North House Folk School, Grand Marais


Mountain Meltdown

Youth Outdoor Expo

Lutsen Mountains, 11:30 a.m.

Hartley Nature Center,


MAY 4-5

Bat Appreciation Day

Folklore Festival 2013

Night Sky of the Northwoods


Gooseberry Falls State Park Two Harbors, 1 p.m., 218-834-3855

Soudan Underground Mine State Park Soudan, 7:30 p.m., 218-753-2245

24th Annual Fitger’s 5K

Fitger’s Inn, Duluth

Fort William Gardens, Thunder Bay

Ham Run Half Marathon and 5K Fun Run

Gunflint Trail

Hike for Hospice Palliative Care Boulevard Lake, Thunder Bay, 10 a.m.



Minnesota’s Fishing Opener Guided Spring Hike

The Amazing Raising Cash for Kids Race


Youth Dragon Boat Festival

Cook Co Rd 1 to Temperance River Wayside, 10 a.m.,

Mother’s Day


Cook County Tennis Block Party Tennis Courts, Grand Marais, 10 a.m.

2013 Duluth Kidney Walk

Bayfront Festival Park, Duluth, 9 a.m. 800-596-7943

Flood Hike

Jay Cooke State Park, Carlton, 1 p.m. 218-384-4610 Ext. 229

MAY 18-19

4th Annual Minnesota Outdoor Youth Expo

Wild Wings of Oneka Hunt Club Hugo, MN, 9 a.m.

MAY 21-26

Heart and Stroke Big Bike Thunder Bay, 11 a.m.

MAY 24-27

Arts and Music on the Shore Memorial Day Weekend Grand Marais, Lutsen

Harbour Youth Services Thunder Bay, 807-345-1182

Boulevard Lake, Thunder Bay, 8 a.m.

MAY 25-26

Canyon Country Birding Festival

Dorion, Ontario,


Kite Festival

Chippewa Park, Thunder Bay, 9 a.m. 807-625-2487


Memorial Day


Boreal Birding and Northern Landscapes Festival

North House and Other Locations Grand Marais,


Anishinaabemowin: Exploring the Culture, Traditions and Customs of the Anishinaabe through Language 4H Log Cabin, Grand Marais 3:45-5:15 p.m. or 6:00-7:15 p.m. cookcounty/cmed

Featured Coursework:

Nurture the Do-It-Yourself spirit!

Soap Making - Canning - Cooking Hand-sewing - Root Cellaring Green Medicines - Basic Knifework Mending with Wool - Tool Sharpening Plus, Two Courses w/ Dmitry Orlov

NortherN laNdScapeS FeStival | may 30-JuNe 2 Featured Coursework: - Boreal Birding - Bird & Wildlife Photography - Birding by Ear - Geology - Wildflowers - Gardening for Pollinators - And More!

Featured Speaker:

Paul Sundberg, Bird & Wildlife Photographer & NH instructor. His photos frequently appear in publications like Lake Superior Magazine and The Boundary Waters Journal.

See more at

North House Folk School Grand Marais, MN • 888-387-9762


Thundering Wild 10



By Elle Andra-Warner

A 20-minute drive west of Thunder Bay takes you to Ontario’s second largest waterfall, thundering Kakabeka Falls, one that many have said is more spectacular than the famous Niagara Falls. Canadian painter Paul Kane wrote in 1846 that not only was Kakabeka Falls more splendid than Niagara but that the “scenery surrounding them is infinitely more wild and romantic.” Author George Munro Grant went even further in his praise, writing in 1882 that, “The falls itself is as beautiful as anything on the continent.” The falls, sometimes called the Niagara of the North, plunge more than 130 feet over sheer cliffs into a rock-walled river canyon carved out of the waters of the Kaministiquia River. The curtain of rushing water drops onto rocks more than a billion years old and where fossils have been found dating back 1.6 billion years. The distinctive landscape of the falls is steeped in myths, including the Legend of

Kakabeka Falls & Its Cozy Country Village Next Door

the Greenmantle, the daughter of a powerful Ojibwe chief. According to folklore, she was kidnapped by a Sioux war party on her 17th birthday, taken by canoe down river toward Lake Superior, which was about 30 miles away, and just before the falls, Greenmantle escaped by jumping in the water and swimming to shore, while the Sioux were swept over Kakabeka. Visitors get birds-eye views of the falls anywhere along the network of boardwalks and jutting platforms on both sides of the river, mostly of them barrier-free. A bonus on the west rim of the river is the historic Mountain Portage Trail, a wide, dirt-packed trail just over a mile-and-aquarter long. It follows the portage route to bypass the falls. For eons it was used by First Nations paddlers and later by fur traders, explorers, soldiers, settlers and missionaries heading to Canada’s northwest. Surrounding the falls is the 1,236-acre Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park with two campgrounds with 169 campsites (90 with electrical service), a sandy beach upriver with a swimming area and numerous hik-

Kakabeka Falls showing a portion of the west-side boardwalk along the river's rim. | ELLE ANDRA-WARNER

Looking down the Kaministiquia River in the spring. | ELLE ANDRA-WARNER

ing trails. Nearby is the village of Kakabeka Falls, a vibrant community where the main street is a busy hub of activity. In the middle is a log cabin restaurant that has become a destination, the Metropolitan Moose Beanery & Cafe (The Moose), listed as “One of Canada’s Favorite Bakeshops’’ by Cottage Life Magazine. “We like to think we are just a little bit different,” said Julia Miles, who with her husband Steve, owns and operates The Moose. The Moose’s menu features items such as chicken gyros wraps, a roasted red-pepper panini, Greek salad, and soups such as unstuffed green pepper. The menu does have vegetarian and gluten-free options, too. The aroma of fresh-baked breads greets customers the moment they step inside The Moose. Original artisan-style breads are baked in-store daily using specialty recipes created by Julia. Their sourdough bread has a particularly fascinating history – they use a 100-year old sourdough starter that originated in Grand Portage. This summer, the Moose will be extending its hours, adding hearty dinners to their menu and hosting a Farmer’s Market on Fridays. Across the street is another one-of-akind stopover, the Global Flags & Banners (aka Kakabeka Falls Gifts & Amethyst), a store chock full of original Canadiana items. Owner David Hearn opened nine years ago. The eclectic mix of items include local amethyst (Ontario’s official

gemstone); handmade gifts and moccasins by First Nations; and Kakabeka Falls gifts from T-shirts to mugs and postcards. Global Flags also carries an extensive selection of books about the region.

Walking the village’s short main street takes in an interesting mix of businesses: The Horse Hut tack shop; restaurants and eateries; gas stations; ice cream places; full-service grocery store; the well-known Kakabeka Falls Motor Hotel (known for casual dining and great meals); and a couple of motels and a laundromat where you can also buy amethyst.

The village is also known for its country events, like the Summer Street Fair in August and the popular Pumpkin Fest in September, which features pumpkins weighing more than a whopping 1,000 pounds. At the Fest each year, the “Pumpkin King’’ Ben Johnson, carves a gigantic pumpkin that is then displayed in the Great Pumpkin Patch at The Moose. A great day of pumpkin-themed activities for the children is highlighted with the much anticipated candy drop where a huge pumpkin is filled with candy, hoisted up by a large crane and dropped to smash and release the treats for the kids.

The wild and romantic Kakabeka Falls is a year-round gem, each season providing a different kind of experience. Even in winter, the falls becomes a dramatic ice sculpture. It’s a great natural destination to spend a day, topped off with a visit to the nearby village.


