29 September 2006

Oh my wilderness - part 6



As expected I awoke to the pitter patter of rain. I broke camp and tried to keep things as dry as possible. Wetness tends to stick and stink and neither did I perfer too much. With my full rain gear donned, I paddled out of Rock Lake without much delay. Steadily, yet softly, the rain continued its cadence.

A 65 rod portage transfered me into Oyster Lake, a large lake with 6 campsites. I considered using 1 site as a portage a a shortcut through a long penisula, but thought the site would be occupied. However, it was not and I maintained a route around the penisula. After rounding the penisula my navigation skills plummeted. I miscalculated my position and thus took over an hour to find the portage into the Oyster River.

The rain ceased as I traversed the portage. During the past few days, when not praying, I had unconsciously begun to make up portaging songs based on the tunes of "Frosty the Snowman" and a few other Christmas tunes.

Thumpy, thump, thump
Thumpy, thump, thump
Over the portage trail.

All but this one I have since forgotten probably because of the harrowing experience in the "delta" of the Oyster River.

The Oyster River is a waterway of little renowned in the BWCA. It is hardly a trickle at its source out of Oyster Lake. In fact you could miss it on the map if it were not for 3 portages in and out of it. However, after a portage of 60 rods, the river swells until it is about as wide as a tennis court. The Oyster is another lazy river much like the Moose. I took advantage of the calm near straighness of it and swiftly descended.

I hoped I 'd be out of the BWCA before 2PM but once choice ensured it would not be so. A choice so deadly I need to continue this tale later.

28 September 2006

The touring photographer...Dan Flies


A touring photographer can stir the soul and spirit with his "eyes." Certainly the vagabond tourist, Dan Flies, has covered many miles but has told a multitude of stories with his photo journalization.
Peruse his collection that includes Ireland and current Oktoberfest 2006 shots (yes in Munich itself!).
Most amazingly there is a picture of Western Shore, B. and V.'s home on the hill near Ballycastle where I spent nearly 2 weeks a few years ago. It still has not changed much. The cars are parked in exactly the same spots. Good news, however, the wall behind the house is nearing completion (Flies' pictures filled me in on that). It also appears Maigh Eo has gotten a healthy dosage of sun and rain. Slan.

26 September 2006

A DJ bias?

Although this article I found probably makes a good case for better wages for DJs and even details everything a decent DJ should do, he's definitely biased. "If you're a rookie then don't bother," should have straight out been stated. Perhaps he fears the rivalry of these MP3Js barging in on his turf and undercutting his prices.
"I've got a brilliant strategy," he thinks, "I'll write an article which will smugly undercut rookies and make it look like I am bashing do-it-yourself DJing."
He probaly smirks everytime he looks at the website stats for that page. And thanks to me they will probably increase steadily making him think he has once and for all quashed the upstart. But alas it is to chorkle at his bullmoose pride. Methinks the chorkle will be heard round the world.

23 September 2006

A farewell of sorts


A small group of close friends and associates banded to together in Morris to kick-off the official Haugen/Lift Off Farewell Tour. The evening included a bountiful table of food, memory books, short eulogies and recollections, some emotion, prayer, and of course a retrospective video presentation.
Almost 10 years to the date Mark and Anna arrived in Mo-town.
One cannot necessarily measure the impact (with accuracy) one has had while alive. However, I think Mark and Anna did affect Morris (and in particularly the church there) a lot. Those who obey God are certain to be world changers. Their arrival in Morris opened a new chapter just as I was closing one. It is as if the modern era arrived in Morris- like now we use cell phones instead of the mail. We even dance a little.
The Farewell Tour continues until the first week of October when the Haugen land in Minneapolis. Catch them if you can!

22 September 2006

A rainy day in Faho


Rain continued to complement the chill of autumn's opening strains.
It is times like this one should listen to Simon and Garfunkel
I am amazed at the poetic harmony- in addition to the musical harmony. The lyricism flows freely much like the rain in late September.

Wedding revue

Rumors have abounded about a large wedding in Morris. It has been affectionately called Uproar by the tall tale tellers. However, only the reception went by the name Uproar. There have been claims that some famous people came in the dead of winter to this small town to be part of the nupitials. Other variations of the story involve pyrotechnics and fried chicken and the city of Morris shutting down the festivities when things got way out of hand.
Sorry to burst everybody's bubble but I was there. No famous people, no pyro, no fried chicken. In fact the chicken was BBQ'd in the Jamacian way. The city of Morris did not shut down the reception, the reception ended normally athough there may have been some exception to some of the music.
Check out my exclusive coverage of at Anna & Mark's wedding revue.

21 September 2006

Towering


Farley Tower on the Cut Foot Sioux Trail.
One of the few still standing in the Chippewa National Forest. I was too tired from climbing the hill to get to it to see if I could ascend. Probably better left alone.

