Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Last weekend was the fishing opener. We did not have a lot of fishermen but the ones who were here had good luck. Both Jon Schei and Adam Treeful’s parties filled their limits of walleye and lake trout. The weather was wonderful and the lakes like glass so we really didn’t expect such good fishing results. At this time of year it seems that wet, cold, rainy days yield the best fishing results. This weekend was a very pleasant change for everyone out fishing.
Work on Cabins #26 and #27 is coming along nicely. The plumbing is done, the fireplaces are in, the new beds have arrived and furniture comes Friday. Bruce is outside working on the landscaping and building rock walls. It is one of his favorite jobs. In fact I think there is a genetic tendency toward building. Our 2 ½ year old grandson loves to hear about Grandpa and his bobcat.
Both Bruce and I have been somewhat distracted by the new Museum going in at the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center. As many of you know, we have been part of a group who has worked for five years to get this museum open. It is going to tell the story of the people of the Gunflint Trail. On Monday a 53-foot truck arrived jam packed with all the exhibits. It had taken nine hours to load the truck and it took 6 men four hours to unload it. The project has been designed and built by Split Rock Studios. They sent up a crew to assemble everything. On July 4th we will be having the grand opening. I think visitors will be pleased with the museum.
The week before Memorial Day is our annual flower delivery. In addition to flowers that we plant around the outfitters and lodge, flowers for many of the neighbors come in. It is one of my favorite days. We receive over $6000 of flowers, shrubs and trees. Once they are here, the real work begins. Ronnie Smith supervises the landscaping. At this time of year she recruits everyone she can to weed and help plant. By the time you come for vacation, the grounds will be alive with colorful flowers.
Reservations seem to be coming in earlier than last year. For every month we have more nights reserved than we did last year at this time. It is one of those things that I count so we really know what is going on. With the quick response time of the internet, Bruce bases his internet advertising on how our reservations are doing. After a difficult economic climate last year, it is good to see things improving this year.
We are all looking forward to welcoming many of you this summer.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

As we get closer to the opening of the fishing season, the days get busier. On Sunday the horses arrived for the season. Mandy and Justin had everything ready and it took only a few minutes to unload them. Most of the horses had been here last year so they were very much at home from the beginning. For at least half of them the first activity was a quick roll in the dirt.
Last weekend was the Ham Lake Half Marathon. There are two lengths to the race – the full run and a shorter run. All together there were almost 200 runners. The weather was cool with a nice breeze. After the race, a huge meal was given at Way of the Wilderness. It is a great race with the proceeds going to cancer research.
We have finally gotten a little rain. Over the weekend it was just spitting off and one. Last night, however, we got several good soakers. It is still very dry in the woods but better than before the weekend. We just have to all be very careful with fire outside. The Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department had two small grass fires to put out. One was caused by a tree knocked into a live electric line. The other was caused by animals chewing on an electric line to a heat tape. Both fires were quickly put out.
This weekend is the Gunflint Green Up. For the past two years hundreds of volunteers have come to help plant trees in the burned areas of the Trail. Most of the trees have been white pine and red pine. While trees will still be planted, this year’s focus is on “releasing” the trees. Pine trees can quickly be shaded from the sun by deciduous plants with large leaves. The volunteers will be cutting down plants around the small trees. This one cutting will give the pines enough sunlight for a head start to grow taller than the other plants around them. I think it might be a back-breaking job.
Meanwhile, we are continuing to take reservations for the coming summer. As is often the case, our multi-bedroom cabins book up first for all the families. The one-bedroom cabins are a bit slower to be reserved in the summer (except for honeymooners). This is just the reverse of the winter when the one-bedroom cabins are reserved first. With kids in school we do not get as many large families in the winter.
I am starting to get excited about the opening of the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center. The grand opening will be July 4th after five years of preparations. Although small, the museum is jam-packed with exhibits. Outside there are a whole series of hiking trails to explore the area around the museum. If you are coming up the Trail this summer, be sure to put the museum on your must-do list.