Monday, January 16, 2012

Winter Projects

Life is very quiet around Gunflint right now. In fact things are so slow that Bruce and I will probably not go down to the lodge after dinner. At the lodge we have two guests for dinner in Justine’s and only three cabins full. The staff can probably handle it without us.

So what projects do I have when it is slow? My big one is pictures. I got a number of handmade wooden pictures frames this fall. There are lots of old picture of the lodge and outfitters. The idea is to take some of those pictures and enlarge them and arrange them into groups of three or four to tell a story for one of the cabins. So there may be a group of pictures showing the original lodge as it was expanded. Or maybe there will be a group of pictures showing some of the old entrance signs for the lodge. I also have a group of pictures showing Justine as she was growing up or Bruce as he was growing up.

One group that I just gave to Bonnie shows Bruce gathering birch bark like the Native Americans did for birch bark canoes. The pictures tell the story but I have to say that watching him do it was more fun. You can only do if for a couple weeks in June. Then you have to know exactly how deeply to cut the bark so that the tree is not killed. When done properly, the tree will scar but will continue to grow. Above is a picture of Bruce popping off one of his pieces of birch bark.

As of this week we are also finalizing our plans for a new activity at the lodge. Since last summer Bruce has been investigating canopy/zip line tours. He has explored the internet, talked with friends across the country, visited sites, and two companies visited to give us a proposal. The long and short of it seems to be that this is an environmentally friendly activity to add. It uses no motors and makes no sound. We have a spot in the back basin to put it and you don’t have to clear a lot of land and trees.

But even more intriguing is that it seems really FUN. Bruce and I are going down to Florida to visit with a friend who has a canopy tour. We already saw one in Arkansas but didn’t get to ride it was as they were closed. This time I will be riding. Stay tuned for my report on this. If I can do it at my advanced age, anyone can do it. In fact I think I see Bruce’s mother, Justine, and she is the first one in line.

Our plans are to start construction in May and be open the beginning of July. Along with the actual construction there will be an intensive training program for those who will be operating the tour. There is a national organization who certifies the construction and operation of these tours. Naturally, the organization’s name has total slipped out of my mind but I know that they will be looking us over.

Hopefully this will all be running when you visit us this summer.


Liz said...

We're coming in February for our anniversary - it's our first time and we're pretty excited! I love reading your posts about what's happening :)

Mike said...

My son David's girlfriend Anna works at eXplore Brown County with the fastest, highest, longest zips in Indiana. They accompanied my wife Jan and I to Gunflint Lodge/GNO this past summer. A zip line at Gunflint Lodge is a great idea -- something new for my Scout Troop do to when are at GNO the evening before we put in for a wilderness canoe trip. Mike

Mike said...
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Teresa said...

A zip line would be a fantastic addition to an already wonderful line-up of offerings!! I know someone who has an "adventure" business - including zip lines - in Hawaii if you need any more research. It's a blast!

I love your note about Justine being at the front of the line too ... :)

See you in April for spring chores!
Teresa & the Always & Adventure ladies

Carol said...

TOTALLY LOVE THIS IDEA! If you can do it ok - I'll try it Sue! YIKES! Too fun!

Carol said...

I want Bruce to do a birch bark harvesting lesson in JUNE!! I bet all of the seasonal people will come! Either at the lodge or the museum????