Category Archives: Techniques & Advice

Duluth Locals – Check this out tonight!

chris_3Until you have heard the booming of the lake ice in the winter you can’t fully appreciate how our wilderness changes after everything freezes. The woods don’t feel as dense when the underbrush is gone, and as you move over or through the snow things invisible in summer become visible. Now you have the chance to see what the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) and Quetico Provincial Park look like in the winter and stay warm by the fire at the same time.

Adventure photographer Chris Gibbs will be giving a free presentation entitled “The BWCA and Quetico: Under a blanket of snow” at theDuluth Pack Store in Canal Park on Thursday, January 20th at 7:00 p.m. Chris is an outdoor photographer with a passion for the winter and the scenery the cold provides. He spent parts of three winters traveling on skis and snowshoes to capture the iconic canoe destinations seldom seen, now under a blanket of snow.

Listen and watch as he shares his stories and his photos of the great open water locations frozen over, or reduced to just a trickle by the sub-zero temperatures. Photos include the Lower Basswood Falls, Warrior Hill on Lac La Croix, and the Native American pictographs scattered throughout the region.

This should be a real experience for any Minnesotan who revels in our winter.

By: Brad Putney ( a good photographer in his own right!)

What’s SUP?!

SUPWhat is SUP? It’s all the rage! SUP stands for Stand Up Paddle (boarding).  I got to try it and it’s a blast! You can do it on flat water or whitewater. All you need is a board (rent one to start off), paddle (Bending Branches makes a great one here), PFD, and a helmet (for whitewater).

When I asked a few SUP experts (and by expert I mean SUP’in in the Grand Canyon) about rules, they were quick to say there are no rules! Just relax and have fun, it’s easy and civilized.

Paddle strokes, squaring up to waves, readingSUP the water; that will all come with practice.  Flatwater is sup3a good place to start. Figure out your center of gravity, face foward and when you feel comfortable head out to find some waves.


Hawk Ridge – A gem in Duluth

sharp-shinned hawkThis past weekend, was Hawk Weekend in Duluth, MN.  A time when hundreds, even thousands, of migrating birds pass above Duluth each day, hesitant to cross over Lake Superior on their way South.

In the brief time I was there we spotted, Osprey, Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Broad-winged Hawk (3,939 that day) and my favorite, the American Kestrel.

Duluth Pack has been a fan of birders for years with our Haversacks (perfect for bird books and binoculars). Old and new fans alike are enjoying our  Binocular Cases and Binoculars by Steiner.

If you are in the area this Fall I would recommend a trip up to Hawk Ridge!


Kekekabic Trail – A test of endurance

TrailheadRecently our Duluth Pack canvas cutter, Jeff, embarked on a journey with a friend to hike the length of the Kekekabic Trail. The Kekekabic Trail is a challenging one, to say the least. It is a 40 miles trail the travels up and down through the Boundry Waters Canoe Area (BWCA).

The maps for the trail are found here (Kekekabic Trail Club wesbite).  On the first section from the Fernberg Road to Snowbank Lake, half way you encounter a large clear cut area.  Snowbank Lake to Parent Lake, this section was extrememly brushy.  Parent Lake to Disappointment Lake had well marked spurs along the trail. Their first night camping after 11.5 miles lead them to Moiyaka Lake and a very nice camp spot.

lakeThe second day they headed past Hachet and Thomas Lakes for a nice break, then through some very wet marsh’s to Strup Lake for another nice break spot.  The next section had a lot of ups and downs, yikes! This section is also home to the highest point on the trail. The campsite at Loki and Harness Lake was not desireable and the rest of the day was spend going up and down and then up and down some more! Day Two did bring the best campsite at Agamok Lake after 15.5 miles.

The third day they headed through 8 miles of the Ham Lake Fire burn down area, this section had a lot of overgrown parts as well.  They found a campsite near Bingshick Lake, woke up the next morning and hiked the last 3.5 miles out to civilization!

ticksOverall they thought the trail was overgrown, rocky, and often hard to find. They also encountered more water hazards then expected and scores of mosquitos and wood ticks! They were glad to be finished!

Thanks for sharing your story and photos with us! Now back to work!

I will let the pictures do the rest of the talking!turtle


high spot  lake view