Sunday, June 26, 2011

Laudeamus Te

"............Oh may we live each day in constant see all of life as simple pleasures.....Laudeamus te"
It's a song I know.......that describes the Magnetic Rock Trail and all of the wildflowers in bloom right this minute. I sat up there yesterday.......thinking......everybody everywhere should experience this. Every color, not just yellow. It defines splendor. Photo courtesy of Lori Fewer---and my niece Maria.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Daisies in the Rain

Guess what news snuck up on us already? The invasive species of the daisies are blooming-

In the resort business, happy people come and go, some familiar friends, some new--- and all the stories pile up. It's way too much for me to record.
We sure get to hear about a lot of camping trips.

This nice California family took me on a trip through Ham Lake and Cross Bay, Snipe and Missing Link. They plan to visit all 50 states, have checked off 21...and are doing Minnesota this year. Lucky for us.

Stuart from North Carolina took the kids climbing again --along with their friend Ailee. It was my job to take the photos, and this year--and that was AOK with me.

While you're not allowed to bring cans or glass bottles into the BWCAW, there are no limits on the size of your jumbo plastic State Farm coffee mug.

We sure enjoy hearing about canoe trips.

Alan might be the shortest one in his group, but he caught the tallest Northern......more than 30 inches, from Round Lake.

The staff is really starting to gel. We like this whole teamwork synergy thing....a lot.

Did I mention how much we like to hear about canoe adventures?

It's an honor to meet so many charming people.

Happy staffers Andrew and John returned from an impromptu trip into Larch Lake with a fine catch. In fact, John (who has since been known to me as Juan, as he's now supporting a fine mustachio) is the current leader of the staff fishing contest (I'm still betting on Maggie).

6 guys, 2 families, 3 generations......Sheldon and his dad Carl are favorites of ours, and not only because of the name Sheldon. We met them back in 2004, when Sheldon's son was only an idea.

We get the lowdown on the campsites and the lakes.

Lunchtime around here is a high point of the day--Haley, Anne, and Rachel, Megan, Shelby have all taken turns cooking--and it's tasty and funny and loud at the same time.

Yesterday though, I just needed a half an hour to hear myself think, and I took the lunch break to go for a run in the rain.
The thing is, among these hundreds of life stories that touch us, there are some really sad ones.
Life can be hard on people we care about, and sometimes it feels like it might be too much.

Then, I noticed the daisies. Daisies are my favorite flower. They're so plucky, they're sunshine, even when it's raining. Are they oblivious to the rain? Or do they soak up what they can, and just keep on shining? I know they're not supposed to be here, I know they're a noxious weed. I know that there will always be some sad stories. But I'm glad there will also be daisies , the most resilient flowers that I know. It's OK by me if they invade.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Wolf Bait

Shelby was driving us up the Gunflint Trail Tuesday night when she had to pull over and wait for a mother moose herd two little guys across the road. We chatted about how difficult it can be for one mother to protect twins--or other multiples against wolves....I've heard some people call the 2nd calf "wolf bait."

Then on Wednesday morning, Peter, (staffer from Hungry Jack outfitters) stopped by in his funky painted car. He had just paddled out of Brant Lake, and he shared his photos and story with us (all photos credited to Peter.)

He was really surprised to see a mother and two calves swim from the point right in front of him, to another shoreline on Brant Lake.

He took some photos of them, before he looked back at the point, wondering why they had left so abruptly.

He found another subject for his photos. Yikes! Thanks Peter.
As far as he could tell, the calves got away safely............this time. Beautiful animals, all of them, just trying to make a living like everybody else.

Monday, June 13, 2011

My First Trip of A Summer Adventure

By staffer Carl Hoeg

This summer I came to Tuscarora to enjoy a final summer before entering the “Real World”. Come December I will be finishing graduate school and be faced with the prospect of finding a normal 9-5 job, thus I decided that instead of looking for a summer internship I wanted to spend my summer somewhere exciting and adventurous, so I came to work at Tuscarora Outfitters on the Gunflint Trail. Here I expected to work hard but also to spend my time off exploring the wilderness of Northern Minnesota and the BWCA.

Two weeks ago another staffer, Andrew Yates, and I went on our first overnight BWCA trip of the summer. Neither Andrew nor I had seen much of the area around Tuscarora so we decided the goal of our trips was to "Make Tracks" and see as much of the surrounding area as we could during our day off. I would have to say that we were completely successful in our goal as in 23 short hours (12 of which we were making camp) we covered 22 portages (totaling over 1,300 rods), 21 total miles and over 20 different lakes!

Picture #1: Our Route (Click to expand it)

We set out at 3:00 pm after work on Monday (May 31st) from Round Lake and headed to Tuscarora Lake, where we had originally planned to camp for the night. On our way we got to do the legendary Tuscarora Portage, which depending on which map you consult is anywhere from 360-425 rods (anyway you look at it, that is long and over a mile). A personal point of pride is that I carried our aluminum canoe over the entire portage! When we got on Tuscarora it was still early and we had favorable winds so we decided to keep going instead of making an early camp. The result was we were able to make it to Crooked Lake and find a suitable campsite by around 6:00 pm. In camp we enjoyed the delights of expired dehydrated foods (which we get for free from Tuscarora Outfitters as they cannot sell it to clients), a campfire, a beautiful sunset, and starry night (complete with loon calls and beaver tail slaps).

Picture #2: Me at Tuscarora Lake (After the big Portage)

Picture #3: Camp Site at Crooked Lake

Tuesday morning (June 1st) we got up at sunrise, packed up camp, and were canoeing again by about 6:00 am. As there had been decent winds the day before we decided we wanted to get out early in order to get to Little Saganaga before any major winds camp up (Little Sag is a big lake, despite its name, and unfavorable winds would have made canoeing it very difficult). When we arrived at Little Sag the wind was just getting going for the day, but lucky for us it was mostly at our back. As the wind increased we decided that we would take a chain of smaller lakes back to Tuscarora Outfitters in the afternoon as opposed to going into other big lakes such as Gabimichigambi and Peter Lake. The result of this decision was a lot of portages! Despite our aluminum canoe though we only had one big pack and a small backpack so there was no double portaging for us.

Picture #4: Sunrise at Crooked Lake

Picture #5: Portaging away from Little Saganaga to Virgin Lake (Senic Overlook of Little Sag)

Our final stop on our trip was on Bat Lake, where we stopped for a quick lunch at midday, before we finishing the last leg of our journey that afternoon.

Picture #6: View of Gillis Lake from Portage to Bat Lake

Overall it was a great first trip! We managed to see a big portion of the BWCA that is right in our backyard. It is great having seen all these lakes as many of them are ones that our clients here at Tuscarora are constantly going on trips to, thus now when they ask us questions ahead of time or tell us about their trip afterwards we will be more knowledgeable about the area. Finally it is good to know that it still only mid-June and that there will be many more trips yet to come as a part of this summer adventure in the BWCA.