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Outdoors Posts

Shrooming in Duluth’s Lake Place Park

A notable fairy ring of large white puffballs, ending with the biggest ‘shroom I’ve ever seen, bigger than a basketball or a human head. Lake Place Park.

Hansi Johnson’s “Photo that Won’t Die”

It was shot just a few hundred feet from Duluth’s Aerial Lift Bridge, but it evokes the spirit of being in a far more remote part of the planet. Hansi Johnson’s “photo that won’t die” is so-named because in recent years it’s been in Outside magazine, the Red Bulletin, the Italian news magazine Panorama, a few calendars and as Johnson notes, it’s “been ripped off and passed around more times than I care to admit.”

Add two more to the list: Men’s Journal recently included the image among its “25 Best Adventure Photos of the Past 25 Years.” The back cover of a new book from Outside magazine, “The Edge of the World,” also features the image.

The Weird Thing

What is… The Weird Thing? It can be seen bobbing up and down in the water just off Duluth’s Lakewalk, between Fitger’s and the Vietnam Memorial. Could it be… the 125-year-old ruins of Duluth’s first breakwater wall? Spoiler Alert:

SUP Yoga on Lake Superior

I teamed up with Padma Yoga teacher Emily Ostos to make this. Stand Up Paddleboard supplied by Duluth SUP.

Searching for a Distressed Citizen’s Lost Glasses in Lester River

I got a distress call the other day. A citizen fan of my Lake Superior Aquaman page wrote me saying, “While swimming in the Lester River (at the spot where it’s like a little swimming hole, right before the first bridge that leads to the park) my husband dived off one of the rocks and lost his glasses. Another younger boy lost his goggles… what are the chances that they fell into the bottom of the hole made by the waterfall? We tried to go down but I couldn’t see or hold my breath that long lol.” So I offered to help, for am I not … Lake Superior Aquaman?

Pollywog Party in Canoe Country

While paddling the border lakes in canoe country, Dawn LaPointe and Gary Fiedler of Radiant Spirit Gallery came upon a treasure of tadpoles at a portage landing.

Dog Cam

I met Dozer and his owner Ian yesterday at Duluth’s epic rock beach, the Ledges. Ian’s buddy was also named Ian, and in addition to jumping off rocks as shown, he instagrams here @ILVisuals. Dozer was remarkable for his enthusiasm for swimming and for biting waves.

Deeper Fish Cam

 

Not much happened for 45 minutes at 15+ feet deep, but I did get this. Going back today! This is the area shown in this video where there is a channel between two giant boulders. I wedged the camera-on-a-stick between some rocks and left it there. Lots of boat traffic not too far away and that is the noise you hear. Fish Cam pt. 1 here.

Tree Life

My favorite tree in Duluth hangs right over the lake at the water’s edge, down below Leif Erikson Park. It’s a great place to bring a cup of coffee and get some living done.

How to Get In the Water 2

The sequel.

Merganser Cam

Finally got that merganser footage! These are juvenile Common Mergansers, diving waterfowl. They were with an adult with a red head and darker feathers. [Video stills here.]

How to Get in the Water

Fish Cam

I saw a family of mergansers diving in shallow water (~18 inches deep) by these rocks where I’d seen little fish before. After the birds had gone, I set my camera down there for an hour and 40 minutes in three different locations. Here I have condensed all the fish that swam by = three minutes of footage. If you wonder what mergansers eat, this is like a drive-thru restaurant for them. I would appreciate any help with identifications, there are at least 4-5 species represented.

Responding to a comment about how some of the fish seem curious about the camera, part of the reason may be it is simply blocking their way. This area of interspersed boulders is a maze-like bunch of trails for them to zoom around in all day. To keep my camera from floating, I had to pile rocks on top of it, essentially blocking one of their thoroughfares. Several fish come up to it in transit and squeeze over top of it or around, others turn back and go the way they came, adjusting their regular routes.

Lastly I will add that several times, pairs of fish (I don’t know what kind they are) seem to be playing. I think these may be the same pairs each time they appear. I have named the most prominent ones Herbert and Gerbert.

Dead Chipmunk Floats By

Spent all day setting up the underwater camera to get the mergansers diving in the area, but they were pretty uncooperative. Then this dead chipmunk floated by, so the day wasn’t a total waste haha. Anyway you can see what I’d wager is a talon wound on its side. Chipmunks live (and die I guess) all along the water’s edge, I frequently hear their signature chirping. Lots of vegetal flotsam in the water today too.

Survey of Lake Superior’s Summer Tidepools