Rose Falls by an Unusual Approach


When there’s ice still on the lakes, you head into canoe country on foot By Adam Mella Rose Falls has the feel of an ancient place — if you touch one of the massive cedars it might awaken from a long sleep and say something profound in an eerie voice. Here gravity pulls water out of Duncan Lake through a narrow cut in the rocks, cascading 136 feet closer to our planet’s center. All of us have access to this rare, raw power. I arrived on the Gunflint Trail in late April that year and everything was old, but new to me. New job, new coworkers and my fishing gear stacked neatly in the corner of my new one-room cabin. The cabin wall was papered with park maps and Rose Falls roared above my pillow. Deek and I spent several days ripping old carpet and glue from hardwood floors in Clearwater Lodge, sanding them down smooth. Strangers still but here for the same reasons, we started making plans for our first day off. Fishing wasn’t an option, and with most of the lakes still frozen, neither was paddling. “Maybe we should take a hike,” suggested Deek. Having spent the previous six years stuck in a cubicle, I was in absolutely terrible shape, but it still sounded like a good idea. Spring was in the air, and my legs were yipping. It had been a decade since I first climbed the Stairway Portage at Rose Falls during my first summer working at Clearwater. My dad was visiting, we camped two nights on Daniels Lake and caught a pile of smallies. We took a day-trip to Rose and saw the tumbling waters and sleeping cedars and all the other tourists eating snacks. Ten years later, Deek and I sat around sipping beers after a long day of lodge restoration, watching snow melt, imagining the rush of spring water being pulled over the rocks. We agreed, tomorrow we would hike to Rose Falls. Most Rose Falls visitors in any given year arrive by canoe during the months of July or August, and that’s a great way to see them. The second easiest route to the falls is snowshoeing across snow-covered lakes. Here in the springtime, though, when the falls are most impressive and least visited, the approach is by rock.

ABOVE: Adam Mella stands on the Border Route Trail overlooking Rose, Rat and South lakes in the foggy background, proof that the wilderness can push out-of-shape adventurers to extraordinary places. RIGHT: In late April and early May, Rose Falls roars loudly with fresh meltwater, yet few people visit. The author’s friend Deek is pictured with a massive cedar tree on top of the falls. | ADAM MELLA

There are a number of hiking routes leading to Rose Falls but the most direct and difficult is the Caribou Rock Trail, running north from Hungry Jack Road. Even for someone in fit condition, this would be a serious test. Deek and I originally planned taking the easier route up the Daniels Spur to the Long Portage, but had found the Daniels Spur a knee-deep stream of meltwater. After a hearty breakfast of biscuits and gravy we decided on a third option: South Lake to the Border Route to Rose Falls to Caribou Rock. The South Lake Trail was kind to us, and we glided along at a fast pace. We reached the Border Route before noon and stopped for a break on a massive rock outcropping overlooking South, Rat and Rose Lakes. The day was warm and the legs still felt strong. A light rain started falling. We pushed on along the undulating Border Route, beside a small beaver pond chirping with life and the glowing green of spring. By the time we reached the falls my legs were getting

L oc

ated near the bre a th t akin ls g Kak abeka Fal

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Dorion, Ontario May 25 & 26, 2013 Registration forms available at Lake Superior Trading Post, Grand Marais •

sore but there we recharged. The falls are at their prime in early May, full of spectacular energy. We could hear Rose Falls roaring ahead on the trail for a full half hour before we finally reached the gorge. Sitting on the rocks below the main drop, we had lunch in a cloud of mist, the abundant humidity and thunder erasing all the dry quiet of winter. “That the earth can do that,” I said. The sun crept low behind the clouds, and we turned south towards the truck along the Caribou Rock Trail. The trail was steep and mostly slick rock. We’d climb and climb, cling to small branches sliding back downhill, but always keeping an eye out for wildlife. We crossed the stream between Bearskin and Duncan, hopped across rocks, and then pulled ourselves uphill, away from the center of the world once again. The hike had the last laugh—for three days I could hardly walk. But we heard what the ancient cedars had to say on that day and nobody else did.

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The author used a polarizer to remove the reflections from the rock surrounding Upper Gooseberry Falls and slow the motion of the water to produce a silky look. The shutter speed was 1.3 seconds. | BRYAN HANSEL

By Bryan Hansel In the northland, at the start of spring, thunderous spring-thaw runoff fills the rivers of the North Shore and tumbles over waterfalls on the plunge to Lake Superior. Waterfalls appear everywhere, even over road cuts and cliffs that don’t see waterfalls any other time of the year, and creek beds that go dry midsummer run with a torrent of water. In mid- to late-April, photographers take a pilgrimage to photograph the

area’s mecca of waterfalls. You can join the journey this year and photograph the waterfalls like a pro if you follow a few tips. To photograph waterfalls effectively, you’ll need a couple pieces of equipment in addition to a camera with an aperture priority setting. The first is a solid tripod with a ball head. One thing I see during my waterfall photography workshops is participants skimping on tripods, which

often results in blurry photos. Buy a highquality tripod from a camera store to avoid the frustration of a cheap, big-box tripod. In addition to a solid tripod, pick up a polarizing filter and consider buying neutral density filters.

Waterfall photography has two basic concepts that achieve different emotional impacts. The first is freezing action to cap-

ture water droplets midair. This feels powerful and explosive. The second is to blur the motion of the water to get a silky look. This feels peaceful and tranquil.

To get these looks, you need to control the shutter speed of the camera; the shutter determines how long it takes to take a photo. When you get to the waterfall, compose your shot on the tripod and put your camera into aperture priority mode. Set the aperture to f/8. The camera will pick a shutter speed for you.

NORTHERN WILDS APRIL - MAY 2013 If you want to freeze the action, then you need to set the shutter speed at 1/500th or above. Do this one of two ways: either increase your ISO or decrease the aperture number (f/2.8 to f/5.6) until you get to 1/500th of a second shutter speed. Both approaches have pitfalls. By decreasing the aperture, you lose depth of field, i.e. less of the scene will be in focus. By increasing the ISO, you increase the noise, which lowers the overall image quality. If you want to make silky images, you need to slow the shutter speed down to about 1 or more seconds – this is why you need a tripod, because if the camera moves during the picture everything will be blurry. Do this by either increasing your aperture to a higher number, such as f/16 or f/22, lowering your ISO to the lowest setting or by adding filters. Think of neutral density (ND) filters as sunglasses for your camera; they make the world darker. ND filters come in different intensities called stops. Each stop halves the shutter speed. For example, a 1-stop ND would slow the shutter speed


from 1/30th to 1/15th, a 2-stop ND would slow the shutter from 1/30th to 1/8th and a 10-stop would slow the shutter from 1/30th to 33 seconds. Polarizing filters do two things: remove reflections and slow the shutter speed. To use a polarizer, put it on the lens, look through the viewfinder and turn the polarizer until you see the reflections disappear and the colors pop. It will also slow the shutter speed by up to two stops. Usually, the spring thaw begins the third week of April. It can happen sooner, but the safest bet is to plan your trip either the third or fourth weekend of April. I offer waterfall photography workshops both of those weekends and we haven’t been skunked yet in the seven years I’ve been offering them. One year, the rivers were frozen solid until about three days before the workshop began and we got snow during the workshop. The best days are usually overcast days, because the contrast stays low. On sunny days, you need to get out before the sun gets too high in the sky, which creates too much contrast for photographing waterfalls.

Photograph the tallest waterfall in Minnesota from either the Minnesota side or the Ontario side, as the river forms the international border. On sunny days, you can catch a rainbow midmorning. In Judge Magney State Park, the Brule River splits into two and one half disappears into a hole. No one knows where it comes out. In the spring, the high water levels often mask the hole. Park on North Shore Highway 61 and follow the trail to the hiking bridge, and then cross and come down the other side. The river gorge is filled with waterfall after waterfall. Park at the trail center and hike out to High Falls, cross the suspended bridge and follow the trail down-river for the best view of the waterfall. Follow the trail from the parking lot to Upper Falls, which photographs better than other falls in the park. The best place to shoot includes a short climb down a cliff to a ledge on the right.

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A 6-second-long exposure makes the waterfall silky and causes the foam caught in an eddy to spin around. I used a 9-stop ND filter to slow the shutter speed to 6 seconds. | BRYAN HANSEL

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Tick Troubles By Javier Serna

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We’ve all heard of Lyme disease, the most common tickborne disease here.

