Friday, July 17, 2009

Signs of Moose on Big Moose Hiking Trail

I ventured out to the Big Moose Lake hiking trail, located about 28 miles North of Ely on the Echo Trail. The 2.5 mile walk to the lake starts out very smooth and easy, but eventually gets a little more rugged. There are spots that can be rather rocky and a couple of stretches in the low areas were very wet and boggy. The trail winds through multiple Aspen and Jack pine stands of trees before emerging at the lake shore, which is in a sheltered bay. To the left of the landing was a campsite on a point that looks like it would be a nice place to camp. There were big tent pads right on the shoreline and decent fishing from shore. While we rested at the lake I witnessed a fisherman trolling the bay in his canoe. He caught a number of Small Mouth Bass.

One great thing about this area is that the terrain and vegetation are prime habitat for moose. While hiking I found signs of moose everywhere I looked. There were piles of scat (poop) and tracks. One of the neatest things was looking six feet up into the Aspen and Maples and seeing all the spots the moose had been browsing (nipping tree buds off and eating them during winter). Along the trail we also found evidence of wolves, pine martins, and owls (again from scat and tracks). Some of the local flora has started to bloom such as the Large Leaf Aster with their tiny white flowers and the bright red berries on the June Berry Bushes.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

It's time to start picking Blueberries!

The blueberries are making their appearance in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness & Ely, Minnesota. It's just the start of the blueberry picking season. Right now you may mainly find them in the sunny warmer spots. It will still be a little bit before the shady locations will have better quantities.

Blueberries tent to like acidic soil. They tend to like to be around Jack pine trees. They are typically in partially shaded wooded areas. A blueberry picking spot is something that most will keep a secret so they can return each year with out much competition.

Happy picking!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

It is always fun to celebrate in Ely, MN. There are a number of events planned for the day. The parade and the fireworks are my favorite.

Have a Happy 4th of July!

Portaging Tips for the BWCA

One of my favorite feelings when I enter the BWCA is the sense of camaraderie and courtesy. People spending time in our beautiful wilderness area are generally happy and willing to help a stranger that crosses their path. People have offered to lend me a hand, or greeted me with a smile and a wave out there more times then I can count. It's a special thing that brightens my trip. I think it's important to show people courtesy and respect in return especially when I am portaging. Here are some portaging tips that will make your trip and other paddlers' trips a little more friendly.

-Allow people portaging canoes to have the right away on the trail. They can't see as well and they may have a heavier load than people carrying packs. The quicker they can get to the end the better. If two people carrying canoes meet on a hill, the person going down hill should step off to the side and let the person going up the hill pass.

-Give people time and room to get down the portage trail. If you are paddling up to a portage and see a group, stay back until you see them walk down the trail, and give them a few minutes. Clogged portage trails are no fun, and waiting at the end of the portage trail with a canoe or heavy pack on your shoulders while someone is trying to get on the lake is tiring. Also, remember the the 9 person/4 watercraft rule. Only 9 people and 4 watercraft can be in one spot at one time in the BWCA.

-Try not to widen portage trails by walking around puddles and mud. This causes more of an impact and bigger trails.

-To minimize forgetting your favorite fishing pole or paddle on the portage trail, avoid putting your things on the ground. Your gear should go from canoe to person, and person to canoe. Another way to remember everything is to always make only one pile of gear on each side of the portage. Try not to spread out your packs, lifejackets and paddles where they can easily be forgotten.

-Watch where you place your foot when portaging. Twisting an ankle can be easy if you are walking down some of those rocky portage trails.

-Lend a hand! If you see someone struggling, offer to carry something for them if you have an extra hand. They will be so grateful. You never know when someone may return the favor to you.

-Try to wet-foot portage. This will lessen the chance of scratching, or putting a hole in your canoe by putting on the canoe while you are still in the water. Your feet will be wet while you are paddling, so make sure you sun your feet out to dry them at camp to prevent foot fungus. It's easy to prevent!

- Always load your canoe when it is completely floating in the water.

- Take one last look around before you paddle off from the portage. A quick and easy way to double check that you have all your gear. Also look around you and admire your surroundings. After all this is one of the reasons you are here.

I hope these tips will help you on your next canoe trip. Happy portage trails!!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The walleyes are biting.

This 30 1/4 inch Walleye was caught Wednesday, July 1, 2009 in Fall Lake. Congratulations to Tom W. for the catch. He was using one of is father's old Rapala lures with almost all of it's paint chipped off.

The last few days have been rainy and overcast. This photo just goes to show that when the weather is less than perfect some of the nicest fish like to bite. Walleyes typically become more active when the light conditions are low. Mornings and evenings or overcast days are great times to fish for walleyes.

For more Pictures of Fish registered at Spirit of the Wilderness go to our Facebook page Spirit of the Wilderness Outfitters.