Sunday, May 25, 2008

Andy Ahrendt and Andy Arndt

Today, Tuscarora guest Andy Arndt returned from a canoe trip. Andy and Andy were good sports about posing for a photo (see Andy A on the left, and Andy on the right). I thought that they’d have a chance to chat about the name thing---but really they talked about the fishing on Little Sag, the weather, Andy’s trip….

None of spontaneous chatter/questions I expected ….Did you ever mind being so close to the first one in the alphabetical seating chart? Do people mistake your name for Art? Do you get jokes about aren’t=are not? Did you mind that your first and last names start with A? What do you think about the initials AA? They never even compared middle names!

I believe they were just humoring me anyhow, but I’m sure it will be a different scene when Andy sends his mother Sue up for a visit….no kidding.

Making Memorial Weekend Memories

Splendid weekend for paddling and fishing........ added bonus--no bugs.

The Bowers family took the Snipe loop.....

Mike Mulligan gets a full soloshot, our goodwill gesture because he was cropped out of all of the Gunflint Green Up brochures, and we think he's one of the good guys anyhow.

Hearty travelers.

Joe and Dan spent the weekend in the boat....

Lucky us! Les and Pauline took an impromptu trip up from Iowa and ended up in Cabin 6. (Note their optimistic sunglasses to match their optimistic attitudes---and sure enough the sun came out Sunday afternoon in time for them to swim.)

Longtime favorite staff member, Grand Marais youth soccer coach, outfitting expert Noah brought his Grandma for the weekend. Gladys cleaned up on cribbage in the crew cabin---taking on any willing opponent----Noah pitched in and shared some outfitting wisdom with new staff members.
Wonderworkers Cass and Lindsay cleaned the trucks. It was a great weekend for just about anything!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Another Detour for Jim Colbert!

Jim Colbert from Iowa State wins the prize for canoe trip detours, 2 years in a row. Last year we set up a detour for him, and Jim Holz and their biology students. They put in on Poplar in May, because the Ham Lake fire kept them out of our neck of the woods. They camped on Omega---the fire was 12 miles away when they started out….and they wondered if it was still 12 miles away?????--but not---and they were escorted out through Brule Lake.

This year, Jim and two students were good Samaritans as they escorted a camper in trouble all the way from Little Sag. Then they had some soup, stocked up on fresh cookies and Mountain Dew (in the Nalgene bottles, of course, model BWCA campers that they are) and headed right back. We hope that they are back on Little Sag right now! We really like these guys---and bet that they’ll sleep well tonight!!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Minnesota Bird Feeder

No bears at Tuscarora this spring---just Denali. My brother sent me an update from another spot in Minnesota...
Ever worry about squirrels getting into your bird feeder? Well, look at this.

Don't Worry About the Ice

We're having beautiful spring weather--the word is that ice is gone everywhere. With the exception of a sheet on Saganaga that is causing a few detours, but not stopping anyone. That pesky sheet should be gone any minute now. No worries!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Fishing Opener Pioneers Return

The first hearty groups returned yesterday and today---happy to have been the pioneers, all have had their fill of Lake Trout!

  • A mother moose gave birth to twins on the shore of Rib Lake-
  • Tuscarora was frozen to the edges on Friday so John Ewerts group floated/towlined their canoes along the shore (where they couldn't paddle) to the Little Sag portage. Tuscarora is all open now.
  • Fishing was great in the Peter/Gabi/Gillis areas. John Ohman's group really enjoyed the views around Peter--their favorite part of the trip. He called it a mountain lake---and can't wait to come back and explore. The moose are plentiful, the scenery is so different. They loved that.
  • On Friday Gillis was also an ice adventure to paddle---and they could only get through on the north side of the lake to the French Lake portage.
  • A few sunburns, stories of a snowy Saturday morning, unanimously happy campers.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Purple Poplar Morning

The lake looked purple this morning--the bark on the poplar trees turns purplish before the leaves pop. It's going to be a day!
Yesterday we opened the shower house and the dining hall--the 2008 paddling season has begun.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

First Annual Ham Run Half Marathon

We had a great day for the half marathon and 5k races on Sunday May 4th. The sun was out, the runners were cheerful, all went smoothly for this first annual event. I was part of the Transportation Team---I’ve never been part of the organazional side of a run like this. The runners that I shuttled were very pleased with the logistics, surprised that all could run so smoothly for a “first event.”

I had to smile as I watched Mike and Sue Prom, Tom Lynch, Bob Baker---with all the people involved with their radios and their logistics. They were running this with the same procedural structure as a fire incident---of course it ran smoothly, they’ve had LOTS of practice with that! The happy runners were already looking forward to bringing their friends next year….better get training!!!

Jana claimed that she and Mike weren't in a race, they were on a date.

Gunflint Pines hosted the start of the race.

The Trail's End Band played for the Ham lunch following the races.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Ice Out

Daniel went out paddling on Round the evening of May 4th and took some photos:

Still plenty of ice at the start.

But he watched it melt as he paddled.

And took photos of the reflections. Nothing like still waters.

Today, only one soggy sponge layer is left out in front of us on Round Lake (10am). Andy and Shelby paddled to Missing Link last night: no ice on Missing Link. The way is clear into Tuscarora!! Bigger lakes are also breaking up----the ice just can't hold up against the intense sun we're getting today!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Gunflint Green Up

I remember last year- Saturday, May 5th, 2007 we woke up ready to scurry around and prepare for an upcoming season when the Ham Lake fire interrupted our busy important plans. Nearly one year later, ---we woke on Saturday May 2nd ready to scamper around and help with the big Gunflint Green Up tree planting event in our neighborhood. 2-3 inches of snow were on the ground. OH NO! We had to laugh, even as we sympathized for those who had spent months preparing to make the event absolutely perfect What now???
We were reminded AGAIN that we don’t have all that much control---(how is it that we can forget that, living where we live?—so dependent upon weather, and ice and wind….) We’re like hamsters in a little wheel, our tasks can seem so very significant…and here we were---what else could we do but let it snow?
At 9:30, the people came. Over slippery roads, in the snow. I understand more than 500, people of all ages, came to different sites along the Gunflint Trail.
And we worked, and the snow stopped, and the sun came out.
Our planting group had to cross a stream to get to our section of woods---we constructed a temporary bridge (my favorite part). Then we scurried around our assigned acres, planting white and red pines. On Saturday night, when all of the people gathered, it was an extraordinary experience to connect with so many who love these woods. I looked at all of these people who spent their day volunteering in this neighborhood, and I was grateful to be a piece of it. It felt as though we accomplished an awesome thing, bigger than all of us, even bigger than the sum of all of us. I was proud that my kids could be part of that. We can hope that in 100 years there will be a legacy for them, some of the 50,000+ white/red pines that we planted yesterday. But really, we don’t have control over that. The experience, the honor to be ingredients of this thing, that was enough.