Friday, October 17, 2014

Crab Lake

Yesterday was a beautiful day that was made for taking a long hike. The aroma of Fall was in the air, the sun was shinning and more importantly was I finally on top of the work needed to close Rockwood for the season. 

I decided to take a couple of hours and hike the Crab Lake spur, over a section of the Border Route Trail and up the Bridal Falls. 

It turned out to be a fantastic hike. The Crab Lake spur was an easy trail that would be great for family hikes. The cutover trail from the east end of Crab Lake had a few wet spots but I managed to keep my feet dry. The views from the Border Route Trail overlooking Gunflint and North lakes were payback for the time I invested in hiking.

Gunflint Lake Narrows

Bridal Falls is next to the overlook at the Gunflint Lake Narrows. The hike turned out to be more of a challenge than was I was expecting. The sun sets early between the high ridges along this collection of trails. I made the hike in about two and a half hours but I really had to push my pace on the way back out.
North Lake

Monday, October 6, 2014

White Roofs, New Trail and Draining Waterlines

A week ago we were wearing shorts and basking in sunshine. The next day we had over night temperatures below freezing and a high daytime temperature in the thirties. Yesterday we woke up to snow on the roofs and had to find an ice scraper to clear our windshield. Minnesota constantly suprises us wide daily weather variations.

The cold weather is Nature's way of reminding us that the waterlines here at the Lodge have to be drained in order to avoid having to repair broken line next Spring. Draining all the water from the cabins and blowing water out of the cabins and mainlines is a four day task. Our air compressor and the horse that hauls it around to the cabins certainly get a workout.

To keep cabins open for the last couple of weeks we had to put tarps and fiberglass insulation on all of our exposed water valves. (There are 32 metal valves that have to be covered to keep the water/valves from freezing.)  Buried waterlines, below the frost line, are not an option when you live on Ledge Rock.

After we wrap up work on the waterlines we'll start winterizing the sewer systems. Meanwhile we still find a little time to play. The new Moss Lake Trail is officially open.  Until the trail becomes "worn in" we would rate it as difficult. Be sure to check with someone locally for trail conditions before heading out on this hike.

We don't expect the lake to freeze over until after Thanksgiving. We still have a lot of activities to keep us busy -- Stream Trout fishing season is open until the end of October and the netting season for Whitefish is just around the corner. Meanwhile, a few guests have already book stays in our winterized suite. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Summer Days

It finally seems like Summer has arrived here in the Northwoods. We have been putting out a lot of canoe trips and the cabins are nearly always full. The days are warm but it cools off in the evening making it easy to get to sleep after spending a day outdoors. Everything moves a little slower now that the temperatures are getting higher. Well almost everything has slowed down -- the chipmunks have gone into high gear and are starting to store food for another long winter.

There is never enough!
 We're having an unusually August, some of our guest haven't heard that the fishing slows down as the water warms up. Joe is passing out fishing tips and sharing some of his secret hotspot locations.  Two nights ago one of our cabin guest went out for an evening fishing trip recommended by Joe.  His picture shows what looks like a very successful fishing trip. (Joe and Maggie are already talking about coming back to Rockwood next year.)

Sometimes there is enough!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Under Attack by Mother Nature

South Lake Trail at Rockwood
  This past week we have been attacked along mutliple fronts!  A strong storm front came through the area about 3 am Monday morning and seriously damaged trees in both the BWCAW and at our Lodge. You can barely see the South Lake Trail sign and the path from our drive up to the Gunflint Trail
for the down trees. The force of the wind actually broke one of the picture windows in our house. Nothing but wind touched our home but there are 8 large trees on the ground within 3 to 10 feet of our house.

Paddlers are reporting that trees are also down along most of the portages. The portages are still open but Mother Nature has added a few obstacles to make things more interesting. Many of the locals believe that this was the worse storm to have hit the Gunflint Trail area since the blowdown in 1999.

On Saturday a bear showed up in camp and managed to search every garbage can for goodies. What a mess! When the bear came back again we had already emptied the cans before his arrival. Hopefully after finding empty cans he will stay away for a while. It is really hard to explain why he is even here since we are experiencing a bumper crop of blueberries this year.

The good news is that the mosquito attacks are less intense.  Lake levels are finally dropping and the mosquito breeding puddles are drying up. The evening "humming period" is starting later and ending sooner.   

Monday, June 23, 2014

Gunflint Trail Moose Are Plentiful in 2014

Moose are out in great numbers this year along the Gunflint Trail and surrounding area! And while that news is wonderful in its own right, what is even more encouraging is the number of calf sightings so far in 2014. Nearly every cow moose spotted this year has had at least one calf trotting by its side, with multiple reports and sightings of a large cow with two healthy calves at her side. Yearling moose appear to be moving away from their mothers and are exploring on their own, such as the young bull (male) in this photo. He was spotted browsing through a meadow about 1.5 miles from Rockwood Lodge.

Moose are among the most popular animals along the Gunflint Trail, and these early-summer sightings are great news for both the present and the future of the moose population in our area!