Friday, May 23, 2008

what is going on at Gunflint Lodge recently


Since my mom last blogged about the Gunflint Green Up there has been lots going on. First the fishing season opened. Dean Janke e-mailed us a couple of pictures that we are going to post. This picture was taken on the 12th, which was considered the first day that the ice was "out" on Gunflint Lake.

Since we started this blog by talking about the fishing I will give you an update on how it has been so far this spring. The reports from the guides is that they are catching "hogs" (a hog is an official fishing guide term on the Gunflint means any walleye longer than 28"...28" is considered a trophy walleye) on a daily basis. I will get a couple of pictures from Jon Schei's digital camera so you can see some of the walleye he is catching. In the mean time here is another picture from Dean...only his fish are a couple of lake trout.

One of our managers at the front desk, Dave, was out fishing with his dad the last couple of days. So when he came in this morning for today's motor permit I got the low down on the last couple of days. Just by seeing the smile on his face I knew he had caught a couple of good sized fish...the only question was how many and how big. Yesterday they caught two "hogs", one over 29 1/2" and another at 28", plus several smaller walleye around 14-18". Dave reported that they did not catch a ton of fish, but everything they caught was either decent sized or a "hog".

We have had lots of new staff arrive in the past 10 days or so. John Silliman, our head Naturalist, has been taking them on a property/history tour of the resort. You can see their faces go from shock to smiles as John fills them in on the rich history of the resort and some of the crazy things Grandma did when she was running the place. After a couple of days of training the new employee's eyes look confident and ready to handle the next guest's request.

As we have more fish reports come in we will be back in touch with pictures so you can see how our guides are guests are doing.

Have a good memorial weekend.


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

A Great Weekend

Last weekend was the Gunflint Green Up. What a huge success! Things didn’t seem too promising on Friday. By dinner time there was a steady rain. Luckily the huge tent set up in the outfitters parking lot was kept the dinner dry.

The tent saved us lots of problems because we could feed over 300 people at the time in it. It had heat. It had lights. And it was dry. As the rain continued during the night, we all got a little concerned for the next day.

We really didn’t know what to expect when the morning dawned with snow on the ground, but it melted by late morning and the sun came out. Even with the snow on the ground, people appeared ready to plant. Not only were they ready to work but they were going to have a good time doing it. Especially as the day got nicer, I heard many people remark how great it was to be out in the woods.

I planted over by Round Lake. Part of my planting crew was two troops of Girl Scouts from Grand Marais. Here I am talking with some of the leaders about where to plant.

Even though these were young girls, they worked very hard. If any of them were my grandchildren, I would be quite proud. Not only did they keep at it but they sang while they worked. A favorite song in the morning had to do with drinking sassafras tea. It is one of those songs with a short verse that you sing over and over until your voice gives out. Here is a picture of one of the girls planting a tree.

Another thing that kept these girls going was an abundance of food. They seemed to eat their lunches in mid-morning. Then about noon, they gathered at the Ham Lake Public Landing. The leaders spread two large tarps on the ground and everyone sat to eat all the food they had brought in addition to their lunches.

On Saturday night almost 400 people were served dinner in the tent. Everyone appeared to have had a great day. Not only did they find lots of people to share their experiences with but they also found many of their neighbors who had also been out planting. In the end there were over 50,000 trees plants by over 400 people.

On Sunday the Ham Lake Run was held. It started from Gunflint Pines and ended up at Trail’s End. There was the full length race and then a shorter race that started further up the Trail. About 140 runners participated. The weather was cool and dry for the race. Those who know more than I do felt it was perfect. Here is the start.

Both the tree planting and the half marathon race were successful because a lot of people who worked hard all winter to plan. Nancy Seaton from Hungry Jack Outfitters headed the Gunflint Green Up and Sue Prom from Voyageur Canoe Outfitters headed up the Ham Run. A great deal of support especially in the tree planting came from the U. S. Forest Service. Without their help and their willingness to think out of the box, these events could not have happened.

Lots of other spring events are going on around here. The juncos are migrating through on their way north. We will see them again next fall. The robins are everywhere as are a large assortment of song birds. Some of the smaller lakes have lost their ice but Gunflint is still hanging in there. The ice is very gray and rotten looking. I get the feeling that a strong northwest wind would take it out in a day. Sure hope so because fishing season opens on Saturday.

As is often the case with one of us, Bruce was awake and wandering around the house the other night. He heard an animal crying and went to look out the appropriate window. In the yard were three either brush wolves or coyotes. There were two adults and one smaller one. Because of the darkness, he was unable to identify them exactly but it is not something we see very often around the house. We did have one come down the drive last week but that has been it for the winter. So, a little excitement in the middle of the night.

Next time I write the ice will be off the lake and we will be fishing again.