Tag Archives: Minnesota

Lake Winnibigoshish

Alongside Lake Winnibigoshish in the Chippewa National Forest.

I rarely leave Alaska during the summer, but the fishing is supposedly quite good here. The Boys have already started to make 2019 Spring Walleye Plans.

The weather was incredibly nice for our time in the Chippewa. One day saw temps reach 68F. A campfire was still a requirement. S’mores were on the menu.

It should be noted: The fire was not started, nor fed, the Brazilian Way.


A Map Quest

I’m a map guy. I admit it and I say it with pride. I like to see the whole layout, get the entire picture, as it were. Or, at least as much as one can get, without actually walking the trail.

I was commissioned recently to guide two teenage brothers on their first ruffed grouse hunt in Northern Minnesota. The Boys, aged 13 & 14, are not map guys. Certainly not paper map guys.

The plan was to camp along the shore of Lake Winnibigoshish, and walk the trails of the Chippewa National Forest. My first stop was the ranger station for a decent map.

On the drive up, The Boys had nothing but derision for my paper map fetish. “We can just google map it!”, they claimed over and over.

I tried to explain the need for an actual map. Technology isn’t always reliable, batteries die, charging fails for one reason or another, signal evaporates.

All to no avail. They were convinced that I was a dinosaur.

Upon entering the ranger station, I promptly stated that my only need was a decent map of the forest. I was just as quickly denied of my quest.

“I’m not allowed to sell you a map. It’s not my job, and no one else is here.”

I asked if he had maps available. He answered yes. I saw the evasive map plastered to the wall with a price of $14.96, tax included. A bit pricey, but I offered $15, and the qualified individual could complete the transaction later, upon their return. I received an apologetic no. Getting desperate, I offered $20, but received another negative response.

“It’s not my job. I’m not allowed to sell you a map.”

I wondered if that statement sounded as absurd to his ears as it did to mine.

Then the park employee committed, what I consider, a cardinal sin: “Just google map it,” he says.

It was a dagger to my heart. Now, I wasn’t just angry, but wounded. You know what they say about wounded animals…

The Boys beamed; The Alaskan fumed.

We took two ATV maps that divided the forest. We found them lacking. We also took some specific HWT maps, but found them also lacking. As suspected, we also, at very inopportune times, found the cell coverage to be lacking. But between the three sources, we managed to piece together a game plan, and always managed to find our way out of the woods.

Sadly, The Boys remain sketchy at reading a map, and good luck getting either one of them to fold a map properly.


Deer River Northern Pike

Deer River, Minnesota

A Roadside Attraction Edition:

Not to be outdone by the town of Garrison, Deer River has its own aquatic idol: the lean, mean, northern pike. Although the general consensus of our little band of hunters was that the fish looked more Muskie-like.

Photos were taken of a thirteen year old caught in the jaws of this magnificent carnivore, but they are too gruesome to share here.


The Mississippi

Itasca County, Minnesota

As The Boys and I explored the Chippewa National Forest, we crossed the Mississippi River several times.

Its a small river this far north, as we were only an hours drive from its headwaters at Lake Itasca.

It was a beautiful day to spend some time along the northern banks of the mighty river.


Walleye Capital of the World

Garrison, Minnesota

On the shores of Mille Lacs Lake.


The puck drops on 2018

Golden Gopher Hockey at Mariucci

The 2018-19 Division 1 college hockey season is now underway.

The University of Minnesota opened the season against last year’s national champion Minnesota-Duluth with a home and home series.

On Saturday the two programs skated to a tough 1-1 tie in Duluth.

Stub & Herb’s, a campus tradition

Minnesota came out in a flurry for new coach Bob Motzko’s first home game. At the end of the first period, the Gophers held a 3-0 lead, with sophomore Brannon McManus netting two.

The Gophers were overtaken by an unnatural desire to sit in the penalty box for period two, which gave Duluth some life. The Bulldogs would score the first two goals of the period, but Sammy Walker would follow up with a goal for Minnesota and Rem Pitlick would add a short handed tally for the Gophers. Minnesota now led 5-2.

The two teams would trade goals in the final frame, giving Minnesota a 7-4 win over their in-state rival.

The Bulldogs outshot Minnesota 46-23, mainly due to the nine penalties the Gophers took. Junior goaltender Mat Robson was solid in net for Minnesota.

It was a good atmosphere at Mariucci, with 8000+ fans in the stands for a Sunday night game.


Travel Update

Trudeau International Airport-Montreal

The Curator and I dropped off Brazil Lucas at the Montreal airport in the afternoon, then drove south across the Saint Lawrence River and back into the United States. There we met with two good friends from Ogdensburg, NY for dinner.

The following morning we picked up another wonderful friend from Iowa at the Syracuse airport, then had lunch with The Catamount Fan. It was a great lunch, and nice to finally meet Mr Catamount.

Syracuse Train Depot

After visiting the William H. Seward House, I was dropped off at the Syracuse Amtrak Depot for the trip to Saint Paul. I checked my bag for the first time while traveling Amtrak, because I didn’t want to lug it around Chicago’s Union Depot. That worked out great, and the bag was immediately available for pick up once I reached baggage claim.

The route to Chicago saw a 2-1/2 hour delay, which cut into my 4 hour layover in Chicago. Still, I had more than enough time to eat lunch and explore the Depot a bit before boarding my train to Saint Paul.

Wisconsin zipping past

Eventually I will have to board a plane again to get back to Fairbanks, but I wasn’t quite willing to do so just yet. I enjoyed the leisurely pace to the Twin Cities, and met a couple of people on board both trains to keep me entertained for at least part of the journey.