Back to the Ozarks

I leave the day after Easter for back-to-back Ozark canoe trips. First the majestic Buffalo River in Arkansas, and then the less heralded Eleven Point in Missouri. With The Rio Grande in February and now the Ozarks I guess this is my new idea of winter camping –chase the sun. Larry Rice keeps writing me about the wonders of Panama. Maybe a January canoe trip down there next year or the Everglades with Cliff Jacobson if we can pull that together?  Anyway right now I am focused on the Ozarks. Last year we hit the Dogwoods in bloom and the woods were a fairyland, this time, a focus on the waterfalls. With a late spring in Minnesota I am going to bring along my Kifaru tipi and a tiny woodstove. If we catch some cold April rain it will be nice to have a warm, dry tent to retreat into … Continue reading

Campcraft Tip

As readers likely already know, I prefer to cook over a fire while I am camping. It is true that stoves especially propane stoves, are easier, but I don’t go into the bush because it’s easier. As far as the environment goes, camping mostly in Minnesota and Ontario I also believe burning wood is the most responsible choice. Fossil fuels and the canisters that contain them are an abomination. Dead wood in the North Woods is abundant and with the elm, oak, spruce, ash, balsam and pine blights and the recent spate of wildfires and blow-downs, there is no shortage of dead wood. In fact, Minnesota has become a paradise for woodpeckers. It takes a while to learn how to build, start, and maintain a fire. It takes even longer to learn how to cook over a fire, but woodfire cooking creates a certain satisfaction and independence that cannot be replicated … Continue reading

Warming Water and Invasive Species Changing the Character of Quetico-Superior Lakes

058-DSC_02031The Lake Superior summer water temperatures are increasing more rapidly than regional air temperatures.  According to an article in the Ely Timberjay, the surface water temperatures of Lake Superior increased approximately 6 degrees F between 1979 and 2006. This is significantly greater than regional atmospheric warming. How this change will impact biodiversity and the proliferation of invasive species remains unclear, but according to scientist Dr. Euan Reavie, as quoted in the Timberjay, the impact is likely to be dramatic. Other lakes in the region are also experiencing effects of warmer summer water temperatures. These include more frequent and larger blue-green algae blooms in Lake of the Woods. On March 13-14 the tenth annual Water Quality Forum is being convened in  International … Continue reading

Rio Grande Dreams

I cannot stop thinking about the Rio Grande. It was a magical trip and I will get some photos and stories up soon. I will also talk about our trip at the Midwest Mountaineering Spring Expo. It was too late to do a program on the Rio Grande at Canoecopia but I do have a couple sessions which I am co-leading with Boundary Waters Journal publisher Stu Osthoff  about canoe camping. Despite being busy catching up with business and preparing, and being lured into the woods for some of the best Nordic skiing of the season, I often find myself back on the Rio Grande. Once again I am sprawled on the river bank listening to the swish of the sediment load and held in the grip by the spirit of the canyons….. what a privilege it was to paddle the lower canyons. What a joy to revisit the experience … Continue reading