Tuesday, January 29, 2008

2008 Beargrease Sleddog Marathon

As I passed through the Trail Center check point last night, I could see many dogs and handlers huddling up, trying to stay dry in the rain. It was an incredibly icy night, and school is cancelled today. I'm thinking the weather was most dissappointing for those dogs.
Check out http://www.blackmagickennels.com/ for info on the Beargrease, and some Grand Marais neighbors, Mark and Mary Black, who have a participating team.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Phone Troubles

We sincerely apologize for the inconveniences caused by the phones. If you have tried to contact us, but get no answering service and no phone line, then you know that the phones of the Gunflint Trail are out of service once again. We are still able to access our email, and will contact you as soon as we can.

Thank you for your patientce.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Andy and I spend so much time together we develop our own jargon. We began talking about "my pile" and "your pile" concretely---we were talking about piles of papers. "Just put the receipts on my pile" or "I'll take care of those permits---they are already in my pile." Later pile became a metaphor for worries or responsibilities...."don't worry about that, it's in my pile." Or who is getting the kids today? "your pile" etc.

Today I was thinking about responsibility piles---everybody has them. We strive to supervise our kids' piles ---to coach them as they learn to manage life's inevitable piles, but also we try keep their piles small enough so that they can experience carefree time……I remember in college, especially during finals, everybody went on and on, comparing their relative piles. Sometimes we'd have to listen to entire monologues about somebody's extensive pile....some were sure that they had the biggest pile of all.

With the adults I know, I sometimes wonder if it isn't more about perception than the actual size of the pile---some people show such grace with manageable piles, others are overloaded with endless piles. Are the sizes of our piles more a function of our personalities than the relative importance of what we do? Are we each destined to live our entire lives with the same sized pile?
Of course, we all experience times with emergency piles. Last week our concerns were for Daniel’s hockey coach and his wife. Their son was born prematurely (by C-Section) so that she (the mother) could then have open heart surgery. Whew, now they had a pile! Thankfully all went well. Those emergency piles put all into perspective for awhile, and certainly made the piles of snow that we moved around this week seem relatively insignificant (although still necessary).
Dad and Mary clear off the roofs as the heavy snow builds up.

Mom snowshoes trails between the buildings.

Even Denali takes her responsibility piles very seriously.

She has the self-appointed job of monitoring the bird feeder.

Spike the pine marten visits on chilly days.

Since the leaping and barking from inside the house doesn't scare him away, she does have to get outside and clear the area for the birds.
One day after school this week Daniel and I went skating on our Round Lake rink. The sunset was dazzling as we glided around, and when he stopped to ask me for a hug, the instant was so poignant that it gave me prickles behind my eyes. Sweet moments like that remind me to savor experiences , and not to let the apparent urgency of my piles interfere with the way I want to live.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Killer Trees

Becca (former staff member) is here for the month of January helping out. She and I (and Denali) trekked around Round Lake. Innitially we were looking for some big cat tracks (lynx or cougar?) reported by last weeks' cabin guests---we didn't find them, but we had a pleasant foggy walk---mostly on crusted snow, sometimes on slush.

We tried to uncover the mystery of a bloody animal kill, but we weren't very successful with even an educated guess.

Then we hiked the shorline beyond the Lodge.
There is actually pink flagging tape that says Killer Tree Killer Tree Killer Tree on it, --a couple of big dangerous trees were flagged with the Killer Tree tape this summer. My kids love that---they take their friends out to see the Killer Tree that has fallen in the woods...that one that still has the tape, but has lost its killer potential.
Becca and I braved 10 minutes with the Standing Killer where the critters clearly use the hollowed out root tunnels.

The happy woodpeckers have turned it into a cribbage board.

The fire burned out the core (this photo was angled up the trunk. I didn't put my head in the Killer Tree, just the camera.)
This is one cool white pine.

Friday, January 4, 2008


We had a great afternoon sweeping out 2007, and welcoming in 2008 on the Round Lake broomball rink.

Notice that Monica is keeping her eye on the ball while defending me (while I was down) against any possible bullies on the opposing team.

With over 40 inches of snow this season, we're all enjoying the winter sports.

Consider joining us for Winter Tracks Festival 2008, in February. Activities include Saturday afternoon broomball at Tuscarora.