Author Archives: BradP

Lonnie Dupre on Skis

Lonnie Dupre March 17th book signing at the Duluth Pack Store

 

Lonnie Dupre on Skis

Lonnie Dupre from Grand Marais, Minnesota is a Rolex Award winner and an artic explorer determined to preserve the far North’s fragile ecosystem. In his new book “Life on Ice: 25 Years of Artic Exploration” Mr. Dupre shares life and death stories from his years of trekking across the polar regions of the globe. Tales in the book range from an icy swim off a snowmobile after breaking through lake ice to the circumnavigation of Greenland.

In a recent blog entry I referenced Mr. Dupre’s attempts to be the first person to solo ascend Mt. Denali in the dead of winter. Lonnie attempted to reach the summit of Denali during January of 2011 and in a second expedition in January of 2012. The 2011 attempt was thwarted at the 17,200-foot level by high winds and extremely dangerous weather. The 2012 trek was turned back at 14,200 feet after spending seven days in a snow cave hiding from winds that reached upwards of 97 miles per hour.

On March 17th from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm Lonnie Dupre will be at the Duluth Pack store in Canal Park to sign his new book. Please join us in the store for what assures to be a wonderful opportunity to meet one of the great explorers of our time.  And I bet he may even be convinced to share a polar story or two from “Life on Ice.”

About the Rolex Awards • Established in 1976, and given every two years since, the inaugural Rolex Awards commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Oyster Chronometer, the world’s first waterproof watch. The awards were created to support pioneers whose innovative work contributes to the betterment of mankind, and encourage individuals to take on major challenges to improve life on our planet.

Asian Carp leaping in the Mississippi

Invasive Species in the News

The Asian invasion has come to Winona, and it is making news.

Seems that commercial fisherman netted a silver carp and a big-head carp last week in the Mississippi River just outside of the city. Both the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the federal government have taken notice of the northern advance of this invasive species. A bill recently introduced by a Minnesota contingent seeks to limit the spread of the Asian carp.

Should these species spread further north they could do great harm to the ecological balance of the river. Silver and big-head carp are nearly insatiable in their consumption of algae and other organisms, which form the base of the food chain. At risk is Minnesota’s multi-billion recreational fishing industry as the carp and sport fish compete for their meals.

Also, in the invasive species news is the discovery and proliferation of zebra mussels in Lake Minnetonka, Medicine Lake, and 28 other Minnesota Lakes. Waterfront owners have been pressing Minnesota legislators to use a portion of the Clean Water Legacy Fund to fight the spread of the small mussel. The fingernail-sized mussel attaches itself to boats, docks, and water intake systems creating a nuisance and damaging the fish population.

The news of the spread of zebra mussels makes it time to remind boaters to help prevent the spread. When leaving a lake and trailering to another body of water, captains must insure that their boat has been cleaned and dried thoroughly. Boaters must be sure to empty and flush their live-well systems before entering another lake. Fisherman should empty and clean their minnow buckets after a day on the water.

It is up to every boater in Minnesota to help prevent the spread of all invasive species.

Sunset over Ice

Avoid Cabin Fever during the Leap Day Blizzard

Snow has finally come to Duluth, and many of us in the north woods are enjoying a snow day as we hunker down during this leap day blizzard. What are you going to do as the storm rages and you fight off the feeling of cabin fever? Let me throw out some ideas to keep you from going stir crazy and at the same time continuing to dream of open water.

Make it a movie day – Pop in a Cliff Jacobsen or Bill Mason video in the DVD player and escape to the lakes and rivers of the north. It is a great way to pick up some new skills or just revel in the scenic beauty captured on each disc.

Condition the leather on your canoe packs – Grab the Lexol conditioner and rub it into all the leather on your packs, really soak those straps. Yeah, I know this doesn’t sound like a great way to spend a free day, but it will pay dividends when the ice melts.

Get the snowshoes ready – rest assured at some point this wind is going to lie down, and you can get out and play in the fresh powder. Tighten those bindings and plan on shoeing away in Jay Cooke State Park or up the Superior Hiking Trail.  Both have great trails to test out the snowshoes, and don’t forget to take your camera along to capture what might be the only storm of 2012.