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It’s carried by the deer tick, also called the blacklegged tick.

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Spring is when hikers are most likely to pick it up, because then ticks are often so small that they go unnoticed. And that same tick, which appears to be expanding its range into these parts, is potentially bringing with it other, lesser-known diseases. The blacklegged tick is common in many wooded and bushy areas of north central, east central and southeast Minnesota. It is more common in St. Louis County, but has been found in Lake and Cook counties. Not all blacklegged ticks carry disease. But it’s helpful to know what other tick-borne diseases have the potential to show up here, so we contacted David Neitzel, supervisor of the Vectorborne Diseases Unit at the Minnesota Department of Health.

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The symptoms include fever and fatigue. So far, it hasn’t been found north or east of Pine, Aitkin and Cass counties, Neitzel said.

The blacklegged tick, also referred to as the deer tick, carries most of the tick-borne diseases. | CDC

But he didn’t rule out the disease popping up in northeast Minnesota in the future.

Human ehrlichiosis, the related disease, is carried by the lone-star tick, which has been apparently been expanding its range and has been spotted in Minnesota, Neitzel said.

This disease, first discovered in 1958 in Powassan, Ontario, infects the central nervous system and can cause encephalitis and meningitis. Blacklegged ticks carry the disease.

This bacterial disease is the second-most common tickborne disease in the region and is also carried by the blacklegged tick.

Symptoms can include fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, coordination and memory loss and speech difficulties.

It was first recognized in several patients from Minnesota and Wisconsin in 1993 and is related to a form of ehrlichiosis that is most common in the southern United States.

About 10 percent of patients that have reported the virus die from the infection.

In these parts, the risk is highest in St. Louis County, where there were 23 cases reported in 2011. No cases were reported in Cook County, and two were reported in Lake County.

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rlichiosis, a tick-borne disease mostly occurring in the south-central United States.

There have been 21 cases reported in Minnesota since 2008. So far the closest reported cases were in Carlton County.

The symptoms include high fever, severe headache, muscle aches, chills and shaking and sometimes nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite.

Unlike the above diseases, this one is carried by a different tick species, the American dog tick or wood tick.

This is a potentially fatal infection also carried by the blacklegged tick. In 2011, there were three cases reported in St. Louis County.

Neitzel said there have been a few reported cases around the St. Louis-Lake county line.

The symptoms include fever, muscle aches, chills, fatigue, headache, loss of appetite and anemia. Some cases can be severe, and the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are most susceptible to the virus. There haven’t been any cases reported in Lake or Cook counties, but Neitzel said the potential exists. “A lot of it comes down to the abundance of ticks,” he said, noting that the ticks seem to expanding their range farther north.

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In 2009, the Mayo Clinic detected a new disease in patients from Wisconsin and Minnesota. From 2009 to 2011, there were 18 cases reported in east and north central Minnesota.

2 Blocks West of Blackwoods Restaurant, across from the Edgewater Hotel and Waterpark

The yet-to-be named disease is spread by the blacklegged tick, and is related to human anaplasmosis and human eh-

The disease is rare in Minnesota, but the wood tick is common throughout the state.

It’s a potentially fatal disease that can cause abrupt fever, headache, malaise, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and a spotty rash on the wrists and ankles. In 2011, there were 64 cases reported St. Louis County, one case in Cook County and none in Lake County.

It’s a nasty disease that typically starts with fever, chills, headache, muscle and joint pain and fatigue. The distinctive bull’s eye rash doesn’t always present itself.

Those symptoms can persist for weeks, and also include irregular heart beat, facial paralysis, and long-term effects can include arthritis.

If you suspect one of these diseases, see a doctor as soon as possible. Treatment is typically antibiotics. Just because you didn’t find a tick, doesn’t mean you weren’t infected by one.

Wildlife needs its space adhere to a simple rule: if you cause the subject to change the behavior it was exhibiting when you first encountered it, you’re doing something wrong.

Through My Lens

One well-known bird photographer and author from the -Twin Cities risked the safety BY MICHAEL FURTMAN of these owls by luring them with mice across busy Scenic e Highway 61 so that he and his cohorts could get flight shots. A well-known West Coast bird photographer and owl author repeatedly chased after these birds when they were trying to hunt, cutting off their efforts to sustain themselves, all to get his flight shot. And dozens – and I do mean dozens – of photographers pressured these birds, apeproaching far too near, despite the fact that they were lugging 500 and 600 millimeter lenses, and could have easily taken beautiful shots from a respectable distance. It was, in a word, ridiculous. And it was harmful and dangerous to the birds themselves. Already stressed from a lack of food, and forced to migrate south (these are not birds, such as ducks, that routinely migrate, or even want to) they were made to perform like circus animals for mice-dangling photographers, or driven away from huntning territories they’d found productive by the never ending parade of people, birders and photographers alike.

n e

If you keep it from feeding itself or its young, you’ve not only violated its space, you may be causing harm. If you disturb a resting animal or bird so that it leaves the safe place they’ve chosen, you’ve gotten too close. If you acclimate it so that it associates people as a source of food, you’re risking its future. Of course, it is entirely possible to round a bend in a trail and startle a subject unintentionally. Obviously there are shades of gray here. So how do you avoid pressuring an animal? You need to constantly evaluate the subject’s response. If it makes frequent eye contact with you, you’re too close or moving too fast. Subjects that don’t mind your presence will usually glance at you, then relax and go about their business – groom themselves, graze, sleep, catch a mouse. Keep in mind that, like people, each subject has its own level of tolerance. I’ve been blessed with remarkable acceptance by some animals that let me tag along with them like Jane Goodall and her chimps. Yet I’ve had others of the same species depart in haste the second my vehicle stops. It is up to you to read the animal, and adapt to them, not the other way around. Ours is now a society of instant gratification. Too many photographers want that perfect image and will do almost anything to get it. They’ve seen such photos in print, want it NOW, and are unwilling to put in the time and effort to do it in an unobtrusive way. Wildlife photography should be about capturing natural, not staged or forced, behavior. It should mean capturing the animal as part of its habitat, and how it interacts with their surroundings. And it should mean respecting the animal’s space and safety.

Photographers should strive to capture natural behavior of subjects that are relaxed and undisturbed, as was the case with these boreal owl images. | MICHAEL FURTMAN

I hope you’ll always remember that these creatures are not toys, and they aren’t “ours” to do with whatever we wish. You are, whether for a few moments or long hours, guests in their world, and privileged to watch them go about their daily routine. Take the time to relish that, and if and when you finally get “that shot,” you can be proud that you did it the right way, in a manner that left the subject as calm as when you first found it. BY CHOICE HOTELS

With the advent of digital cameras, there have never been as many people seriously photographing wildlife. -Although most are amateurs, many have equipment that would make a pro proud. While there have always been a few professional photographers who routinely pressure wildlife, the vast majority of professionals always try to



Crowds of photographers threaten boreal owls This past winter I observed a rash of truly poor behavior by wildlife photographers and some birders, all who flocked to the North Shore to photograph and view the influx of the tiny boreal owls that had moved south because of a lack of food further north.

, -


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Martin Kubik on the Kekekabic Trail in 2012.

By Javier Serna Martin Kubik, who formed the Kekekabic Trail Club in 1990, doesn’t mind playing hardball when it comes to his passion. While he is but one of hundreds of volunteers who help maintain trails in the Superior National Forest, his contribution to trail building here is bigger than most. But Kubik’s style has ruffled some feathers in the U.S. Forest Service bureaucracy. It has even bothered some members of the Kekekabic Trail Club, which he left in 2000 to form the Boundary Waters

All in the name of trails When it comes to hiking trails, Martin Kubik is a force for nature

since 1979. It was with other members of the corporation that he formed the Kekekabic Trail Club, centered around the rugged, 42-mile long Kekekabic Trail, which cuts across the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. After clearing the neglected 42-mile trail with the help of other volunteers, a major storm rolled through the area, undoing much of their work.

