A little blue sauna on a trailer began popping up around Duluth late last year. The Hiki Hut has licensing similar to a food truck, but instead of food it’s serving up nourishing doses of heat and steam. Owners Whitney and Kelby Sundquist aim to encourage sauna appreciation as well as cultivate community.
Some winter evenings I stand on a lake’s edge under bright-black Iron Range sky wondering about walking across that ice, over the train tracks along the far shore, into those woods, and away. What if I wandered until weary, laid down under a pine tree, then breathed easy until one by one my atoms drifted off into moonlight and air? Could I become birch smoke? Would a resting black bear or hunting fox know me among everything else it inhales? Most often on those nights I just look at the outside from inside, through my mother-in-law’s living room window after everyone else has gone to bed. When the TV and lights are off I can see down her back yard and past the dock we pulled out of Colby Lake in October and will push back into it come late May or early June. Snow on lake ice glows blue-gray under black pine silhouettes. Sky glows black. Abashed by comfort and warmth, I tell myself to get dressed and ski out the eastern end of Colby into the Partridge River. Or ride fat tires across Whitewater Lake or along the Bird Lake Trail or up and down the Moose Line Road. Then I admit my lack of will. Then I stand there for a couple more minutes, trying to make sure I can remember what that outside looks and feels like so my brain can reproduce the sensation long after the last time I’ve seen it. Then I go to bed and struggle to sleep.
Although Duluth is known for — and by some feared — for its winters, they tend to run together in our memories. Everyone who experienced it recalls the Mega Storm of 1991 and there was a long cold snap a few years ago, but by and large the various storms and other winter climate events are forgotten or the memories get mashed together.
So, in an effort to sort them out I tossed together a brief and somewhat vague list of some winter moments that have been marked on Perfect Duluth Day in the past (with links) or have been loosely referenced on the web as having been more wintery than other winters. (As the comments have come in I’ve added a few more links from Zenith City Online and notes regarding conditions of some years.)
Back in the day it was sometimes tough work just to get a drink. Above is an undated stereoview reproduction from an 1875 McKenzie original. The reverse reads: “Duluth, Minn. in 1875. Mammoth Saloon, Jake Liedel, Prop. Lake Ave 2 blocks north of canal.”
Happy holidays! Jimi Cooper and Suzi Ludwig of Dance Attic bring the holiday cheer for this year’s PDD Christmas video. The song is from the band’s first album, tentatively scheduled for release in April.
Last weekend Spirit Mountain became (as far as we know) the first ski resort in North America to offer lift access fat-tire biking. Break out the fatbikes this Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and come ride with us!
Happy Homegrown Duluth! I had to send a contribution from afar. I wanted to premiere my first short film on PDD. It’s a spooky little thing filmed in Duluth during a brief visit I made in 2014. The soundtrack is by myself and Eric Lyman, we record as Pale Wall. This film may be best viewed around 3 a.m. with a warm blanket. Cheers.
If you want this in your collection I have artfully packaged DVDs available. Contact jhuntzinger @ gmail.com
I remember fondly tubing down a hill on Seven Bridges Road. You used to be able to rent tubes from the chalet. They have a nice lighted trail system for cross-country skiing at Lester Park. What would be needed to get the sled hill going again?
At left is Rich Narum’s shot of Superior Street; at right the view from Anna Montgomery’s side door. Has anyone had the guts to wreck a camera and try shooting outside instead of through glass? Not me!
The 12th Annual Winter Camping Symposium is now taking registrations. The purpose of the Winter Camping Symposium is to educate, collaborate and celebrate everything Winter! Winter campers and enthusiasts from around the region come together to share ideas and show off new creations which aid in the adventures of winter outdoor activities. From cold camping to hot camping, from kite sailing to building your own stove, from arctic adventures to sleeping in a quinsy in the backyard, from gear swaps to a chili feed, this event covers it all! Join us for a long weekend of camaraderie and exploration!