Snowmelt 2 shows the same area of Chester Creek as Snowmelt 1, but preceding it chronologically, so this video should really be called Snowmelt 1.
As part of the One River, Many Stories project, Lake Superior Magazine’s April/May issue features Molly Hoeg’s profile of Clough and Spirit islands, titled “One River, Two Islands: A History & Culture Tour on the St. Louis River.”
From centuries-old bloody battles between Ojibwe and Dakota, to fist-fight riots at a resort in the late 1800s, through to modern-day habitat restoration, the history of the two islands is colorful and deep.
“Modern-day paddlers clearly feel this aura around Spirit Island just as they feel drawn to explore and enjoy Clough Island,” the story concludes. “Knowledge of both islands’ histories enriches any journey along the river. Cleaving its water with kayak or canoe, they paddle between two cultures, between the past and the future and between the heart of the forest at the river’s beginning and the vast expanse of the inland sea at its end.”
What kind of kid notices that? I thought she was kidding. Then, I looked at my left hand. No ring.
I spent the next hour swimming with a scuba mask trying to pull off a miracle. The lake water looks like tea because of the tannins. Or maybe even darker like root beer. As I swam down, I could barely see. I hoped to see a little glint in the gravel. It never happened.
So, now I wear a replacement ring. The ring I put on twenty years ago sits at the bottom of the Whiteface Reservoir, a permanent part of the St. Louis River watershed. I sit like Gollum on the dock, sip my gin and tonic, gaze out over the water, and wonder about my precious. My precious.
When I was a kid, I didn’t notice things like rings on my dad’s hand. But I noticed his finger and where it pointed on the topo map. It was deer season in Plymouth, New Hampshire. I was in high school and an important part of the game plan to fill the freezer with venison.
“I’m going to sit here at the top of this drainage,” my dad said. “You walk down the road on this side of the ridge to here. Come over the ridge and walk up the drainage toward me. If you hear a shot, sit down for five minutes. Then, when you hear two shots, it means I found the deer and you can walk to me.” He said drainage so much during the huddle, I thought he was talking about nasal passages instead of a small mountain valley.
Just two weeks ago Perfect Duluth Day linked to a New York Times article about Ralph Plaisted’s 1968 expedition to the North Pole by snowmobile. Yesterday the online infotainment website Deadline reported producers Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen and actor Will Ferrell will make a movie about the Minnesota adventurers.
“They’ve acquired Guy Lawson’s article for The New York Times Magazine, with a title that tells you everything you need to know: ‘Ice Pack: An Insurance Salesman and a Doctor Walk Into a Bar, and End Up at the North Pole,’ Deadline reports. “They will build the film around Ferrell.”
This is my contribution to the One River, Many Stories project, and is epic as ever. Right here, on this fascinating island within the St. Louis River estuary, a millionaire built a large vacation home and an impressive farm that may have been the largest in the area. Here they harvested 3,500 bushels of wheat in a season, kept pigs, trained numerous racing horses, tended a herd of black angus cows, kept 40 brown swiss milking cows at one time, had 500 sheep, cared for an enormous vegetable garden, and much much more.
This was a quest to uncover remnants of the past and be immersed into an incredible story. What I discovered on kayak, on foot, and by personally meeting the author of the only book on the subject, was most surprising. See more at Ed’s Big Adventure, and perhaps be inspired to see this place for yourself.
Can anyone recommend good spots for stargazing in and around Duluth? I’m sure there are many places out of town along the shore, but which spots do you recommend and why? Thank you.