Outdoors Posts

Vignettes of the Northwoods

The Voyageurs Wolf Project has been the source of some of northern Minnesota’s best trail-camera wildlife videos in recent years. The latest release is a montage of the very best.

The Institute for the Study of Light and Water: Another psychedelic weather report

Sunset a silent H-bomb

Now a burning Saturn, now an apricot pastel dab on slate. Sun zips the sky closed behind it as it goes, now dying, now resurrecting in orange creamsicle. Color cosmologies. Gold birch leaves rattle like paper coins. Leaves crunch, clatter, gather against curbs.

The Slice: Fall Colors at Downer Park

A look at the fall colors and the general peacefulness of the season in Downer Park, a 17-acre undeveloped space in Duluth’s Woodland neighborhood.

In its series The Slice, WDSE-TV presents short “slices of life” that capture the events and experiences that bring people together and speak to what it means to live up north.

Video: Fall Colors at Enger Park

Videographer Adam Jagunich captures the fall colors around Enger Tower in Duluth via his Yuneec Typhoon H Plus hexacopter.

Big, fat black bear montage / wolves eating blueberries

The folks at the Voyageurs Wolf Project keep rolling out the hits with their trail camera videos. Above, clips of the chubbiest bears in Voyageurs National Park this summer. Below, rare footage of wolves eating blueberries — and perhaps the first footage of a mom and her pup foraging for blueberries together.

Lean into Your Fear: Whitewater Rafting on the St. Louis River

This story is from my personal blog, “Marie’s Meanderings.” When I write a travel post, because my blog’s name has the word “meander” in it, I usually open by saying I “meandered” here and there.

Well, I can’t use that term this time. It’s more accurate to say I reluctantly agreed to go on a whitewater rafting trip down the St. Louis River and promised to scream all the way!

It all started when my friend Russ, who is an experienced kayaker, won a silent auction item at a fundraiser for the St. Louis River Alliance in 2018. He won two tickets for whitewater rafting through Minnesota Whitewater Rafting, a local company that operates out of Scanlon.

Upon my insistence, we agreed to wait for the trip until the water was warm, to make it a more comfortable experience. Now it was August, month of warm weather and water, and I was out of excuses not to go. We gathered everything the company’s information sheet instructed rafters to bring: a dry change of clothes, snug-fitting footwear, windbreaker, towel, etc. And off we went.

Paddling Blatnik

Selective Focus: John Keefover

John Keefover poses with the Northern Terminus sign after completing his thru-hike of the Superior Hiking Trail.

John Keefover is the Duluth-based nature photographer behind the photography business Keefography. This June, Keefover thru-hiked the Superior Hiking Trail, sharing photos, videos and journal entries along the way. Keefover used this adventure as an opportunity to raise funds for the Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center.

Wolf Pup Wrestling

This four-way battle royal is scheduled for one fall with a 43-second time limit. From Voyageurs National Park, each maybe weighing something like 25 pounds, they are the Half-Moon Pack.

The footage is from a Voyageurs Wolf Project trail camera.

Duluth Parks, Recreation, Open Space and Trails Plan

Duluth Parks and Recreation has released the draft Essential Spaces: Duluth Parks, Recreation, Open Space and Trails Master Plan. The 426-page PDF provides guidance on Duluth’s play spaces for the next decade and offers recommendations on how the city can “continue to support a healthy and vibrant community, enhance inclusion and equity, and advance environmental protection in our park system within a sustainable budget framework.”

On underwater microphones and the acoustics of Lake Superior

In this video, the Embassy‘s Sub Superior Festival (feat. Troy Rogers AKA Robot Rickshaw) teams up with Cafe Scientifique Twin Ports. They address the technical challenges of producing an underwater music festival, review favorite moments, and dream about the future of Sub Superior. Broadcast live from the Embassy’s secret Industrial Temple.

Duluth Kayak Rescue

Via WCCO-TV, reported July 15.

Late on the Water

I arrive at the paddleboard shop on Barker’s Island in Superior just before noon. Because I learned to paddleboard last spring, and because winters are long, I need a refresher on how to attach the folding seat and ankle strap to the board. (I don’t need a crash course on how to tie my shoes—they have Velcro straps.) Last year after I connected the seat and strap to my board, they stayed put until I deflated it in the fall. Heather, co-owner of North Shore SUP, helps me. (She’s friendly and supportive and would show me how to tie my shoes, if needed. It took me a long time to learn to tie them when I was a kid.)

It’s July 16, and I will paddleboard for the first time this summer. I’ve lost a month because a long, cold spring latched onto the heels of a long, cold winter. Toss in stormy weather plus the three days a week I provide daycare for my grandkids, and getting out on my board slid to the bottom of my list.

Lake Superior Whale Shark

 

Nantucket Sleigh Ride Via Loon

When I was young, my family went fishing on a lake south of Duluth. While casting our lines, we noticed a loon swimming nearby, calling in an unusual manner. As outdoorsy types, we had heard many loons before, but this one sounded more plaintive than normal, like it was in distress.

The loon kept circling near us, which was also odd for this rather standoffish species. My dad thought it needed help, so we canoed toward it.

We soon saw the problem. A homemade fishing pole crafted from a large branch trailed about fifteen feet behind the bird. My dad grabbed the pole, thinking he could just pull the loon toward us and find where the fishing hook was lodged.

Ha! He underestimated the power of the loon. Upon feeling the tug of the line, the loon took off and dove underwater. My dad kept his grip on the pole, and the loon proceeded to pull our canoe — and the three or four of us in it — through the water at a good clip.

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