“It was an eye-opening moment,” Kubik says. “I realized then that we couldn’t do this with a circle of friends every three to five years, so I started the club.”

Tom Kaffine, a Forest Service forestry technician based in Grand Marais, who has worked with Kubik for nearly 25 years, called Kubik a terrific organizer. Martin Kubik on one of his first trips to clear the Kekekabic Trail near Disappointment Lake in May, 1990. | MARTIN KUBIK

Advisory Committee, another trail maintenance organization. “We had some differences of opinion,” Kubik says of leaving the organization he founded, a group that continues to this day. He acknowledges he can be “aggressive,” but says that’s what is necessary sometimes to prevent the Forest Service from abandoning trails. Kubik, 61, has lived an interesting life. Born in Prague, when it was still Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic), his family escaped to Austria after Russia invaded. They moved to New York City on

a visa in 1968, when he was 16. His parents chose to move to Minnesota after randomly meeting a Minnesotan while visiting the Danube River. Their new friend encouraged them to visit Minnesota for its natural beauty. Somehow, his parents’ love of the outdoors rubbed off on him. “I used to hate hiking with them,” Kubik says. But by the time Kubik was an engineering student at the University of Minnesota, he loved the woods enough to work a couple of summers for the Forest Service as a seasonal firefighter. “That’s where I picked up my commitment to safety,” says Kubik, who mentions he’s never had a bad accident in 23 years of organizing volunteers.

“He is motivated and he motivates his volunteers,” says Kaffine. “He knows how to get bodies out in the field.”

Regarding the Kekekabic Trail, two thirds of which were leveled during the devastating 1999 blowdown, Kaffine says, “If it weren’t for (Kubik), it probably wouldn’t have been reopened.”

Kaffine declines comment on any discord between the Forest Service and Kubik, but several folks involved with other trail maintenance organizations acknowledge that Kubik can be a bit aggressive. Terry Bernhardt, a current board member of the Kekekabic Trail Club, cautiously talks about Kubik.

“I don’t want to cause tension between the Forest Service or Martin,” Bernhardt says. “He is definitely more aggressive in pursuing his goals with the Forest Service. We haven’t always been comfortable with that style, but he has been able to accom-

Kubik has worked as an engineer at 3M

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Join a CSA and Eat Fresh By Joan Farnam

the region from Duluth to Thunder Bay, offering everything from vegetables to, in one case, soup shares.

a CSA incorporating vegetables grown by 11 different producers. Shares can be purchased by nonmembers as well members of the co-op.

The reason? “There’s an increasing interest in knowing where your food comes from,” said Rick Dalen, who is helping to coordinate a CSA Guild for growers in the region so they can work together.

What’s included in a share varies greatly between CSAs, but the cost, in general, runs to between $28-$35 per week. And shares can be divided between families.

Consumers want to be able to purchase organic foods as well as be a part of the sustainable agriculture movement to protect our land resources, he added.

Deadlines to buy a share vary as well, but there is still plenty of time to sign up.

Locally grown food is so wonderful — it’s fresh, it’s delicious and, more often than not, it’s organically grown and chemical-free. Many gardeners in the Northern Wilds know this very well — their backyards provide them with lots of fresh vegetables every year. But there are other ways to get locally grown foods on your table.

the Accidental


Co-ops in Thunder Bay, Grand Marais and Duluth all offer food from producers in their region, and the choices expand every year. And there’s another alternative to consider if you want to fill your fridge (and sometimes your freezer) with locally grown produce — join a CSA. You purchase a share and get weekly deliveries of delicious food all summer long. Tomatoes, lettuce, basil, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, beets, potatoes — you name it and CSAs grow it. And, you are supporting your local farmer and sustainable growing practices at the same time. It’s a win-win, for sure. The idea for a CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, was originally developed in Germany, Switzerland and Japan in the 1960s. According to Wikipedia, they began in response to concerns about food safety and the urbanization of agricultural lands. Groups of farmers and consumers joined together to form cooperative partnerships to share the costs of growing organic foods in a sustainable way. The CSA concept was brought to the U.S. in the 1980s by Swiss farmer John Vander Tuin and German biodynamic farmer Trauger Groh. The idea took off. Today, there are more than 12,000 CSAs in the U.S. and about 1,000 more in Canada. This amazing growth of CSAs is reflected in the Northern Wilds. The Food Farm, located in Wrenshall, is probably the first CSA to be organized here. Started by John and Jane Fisher-Merritt and now run by their son, Jonaki and Annie Dugan, it offers summer, winter, preserving, poultry and egg shares. Round River Farm in Finland, owned by David and Lise Abazs, is the second CSA in the region, starting up in the year 2000, and offers a wide variety of vegetables over a 17-week period. Today, there are more than 20 CSAs in

CSAs have a special relationship between the growers and consumers. Members purchase shares at the beginning of the season and the growers use those funds to operate their farm.

Most of the producers deliver to a central point in the nearest city or town, although members are also encouraged to come to the farm to pick up their produce there.

Check out the list of CSAs we’ve included here and see if this is an option for your summer eating this year. You won’t be disappointed.

By joining a CSA, you can support local, sustainable farming practices and eat fresh produce all summer long. | JOAN FARNAM

Here’s a list of CSAs by region:

Duluth Area:

North Shore:

By doing this, the consumers share in the risks.

• Food Farm, Wrenshall:

• Chelsea Morning Farm, Two Harbors:

In conventional agriculture, farmers are only compensated for their end product, said Kristin D’Arruda Wharton, who runs Good Nature Farm with her husband, Nick. “The farmer has to spend a lot of money at the beginning of the season. They don’t get paid until harvest, they go into debt and still have all the risks.”

• La Finca, Willow River:

• Round River Farm, Finland:

In a CSA, by contrast, the members purchase shares up front, thereby sharing in the risks and benefits of the growing season. If a crop fails, they won’t get a lot of cabbage, for example, but if there’s a bumper crop, they’ll benefit.

• Stone’s Throw Farm, Wrenshall:

“It helps people understand the importance of agriculture and food production and how vulnerable we are,” she said. It also sets up a great relationship between the growers and the members. CSAs put out open invitations to their members to visit the farm and see the vegetables growing in the ground. Some of them organize voluntary planting or weeding days for members or a harvest celebration in the fall. Each of the weekly deliveries always includes a newsletter from the farm with recipes and stories about what happened that week, too. “We keep people up-to-date about what’s in their box and any other global/regional/local information,” said Melinda Spinler, whose CSA, Cultivating Community, includes food grown by three different growers. The new Co-op in Thunder Bay, True North Community Co-op, has organized


• Northern Harvest Farm, Wrenshall: • Owl Forest Farm, Forbes: • Rising Phoenix Community Farm, Saginaw:

Ashland, Wis.

• Cultivating Community, Grand Marais: 218-370-9344 • Good Nature Farm, Grand Marais:

Thunder Bay: • Sleepy G Farms: • True North Community Cooperative:

• Hermit Creek Farm, Ashland, Wis.:


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Start fishing

Opening Day Opportunities

A beginner’s guide to fishing

A wide range of fishing seasons await in the Northern Wilds By Javier Serna

By Shawn Perich Believe it or not, not everyone in this neck of the woods was born with a fishing rod in their hand. Sadly, those among us who were not, often find themselves on the outside looking in when the spring fishing opener rolls around. Fishing isn’t rocket science, but it is hard to learn on your own. Here a few tips to make the process easier.

Rod and Reel

For versatility, go with a medium-action spinning rod and reel spooled with 8-pound-test monofilament line, which is suitable for most fishing situations. You can purchase what you need for $50-$100, including a name-brand, quality fishing line. It takes a little practice to become competent with a spinning outfit, but you can practice casting in the backyard.

