Tag Archives: BWCAW

Pink Paddle

Pink Paddles and Breast Cancer Awareness Month


The first of October marks the beginning of “Breast Cancer Awareness Month.”

And while you may have heard or read the statistics before, I am going to give them to you again. This year, more than 200,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer; more than 40,000 of them will not survive. In the U.S. a woman will die from breast cancer, on average, every 13 minutes. We will all have someone close to us, who we love, affected by this disease.

Sue Prom created the Pink Paddle not only as a functional piece of canoeing equipment, but also as a work of art, and as a symbol of strength for those affected by breast cancer. The logo on the paddle is a wish or blessing, “May your new beginning bring you strength, peace and tranquility. And may your journeys over water be safe.” The Maori people of New Zealand inspired the design of the logo. The Maori are known for their great respect of nature and used symbols as a form of communication.

Sue and her husband Mike own and operate Voyageur Canoe Outfitters located at the end of the Gunflint Trail, on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCAW). The BWCAW is a 1,000,000-acre Wilderness area where the canoe and the paddle are king and queen. As anyone who has paddled the BWCAW can attest, a canoe camping trip will provide you with exercise, a cleansing of the soul, and a clearing of the mind.

When someone purchases a Pink Paddle not only will the exercise help strengthen their odds in the fight against cancer, but a portion of the proceeds from each paddle sale will be donated to breast cancer research. Sue and Mike’s charity of choice for Pink Paddles is the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Pink Paddles’ mission began because they wanted to help find a cure for this devastating disease that kills the women we love.

If you would like your own Pink Paddle you may find them at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters or at the Duluth Pack store, 365 Canal Park Drive in Duluth. 218 • 722 • 1707 And, while you are in the Duluth Pack store, please check out the other Breast Cancer Awareness Month items in pink.

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A fisherman goes after the y-bones on a Northern

How to remove the Y-bones from a Northern Pike

It has to be one of the toughest skills to learn as a fisherman, getting those annoying y-bones out cleanly from a Northern Pike filet. Speaking for myself, I have not conquered the skill, so I have called upon a master fisherman to provide some expertise. Realizing there are several ways to filet a fish, this just happens to be the way I was taught. The instructions below will be a paraphrase and combination of two styles.

Personally, I like a very sharp knife with a thin blade. I have two Rapala knives and I prefer the thinner blade which seems to be sharper and much more flexible. Some people prefer a blade not as sharp, this is really a personal preference.

1. Filet the fish as you normally would, taking the ribs out and leaving the skin on. Hold your knife vertically and take a quick swipe of the filet to expose the remaining bones. Important to remember that pike bones angle upwards toward the spine of the fish.

2. You will see two lines on the fish, one solid white and one broken (these are the tips of the y-bones), approximately 1/4 to 3/4 of an inch apart. Between the solid white line and the y-bones cut vertically 1/8 to 1/4 inch deep from the head of the filet to the start of the anal fin.

3. Just outside of the broken line (y-bones), cut 1/8 to 1/4 inch deep from the head of the filet to the start of the anal fin. Go easy here, you don’t want to cut through the bones.

4. Going back to the y-bone line cut you just made cut 1/2 inch horizontally following the bones to their end. There is a gentle twisting motion to the knife as you follow the y-bones, slicing gently.

5. Now go back and cut again, making 1/2 cuts until you get to the end. Do not slice through the skin or come out the end of the filet, remembering that the bones should end about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch from the skin.

6. On the solid line slice horizontally on the underside of the y-bones working from head to tail. Again, use that twisting motion as you follow the y-bones. You will see your blade through the opening side of the previous cuts as you work. Continue this until all the y-bones have been removed.

As with everything, this takes practice to become proficient. While I am still working on this skill my filets are looking less like something the dog has chewed on and something more worthy of the fry pan.

In the canoe pack I like to provide extra protection to my good knives, filet or otherwise. A good, hard case will do two things for you; 1. it will help keep those expensive knives from dulling or bending while in the pack. And 2. the hard case will keep the very sharp blades from exiting the canvas utensil roll or side of my Duluth Pack while bumping across a portage.

Enjoy, and fish on!

Black Bear in Woods

BWCAW Bears and Canoe Packs

It has just been one of those summers in which the black bears of Minnesota have visited a lot of campsites in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). Visitors to the wilderness must continue to be ever vigilant and keep the campsite clean to remove any and all temptations for curious and hungry bears.

