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The perks of April showers

Well, we had a nice long run of sunny days, but the rain must come as part of the spring package. Looks like we are heading into a stretch of rain/ snow mix here for the next few days. As enjoyable as the clear blue skies and warm temperatures may be, the gloomy days that bring along precipitation are equally as important to the North Shore environment and can be appreciated for their own reasons.

Reason #1) Roaring waterfalls

The runoff from the melting snow combined with the rainfall raises the water levels and rapid speeds substantially. This time of year is great for touring waterfalls and there are tons of rivers in the area that provide these wondrous views.

Caribou Falls

Caribou Falls

I took this shot a couple weeks ago on a trip down the North Shore. The epic Caribou Falls is located just outside of the Cook County border and is definitely worth the 1/2 mile hike down the Superior Hiking Trail to check it out. I awoke to snow covered ground on this particular morning but it did not stick around for long. I took a group of guests down here for a tour on a more recent occasion during our streak of warm weather and the ice and snow was obsolete.

Gooseberry Falls

Gooseberry Falls

I visited Gooseberry that same day and walked the “Falls Views” loop. It was probably about a mile long and offered amazing views of the high, middle and low falls from all different perspectives. Great leg stretcher while driving up for a visit to Lutsen.

Reason #2) Fishing

The steelhead are running now and the determined fisherman are lining the mouths of the rivers awaiting that promising tug on the line.

Poplar River

Poplar River

The mouth of the Poplar River flows right into the shoreline in front of the main lodge here at Lutsen Resort. As the water warms up, the steelhead migrate from the big lake and go upstream the rivers to spawn. Following the spawn, they return back to the big lake and must pass through the mouths of the rivers, creating an ideal fishing hub. I have noticed many fisherman frequenting here recently and a young boy reported yesterday that he had a few catches. Another local fisherman said the day after a rainfall is prime time to get out and fish because the rain increases the run of the steelhead.

Upstream the Poplar River

Upstream the Poplar River

The rivers are very brown with runoff right now. This creates a noticeable contrast between the water close to shore and the water further out on the big lake. The brown color hugs the shoreline and then dissolves back into the original color of the lake about 30 feet out. I notice that the blue hue of the lake on a given day reflects the sky; this morning it was a gray/ navy blue color:

Shore line of Lake Superior

Shore line of Lake Superior

Reason #3) Alleviate drought

Rain is an essential asset to our ecosystem in order for the vibrant natural colors of the spring and summer foliage to come out. A kin to human beings, plants also need water to flourish and the lack of such lately rendered very dry grounds. So this rain is contributing to the life cycle of the North Shore in a positive way. I was down in Minneapolis this week right after a rain spell and came upon this blossoming tree. The streets were also lined with green grass:

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Spring in Minneapolis

It will only  be a matter of time until spring makes its way up here, and we also will be surrounded by pinks, greens and blues. Until then, we can only appreciate the inconsistent weather patterns for what they’re worth. As an old Minnesota proverb says:

“There is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing.”

 

 

 

 

New year, new look

Hallway1We started out the year working diligently to complete the residing of the hallway outside our Pub. It has a livening effect on me in the morning as I walk through that area to clock in and grab a cup of Joe. The fresh, new wood really does wonders brightening up the hallway, as the natural light from the courtyard and the lobby windows illuminates the light brown hues on the walls.

IMG_2375April is a month to celebrate and emphasize acts of environmental sustainability with Earth Day right around the corner. In that regard, the most exciting part of the renovation is the addition to our “boatwood” tables and chairs, which add more seating space outside our Poplar River Pub. These chairs are made of recycled Balinese fishing boats. The rustic splash of color complements the new wood walls quite well.

Bali Boat.4

Courtney & Leigh Interiors of Superior, WI turn the journey of retired fishing boats re-imagined into designer furniture.  Every piece is authentic and unique, built with boatwood from the exotic island of bali and crafted with original wood and paint from retired boats.

The hallway improvements also included a new quieter space for our computer station; new coffee station and a built-in bookshelf, which opens up a whole shelf for more reads.

