"If I wished to see a mountain or other scenery under the most favorable auspices, I would go to it in foul weather, so as to be there when it cleared up; we are then in the most suitable mood, and Nature is most fresh and inspiring.  There is no serenity so fair as that which is just established in a tearful eye."  Henry David Thoreau 



  Voyageur Canoe Outfitters high water

High Water June 2008



Voyageur Canoe Outfitters low water 

 Low water September 2010  













September on the Gunflint Trail-

          The rule of thirds means one thing in photography and another thing when used to describe the weather on the Trail this past August.  We experienced the third driest year out of the past ten years and the third hottest year as well.  The average daytime high temperature was 76.10 degrees while the average low for the month was 56.39 degrees.  These temperatures and abundant sunshine made for some beautiful days for canoe camping.

     The lack of significant rainfall combined with windy days caused the forest to dry out quickly.  Thankfully only one small fire started near the Gunflint Trail and it was quickly contained.  With only 2 inches of rain throughout the entire month the water levels are historically low.

       The good news is we already have as much rainfall in the first four days of September as we had for the entire month of August.  Two inches of rain fell with one inch on the 2nd and one inch on the 3rd.  That will help alleviate the fire danger and should help bring the water level up a bit.

     It's normal for the water level to go down in the fall but it started out so low in the spring that it's way too low now.   We're struggling to get guests through the rapids in our towboats.  My saying is, "It's not a matter of if we're going to hit a rock, it's a matter of how many and how hard." 

     We're hoping we'll get some substantial rainfall this month and throughout the fall.  It would be nice to fill up the lakes and have a decent water level to begin with next spring. 

     There is still plenty of water left in the lakes of the Boundary Waters and Quetico Park.  Enough for me to paddle and fish and enjoy the solitude of a September wilderness trip.  Why not see for yourself? It's a great time to paddle and it is way too long to wait until next year to take your next canoe trip.





A Taste of the Gunflint Trail 

Buy a Taste of the Gunflint Trail now!



 Voyageur Canoe Outfitters-

Where the Trail Ends Your Voyage Begins





 Wenonah's Canak

Paddling the Canak 






 What's New?-       

 Fall Specials-    Special weekends for special people at Voyageur this September.  An all inclusive package with food, lodging and equipment rentals for one low price.  The weekend of September 16-19th is reserved for firefighters and their families.  The next weekend, September 23-26th is saved for Boy Scouts, Leaders and their families.  October 7-10th anyone into Geocaching is invited to spend the weekend with us.   Do you have a special group that is interested in a great weekend package?  We'd love to see you at Voyageur so give us a call for more details about these and other special packages. 1-888-CANOEIT

Taste of the Gunflint Trail-

     Come join us this Saturday, September 11th for a Taste of the Gunflint Trail.  It's a Trail wide event where folks can visit many of the lodges on the Gunflint Trail and get a taste of not only a special recipe but also of the resort as well.  It's a great opportunity to check out the different resorts and see what they're all about. 

      From 11am until 5pm visitors can stop by any of the participating lodges.  The lodges will have a taste of a recipe from the cookbook,  "A Taste of the Gunflint Trail."  The book is a compilation of stories and recipes from the resorts on the Trail.  During a Taste of the Trail for a donation you can sample Mom’s Donuts at Golden Eagle Lodge, Monster Bars at Clearwater Lodge and Aunt Bea’s Sour Cream and Raisin Pie at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters. Chik-Wauk will host a pie and ice cream social for a minimal donation of $5.00 per person which includes admission to the museum.

     The event is a fundraiser for the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center. You’ll experience much more than a taste of the Trail when you visit this museum at the end of the Gunflint Trail. It’s filled with wonderful displays featuring the history of the Trail including the Voyageurs, Miners, Loggers, resort owners and more.

     The real treat of the day is the opportunity to experience the flavor of the Gunflint Trail first hand.  It's a great time to drive up the Gunflint and look for moose and welcome the first signs of fall.  Hope to see you here.

Blogs and More-

     Have you had a chance to check out the new blog on our Voyageur website?  Be sure to visit the site and share your Voyageur Story and photos with our readers. 

     Don't forget to find my stories on the Examiner Page.  Feel free to subscribe to the RSS Feed so you can receive updates automatically.

     We have added some new canoe camping items to our online store and will be adding some used equipment soon.  We'll have Kevlar canoes as well as some packs for sale.  If you're in the market for a nice canoe then be sure to check out our online store.

 Canak by Wenonah

     Are you looking for a great way to explore the wilderness waters all by yourself?  Look no more, the Canak is your answer to solo travel in the BWCA and Quetico. 

     The Canak has a hull similar to our favorite solo canoe by Wenonah and looks like a kayak on the top.  There are two large cockpits to put even the most overstuffed Duluth Packs into. 

     The Canak paddles wonderfully even in wind and waves.  My  9-year old son Josh is even comfortable in it.  It's a great way to travel the Boundary Waters when you're doing it on your own.         













 Lizard Lake FIre by Bob Baker

Lizard Lake Fire

SLizard Lake Fire on the Gunflint Trail

Smoke from Lizard Lake Fire



Lizard Lake Fire-

     The fire danger on the Gunflint Trail was high in August and a lightning strike smoldered for about a week until a fire erupted from it on August 26th, 2010.  The smoke could be seen from the Gunflint Trail but was over a mile away from any structures on the Trail.  It wasn't near any canoe routes either so the USFS chose to let it burn while monitoring it.       