Dive into good book – My favorites are from Sigurd Olson or John Krakauer. With Olson you can relax and enjoy the soothing picture he paints of the wilderness complete with sights and sounds. Reading Krakauer gives you the vicarious experience of high drama adventure.

Spread the maps out and route a trip – Now this sounds more like it! Stretch all your maps out on the floor and plan a trip for the summer of 2012. Choose an entry point, book it at Recreation.gov, and if you have any questions give an expert at the Duluth Pack store a call.

There you go, now you have a few ideas to help you spend your snow day. My plan is to grab the camera and get some shots of the gently falling snow. OK, maybe not so gently.

Scout Pack Tags

The Heritage of Handcrafted Sets Duluth Pack Apart

At Duluth Pack, we strive to set ourselves apart from the other outdoor gear makers. For 130 years we have been building quality products in Duluth, Minnesota, and for the last 100 of those years at the same factory on West Superior Street. Many of our current manufacturing methods are similar to those in the early 1900’s. Take a quick tour with me, and let me tell you what makes us different.

Individual attention to detail is given to each and every bag we make. Each sewer specializes in their concentration of products, and builds each bag from start to finish. Our sewers would never allow an assembly line because they are personally invested in each one of their bags.

Pride in craftsmanship is the reason we put signature labels on all of our products. These labels read: “Handcrafted by”: with the sewer’s hand-signed initials or name on it. Just lift up that little American flag, and there is the signature. (see photo gallery) This touch of ownership was initiated at the sewers’ request to put their pride of workmanship in writing.

Our sewers, riveters, and leather craftspeople are true artisans and very skilled at their trade. It takes time, effort, and talent to become the best at building the best, and our craftspeople own these skills.

Duluth Pack heritage and tradition has been built over 130 years in the north woods of Minnesota. Our heredity began with a French-Canadian named Camille Poirier and today touches adventurers on all seven continents. Thousands of bags have been carried for millions of miles to create the stories we all love to hear and repeat.

 If you are ever in Duluth, stop by our factory for a tour. You won’t fully appreciate what we mean by the quality of handcrafted until you see it in person.

Hand-built in the USA, there is only one original Duluth Pack.

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Moose River North

Make your BWCAW permit reservation online and pick-up at the Duluth Pack Store

Open water is just around the corner and to get a head start toward planning your Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) adventure for 2012 head to Recreation.gov to reserve your permit. Making your permit reservation online is a fairly easy process and it takes one more thing off the check list before you head into the woods.

1. Go to Recreation.govand create an account with username and password.

2. Navigate to the BWCAW portion of the website.

3. On the left side of the screen choose; overnight paddle, your desired entry point, and entry date.

4. Now, one little trick as you are wandering around looking for an entry point, search by “Date Range Availability” to view the entry point for more than one day.

5. Select an available date to enter and click book permit.

6. Fill out form on the next page with the required information, entry date and entry point will already be in the appropriate boxes.

- Plug in the exit date. This is a flexible date, and can be changed. Entry date, however is a hard and fast date once you book the permit.

- Enter the number of people in your party, nine is the maximum and two is the minimum. You can always add and subtract people right up until the moment your permit is issued. If you are going to be a solo enter “two” now and the permit issuing station will amend to “one” on the day you pick up your permit.

- If your party has more than 9 people you will need two permits and you can’t travel or camp together.

- Enter the number of boats in the party, four is maximum. Like the number of people this can be changed until the moment your permit is issued.

- Permit Issuing Station – Choose Duluth Pack – if you don’t choose a station it will default to the ranger station closest your entry point.

- Enter names of alternate leaders, this is a great idea because if for some reason you as group leader can’t make the trip one of the alternate leaders can be issued the permit. Without alternate leaders identified nobody else can be issued the permit.

7. Place in shopping cart.

8. Pay with credit card.

9. Get your gear ready and in your canoe packs.

9. Pick up your permit at the Duluth Pack Store in Canal Park the day before or the day of your trip.

It is that easy. But if you would like to know more before booking your permit or routing your trip head on down to the Duluth Pack Store, and one of the experts will lay out the maps to help you plan your trip.