Here is the latest I have on our furry friends in the north woods:

There is a bear or bears making the rounds on Bonnie Lake and most likely venturing into the Knife Lake area as well. Reports tell us that a large, persistent bear has been coming into camp on Bonnie Lake during daylight hours looking for a snack. This bear was so unnerving to a group that they moved camp up to Knife.

Another report from Knife Lake, involving possibly the same bear, states that a food pack was damaged and another one was taken. Advice is to keep those campsites clean, and hang those packs when possible.

Back to the west on Basswood Lake there are several reports of a bear or bears with their hungry eyes on food packs. Bears on and around Pipestone Bay have made themselves known through visible activity and raids on some campsites.

On Basswood’s Washington Island a bear tore a screen tent and stole a food pack while the group was out fishing. The report doesn’t state whether the pack was in the screen tent at the time of the pilfering. Doesn’t matter anyway because my advice is always the same: keep any and all food out of the tents. A thin layer of nylon will not stop a hungry bear.

The above report also reminds me to offer this advice: please take your food barrel or pack with you when you leave camp on a day trip. We all love our ursine friends, but let’s remove as much temptation as possible when traveling in areas known for bears with a penchant for thievery.

Still lots of summer left out there, get on the water and enjoy it!

Boundary Waters bear report for July 1, 2011

Dear Bears, keep your paws off my canoe packs

 

The new carbon fiber paddle from Bending Branches

Bending Branches debuts their new Black Pearl carbon fiber paddle

Hard charging, performance-touring paddlers are going to love the new Black Pearl carbon fiber canoe paddle from Bending Branches. Made from high tech materials and coming in at just 14 ounces this paddle will be a great addition for your lightweight Kevlar canoe. The company recently debuted the new Black Pearl paddle at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, 2011.

American made Bending Branches (BB) was founded in 1982 by whitewater paddlers Dale Kicker and Ron Hultman. By building composite paddles with Kevlar tip guards, which became known as rock guards, they revolutionized the industry and changed paddling forever. This small, privately held company in Wisconsin has built more than one million paddles for canoeists and kayakers.

The Black Pearl was built as an answer to Bending Branches customers who own and paddle high-end canoes built of Kevlar or carbon fiber. They wanted a lightweight, strong paddle to match well with their lightweight boat. The Black Pearl gives them the ability to partner a high tech touring paddle with their high tech boat.

It starts with a carbon fiber touring blade paired with a carbon fiber composite shaft, a very stiff, light combination. The paddle is topped off with a carbon grip built to fit the paddlers’ hand. Dale Kicker has said he believes it to be the most comfortable grip they have built. At 14 ounces this paddle possesses an extremely high strength to weight ratio, and with the large touring blade it is maximum efficiency on the canoe trail.

This paddle will be ideal for the canoeist who likes to have the newest, fastest technology in their hands. And, has been waiting for a high-end paddle to pair with their high-end boat for outstanding performance touring.

Grab one of these paddles today, get your canoe pack out of the garage, and be ready for the Boundary Waters tomorrow. And don’t forget one for you bowman, too.

Portage me back to DuluthPack.com

 

This large black bear would love to peek in your canoe packs

Dear Bears, keep your paws off my canoe packs

It’s Blueberry Festival weekend in Ely, Minnesota! And, being that blueberries are one of the favorite treats of our big, black friends it is time for another bear report from the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

Two weeks ago a bear on Disappointment Lake tore into a food pack that was hanging from a tree. Bears are determined and don’t care that Cinco de Mayo has passed; therefore they love to play piñata with a hanging canvas backpack.

Please make sure your hanging pack is well off the ground, as much as 12 feet or more. Also, keep the pack away from the tree trunk. A hungry bear will climb the tree and reach out or climb out to get your pack.

Better yet…throw your food pack in the canoe when you leave for the day.

Yogi and Boo-boo are much smarter than you think. A bear on Basswood Lake came into camp and was able to crack open a bear-resistant container. According to the North American Bear Center in Ely, a bear will make 40 attempts at a food source before giving up. More proof that there is no such thing as a “bear-proof” container.

Like humans, bears are creatures of habit, when they find a campsite, or a series of campsites that have food they will make regular rounds. One such bear is on Malberg Lake, he just keeps coming around looking for a handout. And while he may not find or take anything, he visits camp multiple times.

Many bears have just simply lost their apprehensiveness around humans. There is a bear in the Upper Basswood Falls area that has been trying to get invited to a campsite breakfast. Last week, one group of campers didn’t feel like guests early in the morning, so they left without telling the bear.

Keep your camp clean. Hang your food pack. And NEVER take food into the tent.

Have a great time on the water, and send me some photos!

Paddle me back to DuluthPack.com