Learn One Knot

You can attach nearly all hooks and tackle to your line using an improved clinch knot, which is easy to master. Instructions are often included with fishing line. Once you begin fishing, you may want or need to learn other fishing knots, but start with the improved clinch.


A basic selection of tackle is all you need to get started. Just make sure your new tackle box is big enough to accommodate the inevitable growth of your tackle selection. What you put in the box is largely up to you and depends upon which fish species you intend to pursue. Do you want to catch walleyes, bass, pike or trout? If you know when and where you plan to go fishing and what you hope to catch, head for a reputable tackle shop. They’ll help you make an appropriate tackle selection. Don’t spend more than $50. If you plan to fish with bait, as many beginners do, be sure you have a selection of appropriate hooks, sinkers and jigs. Select non-lead products if you can find them. The tackle store will help you select the appropriate sizes. You can get an adequate selection of hooks, sinkers and jigs for under $20.

Catching your first fish is an accomplishment. Unfortunately, this walleye caught by Kate Watson was too small. | SHAWN PERICH


Be sure your tackle box contains a small pair of needle-nose pliers and a small pair of scissors or a nail clipper. A file for sharpening hooks is handy. A small flashlight is useful, too. Get a landing net with a long handle (3 feet) to capture your quarry. You can use a sturdy stringer to keep your catch alive and fresh. A better, but less convenient option is to put your fish in a cooler with ice.

Where To Go

If you are just getting started in fishing, you are best off seeking fish that are easy to catch. Elsewhere, beginners get their start fishing for sunfish, but sunnies are uncommon across the Northern Wilds. A related species, the smallmouth bass, is widespread in the region and is relatively easy to catch during the summer months. Brook trout, both in streams and small lakes, are a tasty, obliging quarry in spring and early summer. The same is true for northern pike. Walleyes are wonderful to eat, but can be challenging. In spring and early summer, shore fishing is often productive because hungry fish are cruising shallows. Later, as the water warms, you may need a canoe or small boat to reach the best fishing holes. Try fishing near points or submerged bars, along the deep edge of weed beds or fallen trees, near inlets and outlets, or also shorelines. Mornings and evenings, when the sun is not high in the sky, are the best times to fish.

Keep It Fun

Fishing requires patience. Don’t expect immediate success. The best reason to go fishing is to relax and enjoy yourself. If you bring home a fish or two for dinner, so much the better. Also, the more often you go fishing, the more likely you are to improve your fishing skills and have success. So go fish!

The time for spring fishing is fast approaching. Walleye may be Minnesota’s state fish, and a favorite target, but other game fish offer interesting options. Here’s a brief rundown of some of the fish species swimming in northern waters, including that tasty walleye!

Stream trout

Dr. J.W. Cook’s 14.5-pound monster brook trout, landed on Ontario’s Nipigon River in 1915, still stands as the world record. So the Nipigon River remains a worldclass brook trout destination. The brook trout season here opens on the fourth Saturday in April. Fishing for steelhead in the Nipigon and other Ontario tributaries to Lake Superior is open year-round.

lowing them a chance to fish before the season opens south of the border.


Walleye are the favorite species of many anglers, because they are widely distributed and good to eat. You don’t have to head into canoe country to get at them. The Minnesota season opens on May 11. In the three Ontario management zones, the season, which began Jan. 1, ends on Apr. 14 and then reopens the third Saturday in May.

Northern Pike

These toothy critters are one of the most widely distributed game species in the Northern Wilds. Lakes shallow and deep all seem to have them. While some anglers spend big bucks on fly-in excursions to target them in the far reaches of northern Canada, they get big, even trophy size here, too. The big ones are exceptional fightMinnesota also has a year-round ers—but watch out for those teeth. steelhead season on its tributaries Landing them in a canoe can be a upstream to the first posted barchallenge, but it is a hazard worthy rier—generally a waterfall. The of the risk. The season opens on inland stream fishing season for May 11 in Minnesota, but pike brook trout begins April 13. The Brook trout | USFWS can be targeted year-round in season for stream trout in desigOntario. nated lakes corresponds with the Smallmouth bass Minnesota fishing opener, May 11. The smallmouth bass is another widely Lake trout distributed fish. They are excellent fightEarly spring is the easiest time in the ers; cast for them on calm mornings and year to catch these native fish in our lakes. evenings with top water baits. They are a Because the water is cold, the lakers are up great menu option for canoe trippers unshallow and easier to target. In summer- able to find keeper walleye. You may catch time, they head into colder, deeper water bass while fishing for walleyes, even when and are more challenging to catch. While the walleyes don’t want to cooperate. they also dwell in Lake Superior, these fish In Minnesota, the smallmouth bass almost seem like different species in the inland lakes. And early in the year, the season opens up on May 11 north and flesh of the inland lake trout will remind east of U.S. Highway 53, from Duluth you of salmon, colored bright orange, to International Falls, and also includes ruby red or pink. These are some of the Pelican and Ash Lakes in St. Louis most delicious fish you will ever eat (but County. The season is open year-round in the three Ontario management zones over put those big ones back). the border. In Minnesota, the season opens on May 11. In Ontario’s zones 5 and 7, the sea- Know the Rules Be sure to read the fishing regulations, son is open from Jan. 1 to Sept. 30, and because of that, many paddlers head into because size limits, bag limits and seasons Quetico Provincial Park after first ice, al- can vary from lake to lake.

North Shore Steelheading: The Changes Over the Years



My earliest memories of steelheading in Northwestern Ontario have little to do with me. They are actually of my father Gord Sr., who, as a 20-something-year-old school teacher, had a serious yen to catch steelhead. Before the school day would start, he would slip on his green rubber waders, grab his vest, and carefully slip his fiberglass Fenwick rod and Martin 72 reel in the back seat of his Rambler. A short drive would take him to the McIntyre River, in downtown Thunder Bay, where he would slip into one of his favorite holes and drift yarn flies for migrating rainbows.








Canadian Trails BY GORD ELLIS

He was not alone. In the early ’70s, the steelhead-trout boom was well underway along the North Shore of Lake Superior and there were many new anglers. As memory serves, it was steelheaders from Minnesota who blazed the steelhead fishing trail in the late 1960s, and a few trout nerds on the Canadian side took note. Or so goes the story. Anyway, my father was one of those new steelheaders. And he was pretty decent at getting trout to open up for a brightly colored ball of yarn. I know this, because he would bring home his trout after a morning of fishing, and often get my brother and I out of bed to see them. Some of those moments were recorded for posterity, with Roy and I standing in our PJ’s over the fish, as Dad grinned in waders and vest. In the 1970s, and into the mid 1980s, anglers caught most steelhead by drifting yarn, dyed sponge or trout roe through riffles, pools and runs. There were not many people doing anything else. The tools were a fly rod (or a fly rod blank customized with spinning guides), and a fly reel loaded with Maxima 10- or 12-pound test. It was usually a Martin Reel, although some other less expensive options were seen. On the line would be a few egg sinkers, a foot-long leader, and a crude fly or bare hook baited with sponge or roe bag. Drifting worked well, especially if you had “the feel.” In the late 1980s, interest in European-style float fishing became the rage in Canadian fishing magazines. The float technique was more refined than drifting. It also required longer graphite rods, and either spinning reels or fancy center pin reels. Southern Ontario steelhead anglers were

Gord Ellis with a steelhead caught in the spring of 2012. | GORD ELLIS

ahead of the northern fraternity when it came to float fishing. There was even a bit of contempt among North Shore anglers about float fishing. Some felt it was not a technique a “real” steelheader would use. Sounds silly now, but that’s the truth. However, float fishing did catch on and proved to be incredibly effective, especially in the slower, “alligator water” that was common below rapids and in lower river sections. Float fishing also mostly removed the “snag factor” that ended many steelheading careers. A properly set balsa float, with wingless shot and a fresh roe bag, could be fished nearly snag free all day. To top it all off, the float signaled the strike. In the 1990s, many of the old-time drift anglers began replacing their monofilament with actual fly line or running line. Carefully tied flies started to replace crude yarn facsimiles. The rods got more expensive as did the gear. Gone were the rubber waders of old, replaced by breathable, light stocking foot models with high tech boots. That accessory alone could set the steelhead angler back a grand. The presence of fly anglers on the Canadian steelhead rivers changed the culture of steelheading. Fly anglers often excelled in water other anglers didn’t do so well in, shallow riffles and tail outs in particular. The number of fish caught per day became less important than the quality of the experience. One thing has not changed: the incredible passion many anglers still have for Lake Superior’s migratory rainbow trout. May that never change.


