Fall Camping in the Northwoods

Fall is an amazing time to camp on the North Shore of Lake Superior.  Whether you are paddling in the Boundary Waters, Backpacking the Superior Hiking Trail, or hammock camping in the State Parks, you are sure to encounter beautiful forest canopies of red, orange, yellow, green and gold.  Just as likely on any October trip are high winds, rain, and even snow. Thus the bold must endure the elements in order to camp under the majestic canopy of color. In this month’s blog post we feature the top pro tips to stay warm and dry in any camping conditions so that you don’t have to suffer while savoring the beauty. The key to staying comfortable is in the tools you take in the wilderness and how you use them.  From tarps to tinder it takes extra time to get it right. Warmth: Your first and most important source or warmth is your self-generated body heat.  Make sure to bring all the necessary layers. A wool base layer is ideal to trap heat against your skin and wick moisture away from the skin when you sweat.  A high quality fleece can be worn over the base layer as an additional [...]

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Fishing in Canoe Country

When fishing lakes both within and around the BWCAW, versatility, and stability are of utmost importance. In this month’s blog post, we are sharing our favorite spots for catching a wide variety of fish species in northern Minnesota as well as the canoes that we recommend. As we are located on Highway 61 in Tofte, MN, we are on the way to wherever you may be heading into the wilderness. From lakes 15 minutes away to an hour and a half at the end of the Gunflint Trail, we have plenty of recommendations for where to explore, fish, and relax. In terms of fishing, here are a few of our picks for different fish species. Outside the BWCAW: Crescent – Walleye, Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike, Muskellunge Wilson – Walleye, Northern Pike, Yellow Perch Silver Island – Walleye, Northern Pike, Black Crappie Two Island – Walleye, Bluegill, Northern Pike, Smallmouth Bass Toohey Lake – Walley, Northern Pike, Yellow Perch, White Sucker   Inside the BWCAW: North Temperance – Northern Pike, Walleye South Temperance – Walleye, Northern Pike, Smallmouth Bass Winchell – Lake Trout, Northern Pike Alton – Walleye, Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike Kawishiwi – Walleye, Northern Pike, Yellow Perch Malberg – Walleye, Northern Pike Brule – Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, Northern Pike Koma – Walleye, Northern Pike [...]

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Staff Picks: Daytrips, Destinations and Detours

There are so many beautiful places here on the north shore and so many different ways to visit them. You likely have a spot you make sure to visit and explore every time you venture north.  Each member of the team here also has a favorite spot we love to visit when time allows.  We want to share those favorite places with you.  Keep reading to discover the beautiful places that call us into the wild.  You may just feel the same call we do. Sarah – Lake Paddling/Camping: Silver Island Lake is a special wilderness lake in Superior National Forest.  It has eight FREE first come, first served camp sites on the shore with four other sites only accessible via canoe or kayak. Travel further on the Portage from Silver Island Lake into T Lake to enhance the wilderness feel at three more campsites with increased solitude.  I love how quiet and out of the way this lake is.  It’s so pretty with numerous nooks and crannies to explore.  The lack of traffic on this lake makes it a perfect getaway whether just a day-paddle or an overnight break from the business of life. Jeff – Mountain Biking: Britton Peak hosts some [...]

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Weekend Warriors

Summer is a busy time for everyone and many of us can’t take weeks off of life and work to adventure in the north-country, hence the need for the weekend warrior. The weekend warrior is a master of making the most of a 48-hour explore-cation. How can you learn the warrior way? Keep reading for some suggestions on how to begin right here on the north shore of Lake Superior. Friday: Start the weekend right by stopping at Tettegouche State Park on your way up the shore. A quick 15 minute hike out to shovel point will land you the perfect vantage for taking in the sunset over the Big Lake with the Sawtooth Mountains in the background. If you need to kill a few hours before sunset, stay in the park and head to the 70ft high falls on the Baptism River and rock on the suspension bridge. Follow all that up with Dinner at Northern Lights Road House and Pub for an Elk burger, glass of wine, or a pint of craft beer. Want to sleep under the stars? Then crash for the night in Superior National Forest at one of the many inland campgrounds. Many of them are [...]

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Thunder Storm Saftey

You’re out camping, backpacking, or canoeing on a beautiful day and out of nowhere the sky is black and you are caught right in the middle of a huge thunder storm. How do you stay safe? Seek out shelter if possible. If out on the lake get off the water and onto shore as quickly as possible. Avoid being the tallest object. Don’t put your tent by or stand by tall lone trees, rocky outcrops or other tall objects. They are prefect targets for lightning. Ditch your backpack, cooking kit, fishing poles, any electronic device (this includes your weather radio) and tent. Although most tents no longer have metal poles they still an unsafe place to be during a storm. If you are in the forest stand under small trees that are surrounded by taller trees. This can offer you some protection. The lightning is more likely to strike the tall trees over the short trees or you. NEVER lay flat on the ground, if you get struck by lightning this would be a great way to stop your heart. Instead stay in a crouched position sitting on your heels with your head between your knees. Minimize the amount of contact you have with the ground. Stay [...]

