Saturday, June 27, 2009

Guests Enjoy Northwoods Activities

I have been looking forward to writing about the weather this week because it has been just glorious. People have been out all over exploring the lakes and woods. Even the mosquitoes have started to cooperate. The emergence of dragon flies has helped eliminate lots of the biting critters. By this time of year mosquitoes go into a long decline for the summer.

Today has been a different story. We woke up to overcast skies and fog. It has misted and rained off and on all day. Since we could use a little rain, I can’t even complain. It’s almost 7:00 p.m. now and there appears to be a sliver of clear skies in the west. Perhaps tomorrow will bring blue skies back.

Fishing has continued to be good even with the nicer weather. Smallmouth bass are biting. The big surprise is the walleyes. Every day we seem to have another fisherman come in who caught and released a 20” and up to 32” walleye. Northern Light Lake has been particularly good. The lake trout are now in 45-60’ of water but biting well.

Our resident fox, Gimpy, is still making regular appearances at the cabins. Frequently guests report that Gimpy has a squirrel in his mouth. It has always been assumed that he could not catch anything because of his bad leg. Between what he catches and what everyone gives him, Gimpy has a pretty good life.

Other forest denizens who are appearing regularly are wolves. Usually during the summer wolves are not seen but that is not the case this year. Especially past the Tuscarora road, wolves have been seen by many people. Probably the larger numbers of small game (translate into food) are keeping them in closer than usual.

As you may remember, last fall we bought a voyageur canoe for the naturalist program. Everyone has been surprised at how popular this activity is. Every time something is scheduled, the canoe is full. One day Bruce and I will have to take a ride in it.

Virtually all our staff is here now. Today was the first meeting for the full staff. We hold these meetings at 6:15 in the morning because it is the only time everyone can be there. Looking at the entire group on the porch reminded me how many people it takes to run things around here. Luckily they all are doing a great job. The meeting went well and even managed to get a laugh or two from the group. That is a great accomplishment at that time of the morning.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I Was Right! Summer Is Here!

It seems I am always a little behind the eight ball on getting this blog out. There is a pretty good excuse this week. On Tuesday we had a group of 24 women check out along with every other cabin. We had a bus load for lunch and I was tour guide with them for most of the day. That afternoon we had 183 bike riders check in for two nights and five meals. I got to tell you that a party that large taxes us but it all went well. In addition to eating meals these folks did spend a fair amount of time rehydrating their bodies. They spent three days biking on the North Shore before coming up here. Even so the ride from Grand Marais was a long one. They were a great bunch of people. Like any cook, ours appreciated the way they ate everything we fed them. After feeding them breakfast Thursday morning in one hour, we were all in relapse but cabins still had to be cleaned for the new guests checking in.

Today I spent some time this afternoon just reading the newspaper. I might have dozed off in the chair a bit too. Tonight will be another busy night in the bistro and dining room. We have our full complement of servers so all that I do is walk around talking to people.

This last week we have really jumped into summer weather. It is so nice – blue skies, soft breezes, and warm temperatures (This sounds like last week.). Like any good resort we had out thunderstorm and rain in the middle of the night. Our lilacs are just blooming. The lupine on the side road are also coming into their blooming season. My strawberries are filled with flowers. The asparagus has been great. Unfortunately most of the rest of my garden is not doing so well. The cool temperatures earlier and a lack of time both contributed to a poor garden.

Bruce and I are enjoying renewing friendships with old time guests and meeting new ones. They all have such interesting stories to tell us about how they found us. With many of them we end up swapping stories about travels all over. Last night I was talking with some guests about our trip to Bali. They owned property in Bali and love it just as much as we do. Many of these guests have great tips on places to visit. As many of you know, Bruce and I love to travel.