      The fire started near Lizard Lake which is a mile north of Long Island Lake and about a mile south of Dawson Lake.  It was named the Lizard Lake Fire by the USFS and was only about 1/4 of an acre in size after the first day of the fire.

      The fire did not grow much on the 27th and was only about an acre and a half in size on the morning of the 28th.  The forecast was for high winds and hot temperatures for the next few days and when the wind picked up later in the day on the 28th overhead support was called in. 

     Two CL-215's and a helicopter arrived on the afternoon of the 28th.  They dropped water focusing on the East perimeter of the fire to prevent it from spreading towards the Gunflint Trail.  At the end of the day 40+ acres had burned. 

      The planes continued to work on the fire over the next couple of days.  Mother Nature lent a hand and doused the fire with 2 inches of rain.  With her assistance and the USFS the Lizard Lake Fire has been contained and subdued at approximately 52 acres. 

     I'm happy the Lizard Lake Fire is now a part of the history of the Gunflint Trail.  With a little luck Mother Nature will continue to cooperate and the only fires we'll see on the Gunflint Trail this year will be prescribed burns, campfires or a fire in the fireplace. 

Portaging the Boundary Waters

Portaging Paige


 Paddling the Boundary Waters Canoe Area

Still smiling in the BWCA 


 Paddling the BWCAW

Paddling Wenonah's Canak


  Boundary Waters Camping

Having Fun in the tent!




 Another Quick Trip-

        Mr. Wind likes to blow when I go paddling.  This was the case on the day I decided to take my two nieces and two kids to Red Rock Lake for an overnight camping trip in the BWCA. 

       On the tow across Saganaga we saw some white caps created by the 10-20 mile per hour winds that were blowing.  Gusts of up to 30 miles per hour were mixed in and you couldn't tell what direction the wind was coming from.

        We got a tow to the portage into Red Rock and only had to make it to a campsite.  With four kids ranging in age from 9-16 I decided to take both a Minnesota 4 and the Canak made by Wenonah.  The Minnesota 4 is 23 feet long and has 4 seats with the middle seat capable of seating two smaller kids side by side.  I figured we all could have fit into the MN 4 with our gear but thought it would be more fun to have the Canak(a solo canoe kayak hybrid) for use at camp.  

     The water level in the BWCA is crazy low right now and that made taking off into Red Rock Lake difficult.  There were rocks all over and with a 23 foot long canoe it was hard to find a place to float that wasn't touching rocks.  Eventually we made it out of the bay and into the big wind only to realize I couldn't get the canoe to steer the direction I wanted it to go.  I figured I had too much weight in the front of the canoe and decided to head over to a campsite to reposition the paddlers.  

     In the meantime,  Josh the only boy in the group besides Rugby the dog paddled up next to us in the Canak.  I have no idea what got into Rugby but he obviously didn't like being the only boy in the canoe and made a jump for Josh's boat.  Needless to say, he didn't make it so there we all were trying to scoop him out of the water while keeping the canoe and Canak upright.

     We probably should have just taken the campsite we switched positions at.  It's a fine site but we had a different one in mind for the evening so we pressed onward.  Into the waves we went and before long we made it to our campsite.  

     My nieces hadn't been on a Boundary Waters trip before and they did an awesome job.  Everyone helped put the tent and hammocks up and then we took a refreshing swim.  The sun was warm as we jumped, splashed and played in the water.  Then we all relaxed on the warm granite rocks and took in the sound of the trees swaying in the wind.

     We swung in the hammock, snacked on the shoreline and played games outside on top of a rock hill.  We goofed around in the tent before quieting down to listen to the loons as we drifted off to sleep.  

     The next day the wind was blowing just as hard but their paddling skills and confidence improved overnight.  They paddled in unison and I could see how much fun a longer trip with them would be.    

     I hope they had a good Boundary Waters experience in spite of my somewhat short temper.  At times I was nervous about tipping with them and I maybe bit their heads off a couple of times.  Being responsible for the most precious cargo on earth was a bit stressful for me. 

     But as I watched them unload the towboat I knew then they would have been just fine even if something had happened to me while we were out in the wilderness.  The confidence they gained during that one night experience was evident in all they did.  I just hope they don't realize they could do it themselves or I may not be invited along next year.

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 Boundary Waters Sunset

Sunsets... Just another reason to visit Voyageur




Ten Reasons to Visit the Canoe Country this September-    

     Not that anyone needs a reason to visit the Boundary Waters or Quetico Park but just in case you don't have enough information to convince yourself here's some more.

  1. Migration of birds- hawks, geese, ducks & more
  2. Wild Ricing- get a permit and go try it
  3. Hungry hummingbirds & hummingbird moths- bulking up for their migration
  4. Enjoy the Equinox
  5. Taste of the Gunflint Trail
  6. Variety of weather and temperatures
  7. Clear crisp days
  8. Good chance at catching a monster northern pike
  9. Moose and more active wildlife
  10. Leaves and their ever-changing fall colors 


We hope you enjoy our newsletter and tell others about it!

  Mike, Sue and the Voyageur Crew  


Sierra Trading Post Sierra Club