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Smelt, a Spring Taste Treat

Sport hangs on for tradition’s sake in face of decline By Shawn Perich To say everything I know about smelt I learned in kindergarten might be an overstatement, but my memories of the small, silvery fish begin there. One sunny April day, Mom and Dad picked me up at school when kindergarten got out for the day. We drove to the Lester River, on the eastern edge of Duluth. I followed Dad, who was wearing hip boots and carrying a long-handled dip net, down to the river.

They had other uses for smelt on the other side of the lake, where smelt wrestling was popular at the Smelt Carnival in Marinette, Wis., in 1939. | WISCONSIN HISTORICAL SOCIETY

Reaching the river bank, we saw a wondrous sight. The river was swarming with schools of smelt, which had entered the river from Lake Superior to spawn. Dad waded into the stream and made a quick scoop with the net into waist-deep water. It was brimming with smelt when he pulled it up. He waded to shore and dumped his catch in a bucket.

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I splashed through the shallows, catching smelt by hand as they tried to spawn on the rocky bottom. I tried to catch the larger females, which were 8 or 9 inches long. I proudly plopped my catch in the bucket, too. Dad made another scoop and caught all of the smelt we would need. Then he carried me out to the deeper water, so I could make a scoop, too. I could barely lift the net.

This was in the mid 1960s, the good old days of smelting in Lake Superior. Back then, the native lake trout population had collapsed from the combined effects of overfishing and sea lamprey predation. In the absence of a natural predator, smelt numbers exploded. Every spring massive numbers of them entered Superior’s tributaries to spawn. Massive numbers of dip-netters from across the Midwest would show up to greet them.

Smelting was a spectacle. The best runs often occurred at night, leading to a party atmosphere along the rivers as beer-swilling revelers filled tubs and trash cans with smelt. Often, the containers became too heavy to carry, so they were unceremoniously dumped on the bank. The morning after was always a mess.

Smelting continued in this fashion into the 1980s, when growing populations of predatory trout and salmon began to thin smelt numbers. As the spring runs subsided, so did smelting mania. Now, smelt runs along most of Minnesota’s North Shore are minimal, with the exception of a few streams near Duluth, as well as the beaches at Park Point. You can also find smelt in some streams near Thunder Bay and along the Ontario shore. A scattered handful of lakes in Minnesota and Ontario have smelt runs, too. If you want to enjoy a fresh smelt dinner this spring, you may find it easiest to purchase them at a grocery store.

Today’s smelt are somewhat smaller than they were during the good old days, measuring 6 or 7 inches in length. Depending upon how many people you are serving, it generally takes more than a dozen smelt to make a meal. Preparing smelt for cooking is easy. We quickly cleaned them using a scissors. We’d snip up the stomach from the vent to the gills to open the body cavity and then cut off the head. To eviscerate the body cavity, all you need to do is run your thumb up the backbone from the vent. Then rinse the cleaned smelt in cold water.

I once learned another easy method for cleaning smelt. Simply remove the filets. You can leave the skin on the filets, because smelt scales are insignificant. The friends who showed me how to filet smelt believed removing the backbone improved the flavor. Having eaten the deepfried result of their efforts, I agree. The only way I’ve eaten smelt has been either pan- or deep-fried. I prefer to have them rolled in flour. Others like a beer batter. You can eat smelt whole, scales, fins, bones and all.

Occasionally I contemplate Dad’s old dip net, which now hangs in my garage. To my knowledge, smelt don’t run in any of the rivers near my home. Then again, I don’t know if anyone goes out to look for them. Maybe some warm spring evening, I’ll take the net, wander down to the river and make a few scoops—for old time’s sake.

The Madam of Cook County

d By

Barbara Jean Meyers

Elinor Barr, a historian from Thunder Bay, Ontario, who has researched Mag’s life, calls her “a remarkable - woman.” l It was not common or easy for women to be business owners in the late 1800s. There weren’t many opportunities for women during this period. Matthews got into t one of the few fields open to women at the time. She was a madam and had brothels scattered throughout the Thunder Bay district. For a time, she opened a saloon up the Gunflint Trail near the Paulson Mining camp. . Lee Johnson, an archeologist with the Forest Service, has y done extensive research on the old mining camp. “Mag’s establishment probably served a lot of the men who were working on the rail-line, a lot of the mining speculators that were passing through to go up in the bor- der country, trappers and probably whoever was working , at the Paulson Mine in those days,” Johnson says.





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Matthews also helped folks in need and folks in trouble, Barr said. “She usually came forward,” she said. “She was helpful in many community activities that weren’t supported by the city. There was no welfare then, nothing. If you lost your husband and he happened to be working for a company that had a company house, you also lost your house and then you and your children had to find somewhere else to live. It was a cruel time. “And Mag could be depended on to try and help. She didn’t have unlimited resources but … she was a mainstay for people in trouble.” No one knows for certain why Matthews took it upon herself to help those in need, but Barr attributes it to her life experiences. “I think she’d had a hard life and she had crossed bridges herself that she was watching other people cross,” Barr said. “She was a very clever lady, and she was well aware that there was no safety net for people.”

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Elinor Barr, a historian from Thunder Bay who has written extensively about the history of the Port Arthur Duluth and Western Railway, sits by a painting commemorating the old railway. In the late 1800s an extension of the rail-line was built to service a mining camp on the upper Gunflint Trail. It was in this small settlement of miners, prospectors and trappers that Margaret Matthews took out the first liquor license in Cook County for her saloon and brothel. | BARBARA JEAN MEYERS

the same time as the mining operation, which itself had a brief existence around the year of 1893.

Barr is sure Matthews bounced back and kept moving forward. “She lost that one, wins another,” Barr says. “She was a real entrepreneur. I don’t think she lost any sleep over it.”

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“She treated her girls very well from what I understand,” Barr says. “They were given time off during each month to [relax].”

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I would have killed for this kayak yolk a few years ago, on a weekend trip into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. We had only one 100-rod portage, but that was too long to carry the kayak we brought to accommodate our odd-numbered party. There was no comfortable way to carry the boat, and I nearly injured myself trying to do so. This product solves that problem, allowing you to safely and comfortably balance your boat on your shoulders. At 25-inches long, it fits most kayaks. It is made of solid white ash and has three-inch risers for better visibility on the trail. The yoke sells for $78. — Javier Serna

Climate Changer Fleece Dog Sweater

Dogs get cold, too, especially those that spend time on canoe trips and hikes in the Northern Wilds. When it’s cold outside, giving your dog an extra layer of warmth and insulation can go a long way. But the key is finding one that doesn’t restrict their movement too much. Ruffwear’s Climate Changer is made out of fleece, and it’s very flexible. My beagle mix has no trouble sprinting in the sweater, which has a reflective strip for visibility in low light. It is available in three colors and in sizes from extra-extra-small to extra-large. The sweater retails for $59.95. — Javier Serna

Scrape It Away

Got a tough clean-up job? The SKrAPr can handle it. The company manufactures a line of hardened resin, plastic and metal scraping tools for a wide range of uses. I’ve used The GrILLr to clean my propane grill. Another small metal scraper does a great job removing creosote from the door of my wood furnace. The SKOOPr is an ingenious ice cream scoop. I haven’t found a use for the hardened resin SKrAPr HD, though I’m sure it will come in handy for spring-cleaning projects. Prices range from $5-$10. — Shawn Perich

