Friday, September 27, 2019

Lambeau Field and the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame

The past few days we had the experience of a lifetime. Noelle, my dad, her dad and myself got to experience a Eagles-Packers game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin! We made the long, 8 hour drive on Wednesday and stayed at Noelle's aunt's house. Then yesterday afternoon we made the short drive south to the not-so-frozen tundra.
We tailgated outside the stadium with the folks from the Lambeaulance a bit
and then headed inside about a 20 minutes before game time. It was so cool to see the field in person for the first time!

The game itself did not disappoint. After trailing 10-0 early in the game, the Eagles made a comeback and led by halftime. It was close until the very end with the Eagles clinging on an interception in the endzone. Here are the highlights:
Today we went back to Lambeau to check out the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.
Noelle and I had been there before back in 2001.
It was at a different location, outside the stadium back then. Today's version is a bit more modern with some interactive exhibits.
After touring the museum, we braved the rain outside to check out some statues of Vince Lombardi
and Curly Lambeau.
Sierra even got to do a Lambeau Leap!
Then it was off to Titletown Brewery for appetizers and beer.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Voyageurs National Park: Paddling to Namakan Lake from Ash River Visitor Center

Another cool overcast day. Again, we decided to take advantage of low winds by getting out for a paddle. Since we had never paddled on Namakan Lake, I decided it might be fun to put the canoe in the water near the Ash River Visitor Center and paddle to western-most portion of Namakan Lake at Old Dutch Bay. So that's what we did.

The drive to Ash River went quickly. We had picked up a sandwich at Subway and had a picnic lunch at small picnic area at the Voyageur's Forest Overlook Trailhead. When we had finished, we made the short drive to the paddle access, put the canoe in the water and headed east. We passed where Ash River flows into Kabetogama Lake
and shortly after Noelle spotted this chimney.
I got out of the boat to have a look around, but didn't notice anything other than the chimney. We continued east hugging the south shoreline of the lake. 

Soon enough we came to Can 27 and the point where the waterway narrows, separating Kabetogama Lake from Namakan Lake. We circled an interesting looking island there and started to make our way back west. We spotted a nice looking sand beach, beached the canoe and got out for a bit to stretch our legs.
Fall wildflowers are still in bloom, though not for much longer. We spotted lots of asters
and a small pink flower.

We got back into the canoe and paddled back towards the boat launch. We spotted a juvenile bald eagle in its nest (unusual for this late in the season when they have long fledged) and a common goldeneye swimming the waters.
The paddle back seemed to go fast.
We spied the Borealis Tour Boat making its way back to the Kabetogama Lake Visitor Center from the day's Kettle Falls Cruise.
Then we passed the Ash River Visitor Center
and soon enough we were back at the boat launch.

On the drive home we stopped to take our photos at the leaping walleye Kabeotgama Lake sign. 

Monday, September 2, 2019

Paddling Rainy River from Voyageurs NP HQ to Ranier

It was a cool and overcast day, but without much wind. We decided to take advantage of, perhaps, one of our last opportunities to paddle for this summer by getting out on the Rainy River not too far from home. We made the short drive over to the boat ramp near the Voyageurs National Park Headquarters building, put the canoe in the water, and paddled upstream. We turned onto the first tributary we came to, crossing under what's locally known as "Second Bridge".

Soon the creek we were paddling branched into two. We explored each branch as far as we could
and scared off some of the waterfowl that did not seem used to having people in their territory. After a few minutes on the creek, we paddled back to the river and continued upstream. We passed some beautiful homes perched on the edge of the river and even saw a couple of bald eagles. As we approached Ranier, and the cantilever bridge marking the point where Rainy Lake spills into the Rainy River, the current got much stronger.
We paddled as close to the bridge as we could
and then turned around, just as a train crossed into Canada.

The sun came out for a brief moment as we paddled downstream towards the paper mill.
Soon we could see the large sign for US Customs which marked the boat ramp and the end of our short paddle. 

Monday, August 26, 2019

Back to the International Falls Every Street Project

Back in March, April and May, I decided to embark on a project to run all the streets within the city limits of International Falls. I figured that it would be a way to get to know my community a little bit better. By the end of May, however, I was getting bored with this. In addition, I had already run the most interesting sections of the Falls, and some of the last sections that I've run have been a bit depressing.

A little while back I accepted a new job in Western Nebraska at Scott's Bluff National Monument. Me and the family are really excited about this opportunity and feel like that area is a better fit for our lifestyle than far north-central Minnesota. Since I will be leaving in mid-October, I decided that if I am ever going to complete this project, the time to do so is now. I set out today in cool, overcast weather for a 2.5 mile run on roads that I had not yet run.

I made my way west on 6th Street and then turned right onto 7th Avenue. I followed 7th to the Koochiching County Courthouse and then cut across the pedestrian plaza in between the library and the fire station. I made a left onto 4th Street and then another left onto 8th Avenue. I ran through some of the most rundown areas of town, past a condemned house
and then back into nicer neighborhoods. I turned right onto 11th Street for a block, and then made a left onto 9th Avenue. I ran towards Keenan Drive, made a right onto 16th Street, and another right onto 10th Avenue. I ran 10th Avenue to 11th Street and then jogged east to 9th Avenue, which I ran past an interestingly painted garage
back to 6th Street and home.

My map of town is starting to fill in!
I marked the roads that I ran during my last 2 runs on this map, but I never logged them on the blog. That's okay though. Hopefully soon enough I will have this project completed and I will feel even more ready to move on from here.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Superior National Forest: Pfeiffer Lake Campground

Yesterday we decided to get out of town to do a little camping. We packed up the car, loaded the canoe on top and made the drive down to Cook and over to Pfeiffer Lake, a Superior National Forest Campground and recreation area. We arrived in cool drizzly weather and set up camp. We spent the rest of the day playing games near the campsite, exploring on foot
and sitting around the campfire.
We all enjoyed a few s'mores.

Today, we awoke to clearer skies. We had breakfast at the campsite, complete with coffee and hot chocolate.
Then we drove over to the campsite's namesake lake for a short paddle.
We explored a campsite that's only accessible by foot or boat and spied a small frog along the shore there.
Then we paddled back into a small bay where the surface of the water was covered by lily pads.
It was a quick paddle back to the boat launch along the other side of the lake.

After getting the canoe back up on the car, we took a short swim at the beach, then packed up camp. on the way home we made a side trip to the Leander Lake Picnic Area where we went for another swim. It made for a great end to our weekend.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Franconia Sculpture Park

After packing up our hotel room, we hit the road for the long drive back to International Falls. We wouldn't be headed straight home though. I thought Sierra, Noelle and Mom would enjoy a visit to Franconia Sculpture Park. I stumbled upon it by accident back in 2010 and have been wanting to return ever since.

We parked the car and walked past a wall of boom boxes
to a sculpture that I had remembered from my previous visit that you can play on.
Sierra seemed to enjoy it.
Then I watched a little TV
before we moved through the rest of the large sculpture park. Here are some images of what we saw: