Happy Birthday

Well, after recovering from our trip to Philadelphia we headed to Itasca State Park to celebrate my 28th birthday, (thank you for all the phone calls and birthday wishes via Facebook).  While probably not a world famous park, it is significant because it is the headwaters of the mighty Mississippi River. 

Before reaching the park we made a stop in Bemidji, MN where we were excited to finally come face-to-face with Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.

The 3 of us with Paul & Babe
The drive to the park was nice and scenic. After a picnic on the shore of Lake Itasca we made our way to the famous headwaters area.

The 3 of Us at the Headwaters Area

Beautiful Park!
It was everything I had hoped for and more, clear water and a calming current. What more could one ask for?

Ethan's Strenuous Journey Across the Mississippi

After our strenuous journey crossing the Mighty Miss. on foot we drove through the park and stopped at the largest white pine tree in the state.

There it is in all its glory
We next arrived at Elk Lake where we decided to launch our boat and attempt to catch Muskie. While we were unsuccessful in our quest, it was nice to be on the water and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Elk Lake
After a long day driving and exploring our state and the park, we headed back to our campsite to enjoy some s'mores and get some rest. We were lucky to get a site because there were only two available when we made reservations and both campgrounds filled up. We tried out the latest and greatest in marshmallow designs, the flat marshmallow.

We were excited to try but disappointed in the results

Enjoying our Campfire

We weren’t impressed, it melts off the stick and two are needed to equal one round marshmallow. It rained that night but we weren’t dismayed as it seems that it has been raining almost daily. The next day was spent doing mundane tasks like getting a much needed haircut and stocking up on supplies. Overall it was a great birthday weekend spent with J and Loafy. We would go back and visit again.

That was the highlight of our week. Otherwise we have been laying low. This upcoming weekend is the 4th of July, happy Independence Day to all! We are eagerly expecting our first visitors of the summer, Dad, Schmoo, Gingy, & Rocky. Hopefully it will be enjoyed by all, and there will be lots to share. Until next time.

E, J and Meatloaf

Enjoy some pics we took from the boat while in Voyageurs this week!

Beautiful Eagle

The Friendly Loon that came within 5 yards of our boat


Celebrations of Sorts.

Last weekend we had a wonderful time in Pennsylvania with E’s family.  Aaron and Sue had a beautiful wedding; gorgeous bride, handsome groom, beautiful church, delicious food, wonderful venue, and of course the special touches did not go unnoticed- chocolates’ representing home states, hotel giftbags, fans for the ceremony, cheesecake martini bar, the mock-tini….it was wonderful!  Geography makes it difficult to see his family as often as we would like- so it was really nice to have everyone in one place.

The Precious Bride & Groom

Look at my handsome love in a tux!

Barbara & Her Baby

The Best Man & Maid of Honor
E & I hope the newlyweds are having a fabulous honeymoon in Germany!

We stayed in a suburb of Philly so we obviously had to make the trip to Geno’s for an authentic cheesesteak.  Ethan’s brother Dana came with us to enjoy the deliciousness of what a cheesesteak with whiz entails. 
Team Geno's

On Sunday before we headed back to the wilderness we celebrated Schmoo Baby’s, my Dad’s, and E’s June Birthdays-plus it was Father’s Day!  We had an awesome steak dinner and a DQ Reese’s Blizzard Cake for dessert!  Two thumbs up for the Blizzard Cake it was delicious!  I really do have the BEST Dad in the world!
I was lucky enough to get an opportunity to go eagle banding this year!  Researchers have studied the eagle population here at Voyageurs National Park for almost 40 years.  This year 75 nests were observed and 38 of them had incubating pairs.  On Monday I was able to go out with the two gentlemen from the University of Maryland and Lee Grimm the Resources guy who heads this project up every year.  Probably the coolest thing I’ve done all summer!  The researcher climbed the tree and whispered sweet nothings to the eaglet, the adult eagles made all sorts of ruckus and flew overhead, the researcher put the eaglet into a bag and hoisted it down, and then the other researcher took all sorts of data from it and about it; plucked a few feathers, drew blood, measured its beak, talons, and weight.

Sassy the Eagle
Other than that it has been a quiet week, the weather has been wet and windy.  Those are not conducive conditions for the boat so we’ve been catching up on our sleep from this past weekend. 

We have big plans for the weekend ahead!!!!  Miss Barbara gave birth to E-Love 28 years ago tomorrow!  We are heading to Itasca State Park also known as the Mississippi River Headwaters to celebrate the important day!

Check back next Thursday…Ethan will share all about the adventure!


Local Flavor

We decided to explore the west end of the park last weekend because we’re heading to Philadelphia this weekend!  I am glad we did because the weather cooperated and we spotted all sorts of wildlife.  On Friday afternoon we set out to explore Gold Portage.  Gold Portage is at the Northwest end of Kabetogama Lake, it is a less frequented area with plenty of waterfowl.
Gold Portage

On the short portage to see the rapids, Meat was driving us all sorts of crazy!  I swear if he wasn’t so high strung and anxious he’d be a fabulous hunting dog.  E was going to do away with him, but I just couldn’t bring myself to let him do it.

