Family fun

It’s berry time!
July 24, 2012 by Andrew Slade

It’s berry time!

Big blueberries at a pick-your-own farm near Duluth What a strange year it’s been for nature's timing. Everything was happening a month early this spring. Wildflowers are still blooming 3-4 weeks ahead of time. When it comes to summer berries, we’re still ahead of schedule, but only by a week or two. Now it's blueberry season. Glowing reports are coming in from the Gunflint Trail and from Tettegouche State Park. There are a few standbys that have been well-publicized for their berry picking. The top of Palisade Head can have amazing fields of berries. Anyplace named “Blueberry Hill” is  probably a … read more


North Shore Fourth of July
July 3, 2012 by Andrew Slade

North Shore Fourth of July

It's hard to believe that it's already the Fourth of July. Since Independence Day falls on a Wednesday this year, the North Shore might not be quite as frantic with travelers. That means a great opportunity for North Shore fans to enjoy some great Fourth of July traditions. Tofte Wilderness Trek Start your day off right with a 10 kilometer run (or walk) through the woods and ridges near Tofte. It's best to register in advance. Here's more info. Parades Too hot to run along the North Shore? Sit and watch a parade instead. Come to the festival at the Tofte Town Hall … read more


Be more safe, have more fun: North Shore guide services
June 12, 2012 by Andrew Slade

Be more safe, have more fun: North Shore guide services

Looking for a great new North Shore experience? Why not go out with a certified professional and try some exciting new sport on the cliffs or waves of this mighty country?Here's my list of guides and organizations that can help you have an unforgettable (and safe) adventure:Sea kayakingPositive Energy Outdoors Sawtooth AdventuresNorth Shore ExpeditionsUMD Recreational Sports and Outdoor ProgramRock climbingUMD Recreational Sports and Outdoor ProgramPositive Energy OutdoorsMinnesota DNR I Can Climb!Surfing, Stand Up PaddleboardingStone Harbor Wilderness SupplyUMD Recreational Sports and Outdoor Program … read more


Canyoneering in Utah, thinking of Minnesota
April 23, 2012 by Andrew Slade

Canyoneering in Utah, thinking of Minnesota

Hans on the first big rappel. Not as scary as the last one, though. Earlier this month, the Slade/Rauschenfels clan took our spring break week, added a day on either end, and headed back out to the canyons of the desert Southwest. For the first time, we had two full-blooded teenagers with us. In order to get them off their friggin' iPods and experience the real, wonderful world, we threw in some extreme adventures you can't even do while holding an electronic device. By far the most extreme was a day of canyoneering, outside Moab, Utah. Canyoneering is a relatively new outdoor … read more


Tour Duluth 2012: SKI THEM ALL
March 13, 2012 by Andrew Slade

Tour Duluth 2012: SKI THEM ALL

Hans at Chester Bowl, Trail #5, 1:45 PM Tour Duluth is the year-end celebration of Duluth's great cross country ski trails. It's organized by the Duluth Cross Country Ski Club, or DXC for short. Duluth has over 80 kilometers of groomed ski trails spread from far west to far east, and including both city trails, a private system, and the University's nature area trail.  Mark at the Magney Ski Trail trailhead. Trail #1, 8:30 AM We were going to SKI THEM ALL. Some people try to ski all 80-plus kilometers in a day. Not me. It was quantity over quality for me. I … read more


The State Fair is on; special secret season for the North Shore
August 22, 2011 by Andrew Slade

The State Fair is on; special secret season for the North Shore

The Great Minnesota Get-Together is starting up this week. If you want S'Mores without the hassle of 1) camping, 2) campfires and 3) stick whittling, you could go to the Fair and patronize the "Real S'Mores" shack. They might even put it on a stick for you. But if you want another authentic Minnesota experience, head for the North Shore instead. As soon as the Fair starts, the summer crowds on the North Shore drop right off. Shhhhh...it's the special secret season! As of today, there are open campsites you can still reserve at every North Shore state park from Gooseberry … read more


Marsh marigolds: An appreciation
May 19, 2011 by Andrew Slade

Marsh marigolds: An appreciation

The little creeks and the ditches of the North Shore are filling up with the big yellow burst of marsh marigolds. For most of us unable to hike deep into the woods, these are the first real noticeable blooms of spring. I used to try to charm my wife with a small bud vase of two or three marsh marigold blooms, if I could find enough of them in one place to pluck a few. But then I learned that some Native Americans used marsh marigold as a protection against love charms. Oops. Marsh marigold is actually not a marigold, but … read more


German Expressionism hits the North Woods
February 26, 2011 by Andrew Slade

German Expressionism hits the North Woods

Seen on a well-used National Forest outhouse at a ski trailhead in Ely:  This well-weathered man reminded me of the woodblock prints of the German Expressionist, like this one from Max Kaus. When we arrived in Ely for our winter break, the woods were full of snow, but it was a crusty, angular, and shall we say depressing snow. Like the angular cuts in those woodblocks. Actually, there was a lot of German expressionism during our week up in the Ely woods.Like my older son, in his first year of German, teaching his younger brother how to insult someone in that … read more


The easiest ski trail in Duluth
January 31, 2011 by Andrew Slade

The easiest ski trail in Duluth

The good folks at Boulder Lake have done it again. They've added a new trail and a new parking lot to that wonderful network of trails just north of Duluth. And this time, they've created the Easiest Trail in Duluth. Duluth doesn't have truly easy ski trails. The city is built on a steep rocky hillside that is riddled with creeks. What isn't steep here is deep. To build a soccer field, both dynamite and landfill are required. So a flat and easy ski trail is as rare as a palm tree here.  Boulder Lake is far enough away from Lake Superior … read more