19 September 2006

Oh my wilderness - part 5


I broke camp after a late breakfast and saved time by shoving off from the north side of the penisula. With the canoe now well tuned, I cruised swiftly north to the entrance of the Pocket Creek. Unfortunately a large beaver dam barred the entrance to the creek. I decided I should document it, however, I discovered my camera no longer functioned. Not another picture would be shot on this trip.
It took a while to pull the canoe over due in part to the unattachment of a few rib of the canoe frame. Fortunately that was easily remedied by re-attaching them to the fasteners. It is a good thing to have a folding canoe otherwise stuff like that would certainly ruin a trip.
After a short portage and a few strokes I head up Gebeonequet Creek, a quiet waterway. Gebeonequet Creek descends out of a lake with the same through a steep chasm. It was the only waterfall I encountered on the journey.
I exited Geb via a 120 rod portage into Green Lake. I think I sited a Bald Eagle above me as I paddled to the next portage although it may have been a Goshawk. After a 85 rod portage I found myself on Rocky Lake. It was getting late. I wanted to get to Oyster Lake. Rocky has only one lonely campsite in a secluded bay. To avoid the anxieties I experienced the night before I decided to see if I could snag this site.
Slowly I approached the site and peered occasionally with the binoculars. I listened carefully for camping noises. I scanned the shore for a canoe and a tent. After 15 minutes of reconnaisise, I take the rocky campsite. Victory!
Nestled against a steep hill and surrounded by towering pines, I thought this site was great. However, I changed my mind. Mostly made up rocky outcroppings, the underfoot provided very little space to pitch a tent. Later I discovered mice also inhabited the area and liked to poke around my stuff. I did not approve. I only wished more owls and other birds of prey would rid these sites of mice but unfortunately many of us have the habit of carelessly leaving scraps of food behind. If Phil were on this trip he would have declared war on the mice. After dinner I made ready to for an early embarkment and planned to arrive at the entry point in the afternoon the next day. The winds were blowing as I went to bed. Halfheartedly I expected rain.

Delirious? drummer turns to iron(man)

In an akward move, Stew Smith, the drummer from Delirious, decided to do a full Ironman triathlon for charity. This triathlon inlcuded 2.4 miles of swimming, 26.2 miles of running, and 112 miles of biking. I guess it goes to show you that musicians are not just lazy, out of shape, tater eaters. I guess this is old news. It happened a month ago. But you can still help Stew so check out this link. I'd like to see Adam Clayton do a tri. Maybe with the Edge.

17 September 2006

Caveat- O My Wilderness

After a brief hiatus due largely to my other work, Oh My Wilderness should be returning this week to conclude the tale of my solo canoe adventure in the northern border lakes of Minnesota.
The story left off at the penisular campsite west of the Fish Stake Narrows.
Here's a little bonus material.
The wind had been picking up in the evening and I expected it would rain. I secured the canoe closer camp. Fortunately the winds just ran wild and percipitate it did not. That evening I don't think I even listened to any old time radio podcasts on my Palm Zire I brought. Probably because I was tired. I think I may be the only person to have brought a Palm to the Boundary Waters. I used it more than I did my GPS.
All the evenings were moonless which made the stars appear especially bright but increase the fear factor. Noises out here put a person on high alert. However I have come to the conclusion that the biggest noises are made by the smallest critters - mice, squirrels, and chipmunks. I have grown accustom to the loons (aka divers) and in fact can vaguely discern what their calls mean. For me without them you are not in the wilderness.
Overall a pretty uneventful night.

My DJ debut

Alas it went over like a limp rag.
Marred by technical difficulties and timing, I pressed on until most left. However, once the music began it was a good straight 50 minutes of mixed dance from the 50s and 60s.
The thing I did not miss was the 1st dance. Although nearly all the guests had left bride and groom took a turn to dance to a George Strait tune which I followed up immediately with an Elvis ballad.
I can only wonder if dancing in North Dakota is considered foupaugh or I missed the synergy of the moment or both. Analyzing why Dakotans only dance to "Omp Pah Pah" and to nothing else is a PhD discertation in itself. In my own observations the Dakotans are even more reserved than those on the other side of the border. Dancing only seems to be done in poorly lit environs on the outskirts of town or near an accordion. You better be polka or we're hitting the road might sum attitudes toward dance out here. And if you don't like it, tough- move to another state. And they did- in droves.

14 September 2006

Missions flame

In seeking out music I found a site that had a helpful introduction to missions course sylabis. Includes some power point presentations, a smattering of readings, and handouts in pdf format.

