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Voyageur Canoe Outfitters on April 3, 2011
Seagull River on April 3, 2011


BWCA campsite
Spring in the Boundary Waters


Gunflint Trail April 21, 2011
  Gunflint Trail on April 21, 2011
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Voyageur Canoe Outfitters
Voyageur Outfitters on April 23, 2001

Early Paddling
  Found some open water 

Clear Waters Outfitting Company
Clear Waters Outfitting Company

"In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours. ~Mark Twain

The Winter that Won't Quit

     Just when you think Winter has let go of its grip on the Gunflint Trail she tightens it once again.  Spring is struggling to make a stand but just can't get sure footing on the snow covered and slippery earth.
     It's been quite the battle of the seasons this month of April.  We received a fresh batch of over 6" of snow during the first week of April but it was followed by warm temperatures and a hot sun so it quickly melted.
     In mid-April another half of a foot of snow fell to the ground on the Gunflint Trail.  That snow stayed around a little longer because of the lack of sunshine and low temperatures at night.  Almost all of the snow had disappeared except in the woods or in snow banks and we thought Spring had finally won.
     I drove down the Gunflint Trail on the 21st of April taking in the sights of Spring.  There were places completely free of snow and I was sure winter had been defeated.  But then last night Winter countered with another 4-6 inches of wet and sticky snow.
     Like a tennis match or see-saw Winter and Spring have gone back and forth this April on the Gunflint Trail.  Almost all of last night's snow has melted and we know in the end Spring will win but not without Winter giving it its best shot.

Early Season Paddling

      Every year I dream about getting out for an early season canoe trip.  I think of the quiet wilderness and having it all to myself.  I imagine walking a portage and finding a moose shed or waking up to a fresh blanket of snow. 
      An early season canoe camping trip can be a wonderful experience as long as you are prepared and careful.  When the ice goes off of the lakes the water temperature is very cold.  It remains pretty cold almost all summer long.  Not Lake Superior cold but it hovers around 70 degrees for the most part.
     The cold water and cold air temperatures combined can equal a disaster for someone who capsizes.  Hypothermia can set in very quickly so it's always good to be extra cautious when paddling in the Spring.
     We don't recommend taking a solo trip in the Spring.  If something were to happen then there wouldn't be another canoe or person to go for help.  If you're canoe accidentally floated away from your campsite then you might be waiting for a long time before another group of canoeists paddled by.  There is truth in the saying, "There is safety in numbers."
     If you plan and prepare accordingly you can have a wonderful early season canoe trip.  Bring along the right clothes, wear your life vest, paddle with at least one other canoe and you'll have the time of your life. 
     If you're itching to visit the Boundary Waters your opportunity will be here before you know it.  Give us a call and we'll help you plan a trip for the early season or anytime. 
April Snow Makes Rivers Flow

     I will not complain about the snow we are receiving in spite of the fact it makes mud season extremely long. This snowfall will only help bring up the low water levels we experienced last fall on the Gunflint Trail.
      All of this snowfall is also welcome because it will keep the soil saturated. With a blanket of snow covering the earth it is difficult or near impossible for a wildfire to burn.
      There's a short window of time that normally exists between winter snow melt and the spring green up when the forest is in a vulnerable state. Luckily we've had snow most of this time and it won't be long until the trees have budded and the risk of wildfire will be minimal. This snow is almost as good as an insurance policy when it comes to preventing a spring wildfire on the Gunflint Trail.
Signs of Spring at Voyageur

      There is some open water visible on the Gunflint Trail and that's a sure sign of Spring.  The Seagull River in front of Voyageur has opened up and the water is flowing once again.  There is still ice between our place and the rapids but it won't be long before it's free of ice.
     The creeks can already be paddled as was observed last Thursday when I drove to Grand Marais.  There was a solo canoeist in the Seagull Creek and one at the Larch Lake entry point into the Boundary Waters.  Larch Lake is still socked in with ice but it's a nice paddle nonetheless. 
      I've seen other signs of Spring including my first robin. Just yesterday a lone loon landed in the Seagull River and we've had ducks here too.  Bald eagles are hanging around the open water and other winged wonders have been spotted as well.
     The earth is greening up and fresh shoots are popping out through the earth.  Pussy willows are present and the smell of fresh dirt is in the air. Come see what Spring is like at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters.
Early Season Specials

April 29-May 1st
      Visit Voyageur Canoe Outfitters next weekend for the 4th Annual Ham Run Half-Marathon on the Gunflint Trail. It's an eco-friendly sustainable event in a pristine wilderness. If you're a runner then come challenge yourself on the hills of a National Scenic Byway. If you're a walker then enter our 5k for a walk in the wilderness. Little Runts can run and the more spectators the merrier. Pay just $200 for a two night stay for two people and $50 for each additional person. We'll even include a free registration for one runner if you want to join the fun. Give us a call or e-mail us today. Accommodations are limited and must be paid in full at the time of reservation on a first come first served basis.
May 6-8th
      Things are greening up on the Gunflint Trail and you can lend a hand during the Gunflint Green Up. It's a great weekend filled with food, music and fun. You can help plant trees and take guided hikes in the woods. Join us for just $100 per person for the weekend. This includes lodging, dinner and entertainment on Friday and Saturday night, a bag lunch on Saturday, registration for Green Up and a free-t-shirt. You won't find a better deal for a weekend package anywhere. Come stay with us and help celebrate the Gunflint Green Up.
May 13-16th
      Join us on the Minnesota Fishing Opener for a Lake Trout extravaganza. We're including 2 or 3 nights lodging, a boat and motor rental and a special Saganaga Lake Trout Tackle Box. Bring up to 4 people for $250 for the entire weekend package. Mike will even mark up a map filled with some secret Lake Trout holes on Sag Lake.
May 20-27th
     The Canadian Fishing Opener is on the 21st of May and we'd love to have you join us on the Gunflint Trail.  We'll provide your group of up to four people with lodging, one night guided fishing and a boat and motor rental for $500 total.  An entire week of fishing fun on the Canadian side of Saganaga Lake.
Hudson Bay Expedition Celebrates Voyageur's 50th Anniversary

     The Voyageur Hudson Bay Expedition website is now up and running.  Be sure to check it out and read all about the four modern day Voyageurs.  Wenonah Canoe has sponsored them and they have received generous donations from Granite Gear, Richmoor and Jack Links. Other individuals have donated money and you can help cover the costs of their expedition by visiting this website.  
     In just 30 days the Expedition will begin on Lake Superior.  You can be a part of an exciting weekend from May 20-23rd.  On Saturday night there will be a Fundraising Dinner where you can mingle with the Voyageurs and on Sunday morning you can have them serve you during the Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser. 
     Monday morning you can help wish them well as they begin the Grand Portage from Lake Superior.  Follow them on their journey via the blog or the website. 
     They are helping us celebrate 50 years of outfitting people on wilderness trips.  Be a part of this exciting journey and help us celebrate the wilderness and 50 years of Voyageur Canoe Outfitters at the end of the Gunflint Trail.
Voyageur Canoe Outfitters 1961-2011 50 YEARS!
Celebrate some More at the Mississippi Meltdown

     Clear Waters Outfitting Company is holding a Paddle Fest in Clearwater, Minnesota just an hour away from the Twin Cities off of I-94 on Saturday, May 7th.  If you haven't checked them out yet then this is a perfect opportunity to do so.  There will be a canoe auction, lots of canoes and kayaks to demo and even a table where you might run into someone from the Voyageur Crew!  Mike and I are planning to make a quick trip South for the weekend event so if you're looking for something to do from 10am-6pm then come say hello at the Mississippi Meltdown.