Wednesday, May 6, 2015

First Visitors -- Early May

The ice came off Poplar Lake late Saturday.  Joe and Maggie were here to help us start getting the cabins ready for guests. That evening after work they went out for a drive and encountered a large bear.  As luck would have it, their camera was back in the cabin. Later that night Maggie had a unexpected guest pay them a visit. A large bull moose walked within 6 feet of their cabin and checked them out! Once again, the shock of seeing a large animal up close chased away all thoughts about taking a picture.

The first human visitors to show up this season were not interested in paddling, camping or staying in a cabin. However, they did manage to paddle around a couple of the islands out on Poplar Lake before they departed. They were working on a short film about Rockwood Lodge and they are probably the first people to ever fly a drone over Rockwood Bay. We hope that they got a great shot along our frontage and we now have a new story to pass along.

Our first cabin and bunkhouse guests are scheduled to arrive tomorrow. I plan on turning the water system on today. I still need to get the sign along the Trail painted and put back up so that they can find us.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Finally, Spring Thaw

Rockwood Bay       April 27, 2015

The ice is starting to disappear of Poplar Lake! Overnight the open water refreezes but it opens again a little earlier every day.  Best of all, the distance to the ice pack from the shore is increasing daily!

Joe and Maggie are returning this year and should be here this weekend to help us with "Spring Cleaning". It will be only few more days before I get brave enough to turn the water on to the cabins so we will have to haul water to the cabins. I still remember when one of our friends turned the water on at their resort and froze everything. It took three weeks before they got all of their cabins up and running. 

Channel Between Cabin #9 and Island

It really looks like we'll get to have fishermen here this year for "Opener Weekend." Last year the ice was still on parts of Poplar Lake until May 18th. Joe is planning on going trout fishing the first day that the fishing season opens. By Memorial Day Weekend he have lots of recommendations on where to fish -- based on first hand experience. I haven't told him that I plan to leave him here at the Lodge while I spend some time fishing for Lake Trout up on Seagull Lake with some friends.


Saturday, April 4, 2015

Retirement is Over

Daffodils and Crocuses popping up through the last traces of snow are a sure sign that Winter is almost over for people who live where winter is a little less intense. When you live  along the Gunflint Trail you know that Sping is near when the snow level starts to drop and aluminum canoes start to show. Lin and I are starting to get everything ready for "opener" this week. Progress will be slow until the snow is gone --  then it becomes a rush to get everything ready before our guest start to arrive.

Some of our new outfitting supplies have already arrived: tents, sleeping pads, cook sets and sleeping bags. Eight new kevlar canoes, paddles, griddles and water filters have been ordered and should be here soon. Our driveway and the path down to our house are both still covered with ice. The delivery service drivers can not get back out if they drive down to our house. Instead, they leave packages for us to find and never come down to tell us that a delivery has been made. So far we have found some sleeping bags in the pickup bed, cook sets in the back seat of the car and inside the shop, packages hanging off the mail box and fry pans next to the shop door.  When the driveway clears the driver will leave the packages outside the Lodge door or on the covered porch at Outfitting.  

Friday, March 27, 2015

Spring into a Fall

This is the hardest time of the year to live up here in the Northland. The ice fishing season for Lake Trout is about to close. Almost nightly, the Minneapolis television stations show a piece on about people out jogging or about people out playing golf. We have already had a few calls and e-mails from people wanting to plan canoe trips in April. The outfitting equipment that we expect to need for this summer has already been ordered.

In a normal year, it is likely to be six more weeks before the ice is off Poplar Lake. But we always tell ourselves that it looks like the ice could be gone early this year. Now we have to wait for warmer weather so that we can get into the cabins and start getting them ready for this season. I wonder how many times I can organize my tackle box before the fishing opener arrives? I wonder if the lakes will be open by the fishing opener?

The warmer weather of a week ago has covered our driveway and paths with ice flows. I took a fall yesterday on the way to the mailbox and Lin doesn't go outside with her Yak Traxs. The water from the snowmelt that ponds between the remaining snowbanks along the driveway has turned into ice! The slick conditions have done nothing to stop our 11:00 daily visit from Mr. Fox.

Once I get over my fear of freezing waterlines, I like to start our season by getting the bunkrooms ready in early May for the Border Route Trail clearing crews. These are the folks who open and maintain the hiking trails in our area.  We are busy getting everything ready here at the Lodge in the Spring and don't have time to actually help wtih trail clearing but we try to do our part by giving them a warm place to stay before they go out to work.



Thursday, February 19, 2015

Fishing Seminars & Winter Camping

Last weekend, I did a couple seminars on "Fishing for Lake Trout in Wilderness Lakes" at the Fish Fest Fishing Show in Minneapolis. One of the points that I stressed was how easy it is to catch lake trout over the five week period after the ice goes out. In fact, here at Rockwood we often claim that if someone follows our recommendations that they can always catch a limit of Lake Trout in the third and fourth week after the ice is gone. We have a fantastic almost untapped fishery that is seldom promoted.

While it is definitely easier to catch Lake Trout in the early sping it is possible to catch them through out the year. We have had several guests staying in our Lakeside Unit that have ice fished for Lake Trout this winter that have done quite well. The weather forecast for this weekend is warmer and I plan on getting out for a couple of hours and catching dinner.

Winter Camper Parking

Last night was one of the coldest so far this winter with temperatures in the minus thirties. We have five guys out winter camping during this cold spell. They have a winter tent and stove along with winter sleeping bags. However, finding enough firewood to keep warm could be a full time task.