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Who needs birch bark? Easily ignite a fire in your charcoal grill, fire place or campfire using the Grate Chef Fire Starters. The matchbooksized packet can be lit with a match and burns for about 10 minutes. It burns clean without a smell and doesn’t leave an aftertaste in your charcoal. You can carry it in your camping gear or as an emergency fire starter. It will not self-combust, as some other products do. MSRP $8.99 for 18 packets. — Shawn Perich

GSI Javapress

The trouble with most of the coffeemaking products geared towards campers, is that they are too heavy, and, worse, do a poor job of keeping grounds out of your cup. GSI’s Javapress is an exception. For starters, it weighs only 10.3 ounces, making it worth its weight to caffeine-addicted minimalist backpackers. And, just as important, the press has a rubber seal that keeps grounds at bay. Even better, it brews a fine cup of French press coffee. The carafe is made of crystal-clear, BPA-free plastic and comes with an insulated sleeve. The press retails for $32.95. www. — Javier Serna

Bogs Rue Waterproof Shoes

I don’t know about your driveway, but mine is a big muddy mess every spring as the snow melts. However, spring does not have to equal wet feet. A pair of these light weight non-slip, 100 percent waterproof shoes are keeping me dry and comfortable. They are in a variety of colors and styles for men, women and children. Satisfaction guaranteed. The Rue retails for $78. — Amber Pratt


Arrowhead Region Fishing Map Guide SPORTSMAN’S CONNECTION, $24.95

This 224-page spiral-bound paperback includes lake contour maps and information on more than 230 lakes outside or bordering the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. So while it wouldn’t be of much use inside the Boundary Waters, anybody spending time on lakes in the Superior National Forest can find a lot of useful, local information, much of which was sourced from Minnesota DNR survey records and from bait shops in the region. That inclues both fish stocking and survey data, public access points, accommodations, area road maps, GPS grids and local fishing techniques. While the book focuses on lakes in Lake and Cook counties, it also includes a section on the lakes on Isle Royale, though it does not include depth maps for those lakes. — Javier Serna

Modern Maple By Teresa Marrone


Maple syrup is only made in the northeast quarter of the country, and Minnesota and Wisconsin are home to a number of maple syrup producers. So it fits in with the Minnesota Historical Society’s Northern Plate series, which highlights specific food from the Upper Midwest. The meat of the book is 75 recipes from pecan-crusted chicken with maple apples to maple baklava. The recipes include breakfast favorites, appetizers, sandwiches, vegetables, breads and desserts. The 128-page paperback also includes a brief local history of maple syrup and an introduction to collecting syrup from your backyard. — Javier Serna


How McCargoe Cove got its name


British hid a schooner on Isle Royale during War of 1812 During a war, how do you conceal a large British schooner on Lake Superior? The British did it successfully when Capt. Robert McCargo, working for the fur-trading North West Company (NWC), hid their 90-ton schooner Recovery at Isle Royale to prevent capture by the Americans. It happened during the War of 1812 which pitted the United States against the British Empire and her First Nations allies. Ironically, the British ship was hidden in American territory.

Strange Tales

National Monument, suggests the knowledge came from the ‘’aboriginal connection’’ to Isle Royale and told to McCargo by Nancy (Annie) McKay or her family (he later married Nancy sometime before 1816). Nancy’s mother was Marguerite Wadin, a Metis woman who was the widow of trader Alexander McKay and now married to the most powerful NWC man at the Fort William headquarters, Chief Factor Dr. John McLoughlin.

Given that many of the Ojibwe along the The War of 1812 began on June 18, 1812, North Shore of Lake Superior were allied BY ELLE ANDRA-WARNER when the U.S. Congress declared a state of with the British, it wasn’t surprising that they war with Britain after tensions between the would help hide the British ship from the two had been escalating for some time. The goal now Americans and safeguard it from destruction or detection. was clear for the Americans – the conquest of Canada. “It is through these relationships that it makes sense that Just as clear was the determination of the British with its McCargo and the North West Company learned about Canadian militia and First Nations allies to protect their McCargoe Cove,” explained Cochrane. land, maybe even take back some of the territory lost preThe cove was located on the eastern half of the island’s viously to the U.S. The war lasted two years and eight northern edge, its rocky entrance partially blocked by a months, ending Feb. 18, 1815. small island. Navigating the narrow channel of water to At the time, Lake Superior was the hub of the NWC’s fur-trading empire, and there were fears the Americans would attack not only its posts but try to capture its vessels, now considered fair game as most of NWC’s fleet was conscripted for the British war effort. To prevent the Americans from getting their large schooner Recovery which sailed out of the NWC’s headquarters at Fort William, her commander Capt. Robert McCargo made a bold decision – he would hide the Recovery in a rarely travelled deep-water cove on Isle Royale, the largest island of the archipelago located in Lake Superior. The island had been American territory since a 1783 treaty with Great Britain, although the British remained in control of it until after the War of 1812. How did the newly appointed captain know where to hide the ship? In his book, “Minong: The Good Place, Ojibwe and Isle Royale,” author Timothy Cochrane, who is also the park superintendent at Grand Portage » KUBIK continued from page 16

plish a lot in saving the trail. It’s kind of a two-edged sword.” Kubik doesn’t sidestep the issue, even bringing up his differences at the Boundary Waters Advisory Committee’s annual meeting, which was held in Minneapolis in early March. Here, Ed Solstad of the Border Route Trail Association jumps to Kubik’s defense, noting that not only the Kekekabic Trail, but the Eagle Mountain to Brule Lake Trail, which his organization cleared, were both saved by Kubik’s efforts. “We’re probably more diplomatic than him,” Solstad admits, while adding, “Sometimes you have to push harder.” And here, Kubik’s organizational skills are on display. Dozens of potential volunteers peruse a reception room with seven large poster boards, each with their own springtime trail maintenance trip. Trip leaders are on hand to answer questions. And the poster boards have QR codes, which can be scanned by a smart phone’s camera, allow-

the inside harbor almost two miles away was tricky, even for a seasoned mariner. But the Ojibwe knew well the geography of the island, including hidden coves that couldn’t be seen from the open water.

Today, McCargoe Cove at Isle Royale National Park has a dock for vessels, like Sail Superior’s Frodo, to use. | GREG HEROUX, SAIL SUPERIOR

Isle Royale had become part of the United States through the 1783 Treaty of Paris with Great Britain which had ended the American Revolutionary War. However, Isle Royale wasn't ceded to the U.S. until 1842.

could see the island from the headquarters at Fort William (now part of the City of Thunder Bay). Did Thompson make an error or was it intentional? Cochrane speculates Thompson left Isle Royale off the map “... to protect the exact location of the last NWC vessel on Lake Superior, the Recovery.”

Once securely in its hiding place, the ship was unrigged, masts and spars were removed, the hull covered with brush and tree branches. For the duration of the War of 1812, the Recovery stayed undiscovered at what later was named “McCargoe Cove” after Captain McCargo, though for some reason an ‘’e’’ was added to the official name.

Later in the war, Captain McCargo narrowly escaped a brutal American attack in July 1814 at the Sault Ste. Marie trading post on the eastern end of Lake Superior. On seeing the Americans approach his cargo-laden 85-ton schooner Perseverance, McCargo scuttled his ship before fleeing by canoe.

Interestingly, the NWC’s noted mapmaker-astronomer David Thompson omitted Isle Royale from his large 1813 map of North America, even though on a clear day, one

After the war was over, the Recovery, which had been built in 1809 at Fort William by the NWC, was brought out and put back into commission, sailing again on Lake Superior.

ing interested parties to learn more and sign up on-line. Nirmal Jain, a former board member of the BWAC, says Kubik has actually mellowed out.

wild fire or wind storms.