Improvements in the resort will continue as we plan to replace all the windows on the West side of the Lodge this spring and a major portion of the Lodge exterior will be painted. Changes like these will give you something to look forward to seeing during your next stay while also enjoying the original Lutsen Resort tradition.

An evening excursion around Temperance River

I took a group of guests out on an evening excursion along Temperance River on a recent clear and crisp Friday night. This spot along the Superior Hiking Trail is ideal right now because the snow has melted off the frozen falls revealing the intricate ice formations.

Bird's eye view of the hidden falls

Bird’s eye view of the hidden falls

I did not make it to Temperance at all this winter, so it feels good to be back leading tours there because it is such a beautiful area. I enjoy looking at the variety of lichen, moss, and fungus that grow on the rocks. The combination of the green, orange, and brown hues with the bit of white snow left over juxtaposed with the dark rock creates a natural masterpiece of art.

Frozen cascade

Frozen cascade

The running water underneath the frozen cascades is visible as well, producing a flitting effect. Hearing the river flow again is very refreshing after the winter; sure sign of spring. The sun light shining through the trees as it goes down for the evening illuminates all of the different colors of the forest and produces a glistening effect on the ice, snow and water.

Upstream

Upstream

I shared this experience with seven other guests of Lutsen Resort. One couple had been to Temperance before, last winter, but said this time was a “totally different experience.” I have noticed that myself; no matter how many times I have walked the same path, each hike renders a unique perspective or observation. The way the sun is shining, the time of day, the company, whatever it may be makes every tour memorable in a different way.

My enthusiastic group of hikers

Our enthusiastic group of hikers

One of my favorite aspects of the Temperance River hike is that the trail goes on both the inland side and the lake side, so guests get to see a little bit of both worlds. The sunset colors over the lake offer a mesmerizing sight, and one can only look forward to the stargazing that is guaranteed with the nightfall of these clear skies.

Sunset over the lake

Sunset over the lake

Throughout my time here, I have lead morning, afternoon, evening, and night tours and I tell you, every hour of the day offers unforgettable views that you just won’t find anywhere else. A breath of fresh air and a picture of new scenery feeds and rejuvenates the soul- always worth your while.

Enjoying the remnants of snow

Believe it or not, we still have snow along certain sections of the Superior Hiking Trail. I took our guests on a guided hike to Lake Agnes, a pristine lake located about five miles inland up the Caribou Trail. The photo (below to the left) is of the surrounding maple forest, which is fitting because this time of year the trees are tapped to make syrup.

When the temperature drops below freezing during the night then rises to well above freezing during the day, the sap flows through the tree and therefore can be best extracted by placing a “tap” into the tree allowing the sap to drip out. Caribou Cream and Wild Country, our two local maple syrup facilities, are busy at work this time of year tapping and boiling the sap into delicious maple syrup concentrate.

Maple forest, Superior Hiking Trail

Maple forest along the Superior Hiking Trail

There is still about a foot of snow up over the ridge line, so we brought snowshoes along for the hike. Once we made our way closer to the lake, the trail along the shoreline was pretty bare due to its direct exposure to the sunlight.

Beaver tracings

Beaver tracings

Lake Agnes houses a large population of beavers. Along the trail by the lake, we found many trees that beavers had cut down for their food and homes. Beavers are the only mammals besides humans that restructure the environment around them to build their homes, by honing the ability to build both dams and lodges.

My adventurous snowshoe clan

Our group of snowshoers

Our hiking group made it all the way to our destination of Hunter’s Rock overlooking the entirety of the lake. From this spot, you can see the rolling hills in the distance, the looming white pine over the lake (right side of this shot) and a beaver lodge, which I could not get a close picture of. You will just have to go see for yourself!

Wild juniper

Wild juniper

One of my favorite parts of the Lake Agnes hike is the wild juniper plant at the top, a rarity, as far as I’ve noticed, along the trail. I discovered this time that the snow has melted off (for now) and we can enjoy its distinct and awakening smell again.

The smells, sights and sounds of spring are in the air, the season is young but one heavy snowfall can bring us right back into winter again. We can only wait and see what the weather will do, and from there find joy in whatever we get.