Monday, December 11, 2017

Bentleyville 2017

Tonight Noelle, Sierra, Grandma and I met some friends at the Bentleyville Christmas Light display in Duluth.
It was probably about the 5th visit for Noelle and I and the second for Sierra. As always the lights were beautiful!
Sierra visited with both Mrs. Claus
and Santa.
We posed for some family photos.
And we even got to go inside the big tree!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Voyageurs National Park: Ski to Gold Portage

Today I set off under cloudy skies,
to travel across the frozen surface of Black Bay on skis
to Gold Portage. There is a stream at Gold Portage that connects Kabetogama Lake with Rainy Lake. It flows over a set of rapids, so I figured there would likely be some open water out that way. Still, I wanted to get out of the house and do some exploring.

The ice seemed pretty solid as I headed southeast. Pretty quickly I came to a fairly large pressure ridge that I had to negotiate.
After that I set a course toward Skunk Island off in the distance. I passed an area with lots of wolf tracks in the snow.
Soon enough I saw a snow covered sign marking the "Gold Portage Area".
I decided to ski upstream a bit. As I had suspected, there was open water in the middle of the channel there.
I stayed off to the side of the stream among the cattails. There even seemed to be paths among the cattails.
Eventually the strip of solid ice off to the side of the main channel began to narrow. It was time to turn around. I didn't want to risk breaking through the ice.

I made my way back to the entrance of Gold Portage. At one point my ski pole broke through the ice. Luckily the rest of my body did not. I would be skiing into the wind for the return trip. Still, it was interesting to follow my tracks back to where I had started,
passing a few islands here
and there. I made a quick stop at the campsite on Reuter Creek,
and shortly thereafter I was back to the parking lot and my car. While I wasn't able to make it back to the rapids, it was a worthwhile trip!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Forest History Center: Christmas in a Logging Camp

Today Noelle, Sierra and I made the long, winding drive down to Grand Rapids, Minnesota to check out the Christmas in a Logging Camp program. Noelle and I had been to it before, back in 2009. However, we both thought it would be fun to take Sierra. So after lunch at Culver's, we headed to the center.

We purchased our ticket and then visited with Santa
before heading over to the Fire Warden's Cabin
to wait for the horse-drawn carriage ride to the logging camp.
We arrived in camp and headed over to the bunkhouse first. There was a "logger" inside playing the banjo and Sierra got a feel for a straw mattress.
Then Noelle used the restroom,
before we headed over to the mess hall.
From there it was on to the camp store,
then the blacksmith shop (adorned with moose antlers)
and the stables.

Finally we caught the carriage back to the visitor center. Sierra even got to ride up front!
We checked out the exhibits in the visitor center for a bit and then found a short hiking trail outside
which led down to a partially frozen Mississippi River.
We made our way back to the car, past a weird trail shelter
and then drove out to Klockow Brewing Company where Noelle and I sampled beer and all 3 of us played some Uno.