13 September 2006

To all Ben Goodman fans

Not the artist nor the musician but the man of mostly travel.
Ben Goodman has his schedule, a few articles, a cache of photos and promises to add more content.
So be on the lookout for Ben in a neighboorhood near you.
http://www.bengoodman.org

05 September 2006

Oh my wilderness - part 4


I did not leave Lake Agnes until just after noontime. I soon discover that my canoe performs better in choppy water and paddling into the wind. After 2 easier portages I am in Lac La Croix and I discover I have a large hole developing in my trousers in an embarrassing place. I cannot show much displeasure with them since they only cost $6.
Speedily I made my way to the vicinity of Warrior Hill and the pictographs. This area is particularly congested by wilderness standards. I see about a dozen canoes in a little under an hour.
Although it was tempting to cross over Canadian waters to see the picto-graphs up close, I did not. My decision was based on my discussion with a Forest Service agent. She said that the Canadian officials said that crossing into Canadian waters would require a visit to Canadian customs even if you did not touch Canadian land. This "official" decree soured my plans. On the American side about a half mile away I could hardly make out any pictographs, even with binoculars. As I sat in my canoe I watched as other parties went towards the ancient art. I even saw people climbing the cliffs around the pictographs. Were they Americans? Who knows? I entertained myself as I watched some adventurous persons jump off the cliffs into the lake. A few moments later I proceeded to continue northward to Fish Stake Narrows.
Because there are so few portages through this area it is rather popular. Originally I planned to camp near the pictographs. However I desired a bit more seclusion and decided to change my return route. Instead of going back the way I came, I decided I would loop west through a few lakes and rivers and some long portages.
As six o'clock drew near I began to scout for campsites to no avail. I went throw the narrows as 7 o'clock came near and sundown would arrive in about an hour. Using binoculars looked and looked for an empty site but I kept find the telltale signs of an occupied site- strung up clothing. I began to get upset as campsites were further and further apart. I began to get anxious. Finally, I prayed "Lord, give me a campsite tonight." I rearranged the baggage in the canoe and almost miraculously the craft began to cruise straighter than it had ever done before.
Only 1 campsite in the vicinity had I not checked. If this one was full I would have to paddle another mile until another campsite. The site was situated on a penisula to the west. The sun obscured my sight so I paddled closer keeping my ears open for voices. The site add a long sandy beach which is rather rare in this rocky area. I approached cautiously. I pull up on the beach and tip toe up a hill dreading the sight of a clothesline.
None existed. The camp was empty. I peered around a bit- a grassy area for a tent, a tall but accessible branch on a large tree, another sandy beach on the opposite side, and a well built cooking area. I was blessed. I thanked God. Not only did He give me a campsite but gave me perhaps one of the very best campsites. Needless to say, I slept well that night.

In the Chippewa National Forest



Shingobee River Valley as seen from my favorite picnic site. The downside of this site (a pun, yes) is there is no water access. I tried to get to the river to get some water but the riparian habitat was just too severe. The picnic area is situated on a high bluff about 300 feet from the bottom of the valley.

He lived on the wild side

I was greatly saddened to hear of Steve Irwin's untimely death this morning. I nearly cried. The Crocodile Hunter was a man passionate about living creatures- some rather dangerous. His shows were entertaining yet informative. Steve brought nature shows to a new level. His adventurous situations yet calm commentaries changed the genre which typically was sleepy and sterile. Steve had an incredible energy and passion when he encountered mammals, reptiles, amphibians especially the crocodile of his native land. He sometimes took great risk to show dangerous creatures in their habitats. And like Paul Hogan before him reignited English slang with the Austral phrase "Oh Crickey."
My sympathies go out to his family and friends.

12 days of fair glory

My travels and repsonsibilities this year did not allow me to visit the Minnesota State Fair this year. Instead I made to most of visiting the outstate places which I only knew a points on a map. Nevertheless I am a fair-child, not to be confused with one of the gopher mascots of the Get Together. Between 1985 and 1999 there was not a fair I missed. A majority of those years I got the rare priviledge of living on the grounds in a big white building, 4-H's version of the Hilton. There were even a few years where I was paid to live there.
The fair has got a special place in my heart. Missing the fair to me is like missing Thanksgiving dinner or not watching the Charlie Brown Christmas special. For me it's not the food but the experience a pilgrimage of sorts. Hopefully I will make it in 2007.
Slate dished out commentary on the Minnesota State Fair.

01 September 2006

Oh my wilderness - part 3



I am not sure I slept a wink in the bow of my 15 foot canoe as I waited for daybreak.

As the first glimpse of daylight peaked out near 5AM, I set out. The rushing water sound proved to be a beaver dam and I pulled the canoe over it. I'd see nearly a dozen of these on this trip some more treacherous than others. I then made headway to Nina Moose Lake.

Upon entering the lake I discovered my craft was not tracking very straight. In fact it was going in circles. This not bode well will me. I did my best to cross the lake making one mistaken detour into a bay. I up the Nina Moose River. Not a soul was awake until after my first portage at 9AM. I took in some nourishment and continued at a torpid pace on the river with a badly tracking canoe. I'd often end up in the weedy section of the river while attempting to navigate straight.

Nearing mid-day I arrived at Lake Agnes and began to discover that the wind also was playing a part in my poor tracking. Even a slight breeze would catch the gunwales and flail my craft in a circular path. I had enough. I set a course for the nearest campsite. Enroute I encountered some ermine or mink-like critters playing near the shore. They hightailed it before I got nearer.

Minutes later I landed at the campsite. I unloaded a began to cook some eggs and canadian bacon. After my lunch I took a nap on a large rock in the middle of my campsite. Time went by and eventually it became dinner time. Still being exhausted from the night before I decided to stay put and make camp.