I should have more news around here but most of my days have been spent in the lodge. Next week I’ll even get some pictures for the blog.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer Is Here, I Think

I believe that summer has finally arrived on the Gunflint Trail. This morning we had temperatures of 61 degrees – the warmest this year. We have a gentle south wind, blue skies and the lake looks beautiful. Everyone is ready to jump in but it is still a little cold. I would be satisfied to just go on a boat ride but here I am at the computer.

Our summer staff is basically all here. There is a learning curve everyone goes through in their new jobs but it seems like a great crew. As in years past, we have a number of students from Jamaica. It is fun to watch them adjust to the Northwoods. One of the new skills they have learned is to paddle a kayak. We have small kayaks at the dock and the girls are having a ball paddling all over but only on calm days. None of them are interested in ending up in the water. These kayaks are also very popular with the children during the summer.

Tomorrow we are having a unique group of guests check in. One of the annual Minnesota events is Jim Klobuchar’s bicycle ride. For years he has assembled a group of bikers to tour different areas of the state. This year they will be on the North Shore and the Gunflint Trail. On Tuesday and Wednesday nights we will be hosting 183 people in this group. During the day on they will be spreading out to explore the area.

Today I got word of some really good news for later in the summer. The blueberry bushes are filled with white blossoms. This means that if we can get the right combination of sun and rain, it will be a great blueberry season. Bruce and I have our favorite secret spots to pick. Of course, we always meet our neighbors at these secret spots. Long about January Bruce’s blueberry, banana, walnut pancakes taste wonderful for breakfast.

Yesterday afternoon Bruce and I sat with some friends on the patio in front of the lodge during the afternoon. We were just visiting and drinking iced tea. Afterwards I thought about what a great way to spend the afternoon. No wonder our guests enjoy it so much.

Talking with resorts all over the Trail is leading to lots of moose stories this summer. It is almost like we have an explosion of moose. If you are driving up the Trail, look in every little pond and creek for these wonderful animals. Also look for them to plod across the road at unexpected places. They are very big and black and can do a great deal of damage to your car.

You are not getting any pictures today. Since Thursday I have been having problems with my Internet connection at the computer in my office. So I am down at the lodge typing this. As is the same with many of you, getting the problem fixed is turning out to be a very frustrating experience. The last I heard was that the company would try to get back to me in 4-5 days. This is not the time to play these games.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

It's June!

So, where did May go? Suddenly Bruce and I are settling into our summer routine. More staff has arrived so that makes life easier. Of course, there is always the necessary training to do. We try to eat a quick dinner and go back down to the lodge to talk with guests each night. Getting to know our guests is one of the best parts about the job. So many guests have been with us many times. With the newcomers it is just fun to introduce them to the special places to see during their stay. If you are with us even for just a quick meal, Bruce and I look forward to seeing you.
Spring is progressing along. It seems cool but I keep telling myself that it is only the 4th of June. As I write this, a big black cloud is approaching from the west. We could have a little squall in a few minutes. Meanwhile my pin cherry trees are bursting with flowers. Here is a picture of the one right outside the house. The tree is just 9 years old but the flowers are beautiful. Marsh marigolds are blooming in the wet spots along the Trail.
This year every resort seems to have an abundance of guests seeing wild game. Moose are the most numerous especially in the mid-Trail area. I have heard several stories about cows with twins. One party even saw a cow moose lying down as her two calves fed. Many people have seen wobbly newborns as they try to learn to walk on four legs. Moosehorn B & B across the lake did have one guest who saw a spotted fawn. That is a very rare sight. We are also still seeing wolves in the hill just behind the campground. A few fox with kits are always found on the road playing.
Fishing has been good. Here is a picture from Lars Ossmo and his son. It is a pretty nice catch for a father-son trip. Then we have the story of three guys who went out lake trout fishing today. It was their first day on the lake. They were back by noon with a 20 lb. northern. The fish fought so hard that the treble hook was almost pulled out of their lure. All three of the guys were so excited that it was fun just to see them.
For reasons I don't understand these pictures refuse to move into their correct spots in the narrative. You'll just have to mentally place them in the proper posts.