Voyageur Quote: "You are as welcome as the flowers in May."    Charles Macklin



Saganaga on May 4th, 2009 

 Almost Ice Free



 Blue skies over Saganaga

Blue Skies and Blue Lakes














      The seasons are changing on the Gunflint Trail.  Winter is now over and will be stored away as a memory just like our shovels and window scrapers are tucked in the closet for the summer.  All of the snow has melted away at the end of the Gunflint Trail and our lakes are ice free.  Mud season is no longer an issue unless it's from the rain and now the paddling season has officially begun.

     Our first guest of the season made his way out onto Saganaga earlier today.  He'll no doubt have the lakes to himself until the word of open water has spread.  

     May is here in all her glory.  The temperatures have been in the high 50's and low 60's during the day; just perfect for tempting the dormant plants beneath the earth's surface.  The trees have new sprouts on them and the evening showers have helped to green things up on the Gunflint Trail.

     Come and see for yourself how beautiful my backyard is in May.





Run the Trail Less Traveled

Run the Trail Less Traveled 



Ham Run Half Marathon

 A Great Day for a Great Run 






  What's NEW?

Ham Run, So Much Fun-

     Sunday, May 3, 2009 brought over 120 runners to the Trail Less Traveled for the Ham Run Half-Marathon and 5k Fun Run.  It was a beautiful day for a run and fun at the end of the Gunflint Trail.  Over 300 people participated in the Post-Race celebration at the Trail's End Campground.  We're sorry if you missed it and we hope you'll plan to be at the Ham Run on Sunday, May 2, 2010.  



Boundary Waters Blog- Are you wondering if the ice is out? Worried about a fire ban? The Boundary Waters Blog is the place to look.  It's updated on a daily basis to keep you informed.  You can also see the latest Tweet on the blog so be sure to bookmark it and visit often or follow me on Twitter;  The Boundary Waters Blog Lady.



Boundary Waters almost Ice Free 

  Ice in front of Clark Island


Last of the BWCA Ice


 Ice Bergs of the BWCA

Voyageur Canoe Outfitters

"Where the Trail Ends Your Voyage Begins"
Mike and Sue Prom

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Boundary Waters Almost Liquid

 Ice Going Out


 Ice crystals on Saganaga

Ice Crystals during Ice Out







Ice, Ice Baby So Cold-

     This time of year our phone rings almost non-stop with people asking about the ice conditions.  It's so tempting to come up with something sarcastic to say, but most of the time we give our best guess on ice out date and that seems to be good enough. 

     Ice out means different things to different people.  Some folks say the ice is out if you can skirt around the shoreline of a lake.  Others say it's out if a good portion of the lake's ice is gone.  For me, the ice is out when there isn't any more ice left floating on the water's surface.

   If you haven't ever watched the ice go out then you probably don't realize it doesn't just sink as one big mass all at the same time.

     Most years the ice out is a gradual process that happens somewhat systematically.  The smaller and shallower lakes along the Gunflint Trail go out first while Seagull, Saganaga and Gunflint tend to hold on to their ice longer.  However this year, the late snowfall down the Trail hampered the ice out process and while there's still ice on Hungry Jack and Poplar, we're ice free up at the end of the Trail.

     The snow on top of the ice acts as insulation.  We like that for snowmobiling in the winter, but not so much at the end of April.  When the snow is melted off of the ice the strong spring rays of the sun are able to penetrate through the ice and warm the water below.  The ice starts to melt from the bottom up and then changes shape to allow water to travel up and in between the empty spaces of ice.  This makes the ice appear grey or black because the sun isn't reflecting as much light because of the water.  It gets to a point when there's so much water in those columns of ice they begin to break apart at the surface.  Rain and wind make this process move even faster and soon all of the little columns of ice begin to float free of each other.

     When we took the boat out onto Sag on the 4th of May we were able to see this first hand.  Open patches of water mixed with areas of loose ice crystals that when the waves hit them sound like a million tiny chimes in the wind.  It's a beautiful sound only heard during ice out. 

     When the ice is at this stage you can fairly easily break through it with a boat.  Once in awhile you'll run into a chunk that is a bit too much and you'll have to pick a different path.  Kind of like following the ice flows on an expedition to the Pole. 

     Once it has reached this point it's only a matter of time before the ice is gone.  That's why we knew when we were out on Sag on the 4th the ice would for sure be gone by opener and most likely would be gone the next day.  We didn't take a boat ride out onto Sag on the 5th because we figured it was still holding on.  But today, the 6th of May, it is out and off of Saganaga Lake.  Liquid once again.


Noisy Spring Peeper 

Spring Peeper







Hooded Merganser




Noisy Neighborhood-

     Even though there are very few people around right now the noise is almost unbearable.  Even in the early hours of the morning it's difficult to hear over the loud chatter and non-stop pounding.

     It's Spring on the Gunflint Trail and everyone is excited.  The birds are especially vocal and enthusastic and long before my kids are ready to wake up for the day the white throated sparrows are singing their song. 

    On a walk around the moose pond the air is filled with the sounds.  The peep frogs are noisily trying to get the attention of the opposite sex and other frogs are attempting to be heard above the peep frogs incessant call.

     Waterfowl on their way north make their presence known by loudly announcing it.  The Canadian Geese honk while the ducks quack and chatter endlessly.

     Other noises fill the air as well.  The call of the loon, the tap, tap, tapping of the woodpeckers, the thumping of the grouse and the owls hooting in the dark.

   There's nothing as quiet as a cold winter's day and nothing more lovely than a noisy day in May.


  walleye spawning

See the Walleye?




Nice Walleye

Come and Get 'Em




Fishing Opener and Walleye Spawn- 

     The Walleye have begun their spawn at the end of the Trail just in time for the Minnesota Fishing Opener.  

     The big females are making their way upstream to lay their eggs.  Not far behind them are the males waiting to fertilize the eggs.  And after that the nasty sucker fish will be in to feast on the tasty eggs.  What eggs don't become the next meal for a sucker will become tiny walleye frey that will eventually turn into fish just right for catching.

     There's a rumor floating around about the potential stocking of walleye in some of our lakes up here on the Gunflint Trail.  Wouldn't that be nice for Saganaga?  

     While these fish won't be ready to catch by opener there are others out there.  They are ready and waiting anxiously for the opener this Saturday, May 9th. 

     Come celebrate Mother's Day and fish the opener with Voyageur.  We have a cabin open and we'd love to see you here.       1-888-CANOEIT     




Thank you for reading our newsletter.  We hope you enjoy it and tell others about it.  

  Mike, Sue and the Voyageur Crew