|Boundary Waters Canoe Area- The Ultimate Outdoor Experience|
The first show of the season has come and gone. Considering all the snow that covered the roads, we had some really good traffic of interested groups come by our booth. We have already booked half the summer! We still have some prime dates open and there are still great entry point permits available. But they are going fast…so we suggest that if you are thinking about a trip you should contact us ASAP and we can talk about your options. We had two clients who volunteered their day helping at the booth, Tom Hector and Jill Powers they both did a great job and we thank them again for all their hard work.
We really enjoyed seeing all the past clients and hearing them relive their adventures. I must admit while going over all the stories I realized that there was not one trip that didn’t have a sense of adventure, a fishing story or some sort of wildlife encounter. I realized how lucky I really am to be able to bring people into this area and give them memories that they and I will never forget. We thank you all, for you are as much a part of it as us.
Now we are looking forward to our next show: the Outdoorama February 26th through March 1st at Rock Financial Showplace Center in Novi, MI. Click here to see Showspan's website We will have some past clients working the show with us again, so you can get firsthand account of their experience. Come by our booth and we will be happy to review your routes as well as answer any other questions you may have. Plus, you have to check out the show special- it can’t be beat! With the condition of the Michigan (and national) economy, we made sure that anybody can afford a trip of a lifetime. We have included a 4 day trip show special this year.
We are also trying something a little different this year. We have small groups of people that are interested in joining other small groups then we can give the show discount to the entire group. We will try to make them compatible with each other. This is something that I am really interested in…meeting new people with similar interest’s on a wilderness adventure. After all, variety is the spice of life. All interested people please contact us.
February’s Photo Contest
Now that we have all the fish contests over we are moving onto the photography contests. There will be four categories, Plant life, Wildlife, Scenery and People. This month’s category is Plant life. We started with this one because it was an easy one. We still went over all the photos but when we saw this one we knew it was a winner.
This month’s winner is Steve Dickinson with this beautiful photo of a group of Harebells along the shoreline of Lac La Croix. While going over all of Steve’s photos it was easy to see that he is definitely an accomplished photographer.
February's History Lesson
We cannot get into the political issues of the B.W.C.A because there are hundreds of issues and court cases involved in the making of this area. So we will stick to the basic history of the area.
Unlike today's travelers to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness of Minnesota, and the Quetico Provincial Park of Ontario, Canada, Native Americans knew no limitations. Travel permits, international boundaries and use restrictions did not hinder their travels.
The vast wilderness which encompasses the Boundary Waters and Quetico Park has seen many different tribes of Native Americans. As early as 11,000 years ago pre-historic Indians first roamed the shores of Lake Agassiz which at one time covered much of northern Minnesota and extended well into Canada. As the Native American cultures grew and developed, Huron, Chippewa and Cree traveled the paths and waterways. Soon those tribes were displaced by the Dakota and finally, by the Ojibway (or Ojibwe) people. Each people left behind remnants of their heritage for all to discover and enjoy.
Symbolic reminders of past accomplishments, pictographs, a reddish brown rock painting, depict hunting parties, Native American mythology, and wildlife. Examples of pictographs can be seen on the Basswood River, Agnes Lake, Kahshahpiwi Lake, Kewatin, Payne, Hulburt, LacLaCroix, Fishdance, Hegman and in many other areas. Most require a minimum of 1 to 2 travel days to reach the pictograph areas.
Lac La Croix Pictographs
As the European influences reached the Northwood’s, fur trappers and traders harvested a bounty of furs. Trading with the Native Americans and fellow European adventurers, the Voyageurs traveled the waterways collecting beaver, mink and other fur bearing animals hides to send to Europe. The unlimited and renewable resource helped to fire the fashion industry which provided beaver top hats, capes, muffs and other desirable goods for the fashion conscious of Europe.
Voyageurs traveled the smaller inland waters in birch bark Northern canoes approximately 25 feet in length. The selection of Voyageurs was intense. It was indeed an honor to be chosen. Since the canoes had a limited carrying capacity height was important. Frustrated was the young man who grew to a height of more than 5'6". A singing voice for passing the time was also important. Strong shoulders and legs for carrying two packs weighing over 90 pounds each was also a must.
Typical season found the Voyageurs leaving their winter posts in the Canadian Northwest in mid-May. Traveling the smaller inland waters in their Northern canoes, the Voyageurs typically reached their” rendezvous” point at Grand Portage by mid to late summer. The Voyageurs carried with them their collected stores of furs. Their counter parts also began their travels in mid-May from Montreal. Montreal canoes where 36 feet in length and carried the food stuffs and trade goods that would be exchanged for the furs. After the exchange was made at Grand Portage, both parties returned to the winter posts before the winter storms set in.
Continued growth and colonization of the New America soon brought the lumber industry to our area. Although much of the area was logged off during the late 1800's and early 1900's, pristine timber stands still exist. The discovery of rich deposits of iron soon brought the mining industry to Northeastern Minnesota. Underground mines still exist and are located outside of the wilderness areas.
Present day Ely offers a variety of adventures for all walks of life. Museums, hiking trails, resorts and of course, wilderness canoe trips allow visitors to experience our unique area according to their abilities and vacation desires.
The Untold Stories ...
On a trip a few years ago, I was with a small group on an island and one of the women in the group threw some bread in the water for the minnows to feast on. Within a few minutes, a turtle showed up and it didn’t take that turtle long to smell that bread. As each minute passed, more and more showed up and I was perplexed- “what is going on?” As the sun was going down, there were at least 30 turtles out there of all sizes playing in the shallows; they looked to be Blanding and Snapping turtles. Then it all became clear as they made their way to shore… turtle love was in the air. They were coming up into the campsite making nest everywhere. There were so many making nests that we were worried about stepping on them in the dark on our way to the latrine. When they would dig their nest’s it would take hours and they were in a sort of trance, we could practically touch them and they wouldn’t move.
That island is now known as Turtle Island.
Soudan Underground Mine
A century slips by when you visit this park. Visitors wear hard hats and journey down 2,341 feet via a "cage." On the 27th level, the transportation shifts to a rail car for a ride back into the mine as you listen to the stories of the mining days. Above ground visitors can explore the dry house, drill shop, crusher house and engine house. Visitors also can walk the boardwalk past one of the deepest open mine pits or hike the trails in the park through a northern hardwood conifer forest, past the famous Soudan Iron Formation.
Historic Tour: The tour leads visitors through the world of underground mining. Visitors don hard hats and enter a "cage" for the descent into the mine. The 1 1/2-hour mine tour will take you half a mile down into the earth. Once underground you will be treated to a 3/4 mile train ride to the last and deepest area mined. The mine is 50°F year-around, so remember to bring a warm jacket or sweater and sturdy shoes. Public tours run from Memorial Day through the end of September. The park offers group tours to schools, colleges, organizations and businesses. There is a charge for the underground mine tour.
Physics Tour: The Soudan Underground Laboratory is the leading deep underground science and engineering laboratory in the United States today. Scientists from around the world have been working at Soudan for 25 years trying to answer basic questions about the Universe in which we live: Is matter completely stable? What is the nature of the fundamental forces? Can we identify the Dark Matter that seems to permeate our Universe? Learn about our first neutrino events using the neutrino beam from Fermilab and see the massive MINOS detector (Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search). Learn about CDMS (Cryogenic Dark Matter Search) and its continued search for a WIMP (Weakly Interacting Massive Particles). Soudan Underground Laboratory
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|2566 Marchar Wolverine Lake, Michigan 48390