“We used to call him ‘The General’ when he was clearing trails,” he says. “He was not going to be waiting for his volunteers. They were going to be two miles behind him.” Jain said the trail maintenance community needs an antagonist such as Kubik. “These trails are for us to keep and have for our children,” he says. “If we don’t do it, the U.S. Forest Service won’t. We have to work with them diplomatically, but they are a really large, bureaucratic organization with a lot of politics. As private citizens, we can demand from them to do things that we think they should be doing. That’s the strength of a grassroots organization.” For Kubik, the thing that matters in the end, is that the trails remain, and later mentions his organization’s “no loss policy,” which means it will push the Forest Service to not give up on trails that are overgrown or damaged by

“These are our trails,” Kubik says. “I appreciate what the Forest Service has done to keep these trails open, but sometimes they need encouragement.”

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Why Squirrels Don’t Swim Some things happen purely by accident, which is how I came to learn why squirrels don’t swim. Red squirrels were the only kind of squirrels around Ely when I was growing up. I met my favorite red squirrel when I was running the canoe base on Moose Lake. Bill Rom’s landing was squirrel heaven back in the early 1970s.

kept disappearing. One quiet, rainy afternoon, I stretched out on the bed, halfclosed my eyes and pretended to be asleep, but all the time I had one eye open. The trap was baited, and I lay there in wait to see what I could learn. I almost fell asleep when I heard a faint rustle out in the kitchen. I watched and waited; scarcely breathing when all of a sudden IRON MIKE HILLMAN who should appear at the bag of Snickers but Sammy Squirrel. Sammy was the Snicker-Bar Bandit. that they all

Campfire Stories

One of the first things I learned about red squirrels is start out being shy and demure when they move into a new place. People thought them darling when they were packing up and getting ready to head for home after their canoe trip. “Feed them some of this trail mix,” I told them when they wanted to bring the squirrel closer for a photograph. In no time the squirrels thought they owned the place.

One squirrel was different from all the others. He was a bold little fellow with a nipped left ear and colorful personality whom I dubbed Sammy. I could pick Sammy out in a crowd of other squirrels just by his bold swagger, and the debonair cock of his three-quarter left ear. From the first day we met, Sammy was my favorite. Once you name an animal, all your perspective and common sense goes right out the window. Our relationship took a strange twist later that summer when Snickers candy bars started vanishing from my kitchen. My first thought was that someone was coming into the trailer and helping themselves. I started locking the door. The Snickers

I think our friendship ended that day. Many friendships have ended over less than a bag of Snickers. But Sammy had to go. I knew a friend down the lake had a squirrel trap. That trap was the answer to solving my ethical dilemma of just what to do with Sammy. I went and borrowed the live trap. In no time it was set and baited with a full-sized Snicker Bar, and before I had time to finish cooking breakfast, I heard the trap spring shut.

from the island to where we were sitting. Soon we were all sitting there yelling encouragement to a squirrel. Finally, there were less than 20 yards to go, and we were sure Sammy was home free. Then all of a sudden a great head emerged from the depths of Moose Lake and two powerful and hungry jaws snapped shut on Sammy Squirrel. It was like a bad dream. Sammy was supper for a northern pike. All that was there to mark the tragedy were the ripples slowly moving away from the scene of

Sammy’s violent demise. It was almost like he was never there.

For a long time I didn’t think about Sammy. But as the years passed, eventually I could deal with my loss. I know observing something happen once doesn’t mean you can cite it as a law of nature, but if you ask me, seeing what happened to poor Sammy Squirrel on his first and only swim in Moose Lake might indicate a strong argument as to why red squirrels don’t swim.


I walked out the door, and there sat Sammy clutching that Snickers. He looked up at me with feigned remorse. Sammy knew how to play on my heart strings, but this time my heart was like a rock. Sammy had to go. I took him down to the dock and set the trap down in the bottom of the tow boat. Then I hopped in and untied the boat. The motor fired on the second pull, and Sammy and I were on our way to the Squirrel Island Penal Colony. That’s what I called the big pine-covered island about 300 yards in front of the canoe base. It was time that Sammy went back to being a squirrel. Once a week, I visited Squirrel Island and left Sammy a cache of trail mix. I tried to make Sammy’s rehabilitation as painless and enjoyable as possible. Things went on fine until one warm late-summer afternoon towards the end of summer. I was enjoying the beautiful evening with friends as we watched the sun begin to set. Moose Lake was as still as a mirror as the sky and clouds came down to swim in the quiet water. Then all of a sudden our attention was drawn towards a splash near Squirrel Island. I brought up my binoculars to take a closer look, and there was a small squirrel swimming away from the island and heading directly for the landing. “I’ll be damned. It’s Sammy Squirrel,” I told my friends. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. We wondered if Sammy could possibly make the 300 yards

With Jupiter now hugging the celestial skyline to the west, Saturn comes into its own on the other side of the sky. The ringed planet rises in the east, earlier every night. On April 28, Earth laps it in the orbital race and the sun, Earth and Saturn form a straight line. Saturn rises that evening around sunset and is up all night, following bright Spica, in Virgo, across the sky. The planet will be its brightest in five years, but rather low. Don’t miss its April 25 rising, when a full moon comes up below it. Look high in the south after nightfall in April to see the majestic form of Leo. Outlining its head is the backward question mark-shaped Sickle, anchored by Regulus, Leo’s brightest star. If skies are dark, scan with binoculars just west of Leo, about halfway between Regulus and Pollux (the nearer Gemini twin) for the lovely Beehive star cluster. It’s also called Praesepe, the manger. Near the cluster

are two stars called the Aselli, or donkeys, feeding at the manger. The night of April 30-May 1 ushers in an old Celtic holiday called Beltane, one of four cross-quarter days falling midway between an equinox and a solstice. Beltane marked the start of the light half of the year. At sunrise on that day, the nasty spirits that had tormented humankind all winter were banished for six months— until Halloween. Late in May, Jupiter has a last hurrah with Venus and Mercury above the sunset horizon. The three planets begin the month with Jupiter to the upper left of Venus and Mercury to Venus’s lower right. Watch as Jupiter drops lower than Venus while Mercury shoots to the highest position. The grouping is tightest on the 26th. May’s full moon shines the night of the 24th-25th. It rises only about three hours before perfect fullness, so it will be gorgeous against the pale sky.


Towering Pines Canopy Tour

Towering Pines Canopy Tour at Gunflint Lodge  is the most exciting new way to experience the  wilderness — get a bird’s-eye view plus a thrilling ride through the treetops! It’s a two-and-a-half hour  nature adventure led by two sky guides. Open daily April 26th to November 11th. $79.00 per person  Call 218-388-2296 for reservations.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner available, too.

Gunflint Lodge is 43 miles up the Gunflint Trail from Grand Marais. Minimum age is 10; maximum weight/person is 240 lbs.




Unspoiled and Unforgettable


elcome to Golden Eagle Lodge, a family oriented, year round resort located on the historic Gunflint Trail of Northeastern Minnesota. We are on the north shores of Flour Lake surrounded by the Superior National Forest; as we are the only residents on the lake, you can look forward to the quiet and solitude offered only from the true wilderness setting. We offer modern, housekeeping cabins to ensure comfort during your stay in the North Woods. Each season has something special to offer; excellent fishing and canoeing in Summer and nationallyrenowned Nordic Cross-Country Skiing in Winter.

Our 4 Seasons page will describe in detail how each season can help shape your vacation. Try our 9-site campground which offers a quiet and personal service; each site comes equipped with water and electric hookups. We go out of our way to ensure every aspect of your visit will convince you to come back and see us again. We know much time, effort, and expense is invested in a vacation, and we would be honored if you considered us as your vacation destination. You won’t be disappointed!

“Quiet...Spectacular...Solitude, you’ll find it here in any season.” 800-346-2203 • 218-388-2203 · ·

April May Northern Wilds  

April May Northern Wilds

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