Loafy can be so naughty
These families of Common Goldeneyes were so precious and fluffy!  Did you know Goldeneyes are one of the last ducks species to migrate south for the fall?  The females are also known to lay their eggs in another female’s nest…who does that?
Common Goldeneye Babies
We camped for the first time in the park this summer at the Windigo site.  It was a great location on the peninsula as all the island sites were occupied.  In the evening a beaver visited the small bay in front of the site.  The Loons visited in the morning making all sorts of ruckus.
Sweetie was interested in other things

On Saturday morning we took our time packing up and fished for a bit on the west end.  I must say fishing is off to a very slow start!  However, my future professional fisherman caught a gi-normous perch!  Biggest perch I have actually ever seen with my own eyes measuring 13 inches in length and just over a pound!   It was so much  fun to watch him reel it in, help him net it and then discover it was a perch-not an intended walleye.
I love his energy
E also started his Kettle Falls Cruise tours last Sunday!  It was a sold out boat and he had very happy visitors on the return, I was so proud of my Park Ranger!  I on the other hand am continuing to hold up the walls in the visitor center Sunday through Thursday.
I have some very sad news to share… I was a little saddened when we seen the porcupine on the way to work in the morning but E scrapped him off the road and flung him in the ditch to decompose.  Even worse, I was absolutely devastated when we saw turkey vultures flying ahead-another fawn was hit!  If you know me, you know I love deer…it was tragic. 
Examining the Poor Guy

Peace be with you

However to avoid another wildlife travesty my wonderful Park Ranger friends helped the painted turtle cross the road.
This picture makes me laugh

We’re on our way to Philly in the morning for E’s brother Aaron’s wedding!  We’re hoping to grab a Philly cheesesteak before the weekend is over!  Gino’s or Pat’s??

E, J, & Loaf


Gone Fishing.

Well, another week has passed and it’s time for an update. Starting first with days off (those are the most important).  The forecast was calling for thunderstorms both days off, not the outlook one wants to see if they planned on being on a boat. So we switched gears and got our land legs back by taking a trip to Ely, MN or also known as, Canoe Capital U.S.A. We took the back-roads hoping to see wildlife. We saw a lot of deer but no moose, wolves, or black bears. We went hiking into a couple back-country lakes that were beautiful and that we would like to portage a canoe into soon.
Astrid Lake
 The trail even had the MN state flower, the Showy Ladyslipper, blooming which was our first glimpse this year.
Pleasant Surprise
Once we got to Ely we hit the International Wolf Center. The exhibits were well done, but we didn’t get to see the wolves because they were hiding in the woods. We had worked up an appetite so picked the Chocolate Moose to end our hunger. They aren’t related to the Chocolate Moose in International  Falls if you were wondering. The food was great and the pie was awesome. We hit the road again heading back home, but we first stopped at Bear Head Lake State Park to scout it out, and I think there may be a future post containing an update from there.
Now to the fishing, J picked up her first walleye of the year within seconds of putting her line in the water.
1st Walleye of the Season
I was happy for her, but I couldn’t let that stand so I caught a couple of my own a few days later.
2 Walleye to J's 1
We hope that everyone is well and can’t wait to see everyone in Philly next week at Aaron’s wedding.
That’s all for now I need to get my line in the water.
E, J, & Meatloaf


It ain't all sunshine- Transitional Pains

The "new" has worn away and now the realities of being 5 hours from the Twin Cities have slapped me in the face. The pace is turtle slow, my capabilities out number the responsibilities, some peoples' personalities rub me the wrong way, some people don't know that silence is okay or when to shut their traps, doing nothing is exhausting and when it rains E & I are stuck in a 1978-20 foot travel trailer.  By Summer's end I am hoping the positives outweigh the negatives.

God knows I am going crazy because all of my e-devos are speaking right to me.  I always ask for patience and it never gets any easier. I just get more lessons.  When I shared with people my plans to move north for the summer they called me crazy.  Turns out I'm not crazy but there are crazies up here let me tell you.

This week has certainly had its upsides;

Canoeing is so much fun when your paddle partner knows what they are doing!  The first time E and I went for a canoe trip it was down the St. Croix- I thought I was going to hurt him.  I ended up paddling by myself some of the way because he had us doing circles down the river.  He's definatley improved and it makes for such a better time out on the water.  He even caught a fish while we were out!

Kettle Falls is an old hotel in the Park built in the early 1910's and is still around.  E & I had the opportunity to visit last week during the latter part of training.

Kettle Falls

Cold Springs Deer Farm has the best ice cream and E & I were able to see one of the new additions!  I love deer!


For those of you who have been asking about MeatLoaf...he's loving it!  He's the watch dog at the Love Shack during the day and when we get home he's hiking, fishing, or tooling around the area with us.  He's such a Ham.
They're both hams!

I got off to a slow start this fishing season, like many of the other anglers up here- so I don't feel too bad about my lack of trophy fish.  I finally caught my first fish of the season last night, just a northern pike but I am on the board.  The score is tied now E-3 J-3!

1st Fish of the Season

Happy Trails,

E & J