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All About Lake Superior

Lake Superior Weather Predicting the weather any where is never an easy task. However, here on the North shore this is even more of a challenge. It is a challenge because of a phenomenon known as the “lake effect” which can drastically alter the predicted weather.   In the summer the shore line of Lake Superior tends be about 10° cooler than if you are to drive about five miles inland up the ridge where it is about 10° warmer. The opposite effect happens in the winter time, the shore is 10° warmer and up the ridge is about 10° cooler.  This is because water is slower to absorb and release heat than land. Storms can quickly become stronger than expected with the added moisture and speed of the wind traveling across the lake.  This can create gale size waves and massive snow storms depending on the direction of the wind.  Fog is another factor that is created because of the lake effect. Fog hides Duluth under a heavy blanket for 52 days in an average year by comparison, Minneapolis averages 11 day. Ship Wrecks  Lake Superior is responsible for at least 350 reported shipwrecks. The oldest of which was the SS Algoma [...]

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Edible Bugs

Imagine being lost in the Boundary Waters. Your boat has an extremely large hole in it and you are unable to patch it, you just ate the last of your dehydrated food. It could be days maybe weeks before another group passes by to help. What are you going to do to survive? Could you handle eating a bug? Here is a list of edible bugs you can eat that are located right here in northern Minnesota that can help you survive. Remember when preparing your bug dinner never eat any bug raw. Sushi -insects can cause you to become extremely ill, due to the fact that insects can carry parasites and bacteria. Ants Ants are easy to find and are located just about everywhere in the woods. Although I personally have never eaten an ant or any bug; other than the occasional gnat that flies into my month unwillingly, they are said to have a sour flavor. This is because when an ant feels threatened it secretes an acid that gives it a sour flavor. The best was to catch ants, find an ant hill and poke a stick into the hill and wait for it to be engrossed with ants. [...]

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Bike the Hill Climb

Hey bikers do we have a killer bike course for you. Do not have a bike? This is no problem, Sawtooth Outfitters rents bikes and you can leave right from the parking lot. This route is called the hill climb route and it certainty lives up to its name.  The ride is a little over 20 miles.  For the average rider you can approximate on riding for around two hours.  This route has you warm up right away with your first hill, climbing the Sawbill Trail/County Rd 2, ride past where pavement ends and continue on the gravel until you get to the Six Hundred Rd/Forest Rd 166. Take a left and cross over the Temperance River.  Feel free to take up the road and take in all its gorgeousness. This road is closed to all vehicles, just watch out for the occasional ATV.  The Six Hundred RD has the famous Heartbreak Hill. Once you havve made it to the top of this hill you are halfway through your ride. Feel free to stop and give yourself a nice pat on the back and maybe a let out a little “woo hoo”, I know I did.  Continue to ride [...]

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Kayak Fourmile Lake

Looking for a great adventure for the day? Grab a Kayak and get out on the water. One of our favorite inland lakes to go explore is Fourmile Lake located only 15 miles from Sawtooth Outfitters.  With no houses or cabins on this lake and minimal use by boaters this lake makes you feel like you are out in the BWCA. Three campsites are located on the lake making for a great area to rest and eat lunch. One located on the east end of the island and two on the south side of the lake.  Although, this lake is not large there is plenty to explore.  There is an eagle’s nest on the west end of the island. The best view point is to paddle to the south side of island and look from there.  If you paddle to the far west end of lake there is creek  you can paddle up that has been home to moose around the area.  Best time to see the moose is early in the day. Come grab a kayak and get your paddle on!  

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Do’s and Don’ts of Winter Camping

Do pack a sharp axe and saw. Having a sharp high quality axe and saw makes a big difference when cutting frozen wood. Having enough wood is very important, this is your primary heat source and you do not want to be running out. Do pack plenty of extra layers. Extra hats, mittens, base layers and socks are going to make a big difference. As you get hot and begin to sweat or your clothing gets wet from snow it is important to take off these wet items and change into dry items. Nothing will bring on hypothermia quicker than wet clothing items. Don’t bring in food items that are going to freeze. Bringing in pre cooked items that can easily be warmed on top of the stove will save time and energy. Some of our favorites are burritos; breakfast or regular, soups and chili, meat with peppers over instant mash potatoes. Dehydrated meals are great however getting water to boil in extremely cold conditions uses a lot of fuel and takes a long time to boil. Do bring quick energy food items. Between all the work of winter camping and the cold you will be burning a lot of calories. It [...]

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