31 August 2006
After wandering up the Echo Trail I found myself spending the night right on the shore of Nils Lake. This followed my failing to take the advice that Fenske Lake Campground is always full of boaters. At least it did not cost anything and was rather comfortable.
I was up by 8 and bound for Ely hitting Zups Grocery for some food and then the city park where I cooked up eggs and Canadian bacon.
At 10 most of the town propieters open for business.
I seek out a yoke for my Mad River Escape 15 to no avail at Priagis. I need to be creative now. I visit the hardware stores in town to pick up some hardware for an improvised yoke. I then get waylaid looking at Boys' Life at an antique shop and other stores before I eventually buy a cooking pot at Canadian Border Outfitters and head up the to the Moose River entry point on the Echo Trail.
I think I arrive at 4:30 but it take me until almost 6 until I am on the water. This delay is mostly due to never having put together the Escape 15 (it's a folding canoe). Once out on the river I have a race with time.
Sunlight disperses after the 3rd portage. I get out my headlamp and paddle aimlessly down the river. Eventually I make it to a portion where I hear rushing water. This is not on the map and I cannot see where it is. Beavers are all around. I retrace my path to check if I missed a turn. I did not.
Out on the river, which had no solid banks I could see, I wandered about in the dark until I decided I would tether the canoe to into a convenient "beaver slip" to spend the night. My waterproof bivy bag came in handy as I attempted to get some rest in the bow of the canoe.
30 August 2006
On to the way to Ely I stopped by this chapel in Fosston. It provided a good respite from the road.
I spent the night prior in a little town called Mentor in the city park.
Unfortunately I also spent a great deal of time in Bemidji and my old adage, "Nothing good happens to me in Bemidji," proved true. It was there I discovered I left my Zip Stove and cooking untensils behind in Go. Enfuriated I sought replacements for the utensils but to no avail in Bemidji. Fortunately I packed, quite accidentally, my Peak1 gas stove.
Due to the Bemidji delay I arrived late in Ely. The grocery store and the Piragis Outlet were closed but just about everthing was open. Ely is camping gear heaven. Nearly every store has gear. Piragis' main store has the most variety. I gear up and then spend the night in the woods nearby. However, the next day I would be back in town.
28 August 2006
I spent the last week in one of America's biggest "wilderness hotels." Although they try to limit how many people get into this wild place it seems crowded for a wilderness area. I've had more solitude in non-wilderness areas. Nevertheless it was a good time albeit I had a few harrowing experiences. More on the trip in later days.
18 August 2006
While it is not Norway or Finland or the Cliffs of Dover (or one of those craggy heads on the North Coast of County Mayo), this was an awe inspiring sight on the Superior coast. It was free and not crowded unlike many of the other sights along 61 towards Grand Marais. We should have been eating Clif Bars and downing Clif shots up here. No diving allowed although you could rappel.
Well, I'm off for a respite. Slan.
17 August 2006
Speaking of God, did you know there are monks who brew beer? Yes, now you can committ your life to holiness and brewmaking as a Trappist. And I thought they only made jelly.
My beer pick for the week: TommyKnocker. Specifically the Butt Head Bock and the Maple Nut Brown Ale. Two delicious flavors that had no bitter hop taste. I also had the Pick Axe Pale Ale but really did not enjoy it. It tasted old. Phil also liked TommyKnocker although I think he's a sucker for free beer.
11 August 2006
02 August 2006
The world of late has been hectic. Just today here's a cadre of things I could blog on: Israeli/Hezbollah conflict, Fidel Castro, or Mel Gibson's remarks and apology. Doubtless I could ramble on about each and even quote the most pithy Phil a few times. [Phil, in fact, has no sympathy for Lebanon and had no comments concerning the other issues.]
However the one thing that caught my attention the other day was a new book about Osama bin Laden. No, I did not go out and buy it but I read the book review in the Times. According to the author the young Osama preferred the long running television show Bonanza- starring Lorne Green, Michael Landon, Pernell Roberts and a bunch of other cowpokes who took care of business the old fashioned way. It's not hard to believe that young Osama would be sitting glued to the set watching Little Joe and Hoss untangle another mess while falling in love with the same woman. Yeah, I'm sure he pines for them simpler times as he attempts to order the DVD box set in a cave with poor satellite reception.
By the way did you know Michael Landon was a fiddler?