Archive for the ‘Bearskin Lodge’ Category

City of Lakes Loppet: It’s big plastic tent time again

Friday, February 5th, 2010

City of Lakes Loppet

In 2008 Bearskin Lodge became one of the sponsors of the Hoigaard’s Challenge, three races that are “The ultimate test of Minnesota-ness:”  The City of Lakes Ski Loppet, the Tri-Loppet, and the Trail Loppet.  This weekend the Ski Loppet is being held in Minneapolis and, as has been the case for the past two years, Bearskin will be there. (See to read about our first City of Lakes experience.)

This weekend Bearskin will once again have a info table in the big plastic tent on Lagoon and Hennepin Avenues  for Year #3 as a City of Lakes Loppet sponsor.  Quinn and Kate will be at the booth this year, offering an ample supply of Loppet discount coupons, Wilderness Pursuit race entry forms, and general Bearskin Lodge winter and summer  info.  We’re hoping our Bearskin guests will stop in and say “hi.”  We’d love to visit with you!

Yoo-hoo, Bearskin — anybody there?

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Wondering why we don’t answer the phone today?  Wishing we’d respond to an e-mail you sent this morning?    We are incommunicado at the moment.

The meltdown of a fiber optic cable in Duluth has left much of the North Shore without phone services, including the area’s major internet service provider, Boreal.  We are able to get on the web via our satellite internet, but can’t access our Boreal e-mail or receive phone calls.  It’s been a very quiet afternoon!

The Duluth News Tribune reports that crews hope to have the cable repaired “today.”  Or not.

Some after thoughts:  This incident should be food for thought for anyone who questions this country’s need to invest more money in the communications infrastructure servicing extremely remote areas.  The accidental meltdown of one cable in Duluth shut down all communications for much of NE Minnesota for most of a day.  There might not be many of us up here, but the emergency, business, and personal communications for a huge section of the state should not be dependent on only one  wire.

Ski for pancreatic cancer research

Monday, January 11th, 2010

Volks Ski fest

Long-time Bearskin guests all fondly remember Dee Peterson, a very special person who was the face of Bearskin Lodge for many years.  Dee passed away in 2008 after a hard-fought battle with pancreatic cancer.    

Last fall, when a group in Cook County began planning a kick off race for Cook County’s Volks Ski Fest, the group wondered if there was a worthy cause that the race could support.  Dee’s family has participated in  fundraising efforts for pancreatic cancer  (see  as well as, so Bob suggested that perhaps this race could also raise some funds for pancreatic cancer research.  The group agreed.   

Volks Ski 400 Kick Off Ski Day will be held Saturday, January 23, 2010.   Register yourself or a team in advance and choose a segment of any of the 400 km of trails in Cook County to ski.  The goal is to have skiers on every kilometer of trail on that day! This is not a race or competition, just a day to kick off Volks Ski Fest and raise money to fight Pancreatic Cancer. Donations will be accepted for Pancreatic Cancer Research at trail check-in areas.  A Volks Ski 400 pin is your gift for your donation.  Dress in purple to show your support.  (Can’t be here to ski?  You can still send a donation and receive a pin. ) 

We’re not expecting a huge turn-out for this race.  It’s a first year event.  But if you are part of the Volks Ski 400, you will be skiing to support an important cause.  You can ski fast or slow, a long distance or just a little bit of the trail. You can ski the Central Gunflint Trail system  or any of the other wonderful trail systems here in Cook County.  You can ski for Dee, or for any of the 42,000 individuals diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this past year.

The Volks Ski Fest will continue from January 23rd – January 31st, with activities for skiers and snowshoers of all ages. Volks Ski Fest is a fun, laid back, skiing and snowshoeing festival for the whole family.  All week-long, all over Cook County, MN, lodges and resorts  will be sponsoring events to help everyone get out to enjoy the 400 hundred kilometers of professionally groomed, beautiful northwoods trails that make the Cook County area such a unique cross country ski and snowshoe destination.


Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

We’ve been patiently waiting for snow.  OK, maybe the “patient” part isn’t right but the “waiting” part is true.  We’ve been gradually accumulating snow, but it hasn’t been quite enough to create ideal conditions yet.  Skiers are enjoying memorable conditions. Skiing on the lakes has been “once in a lifetime”  amazing. 

The trail report blog is now up and running:     Watch it for regular updates on the conditions.

Visit us at the Outdoor Adventure Expo this weekend!

Friday, November 20th, 2009

If you’re visiting the Midwest Mountaineering Outdoor Adventure Expo in Minneapolis this weekend, stop by the Bearskin booth and say hi to Quinn, Kate, our musher Erik Simula and one of his friendly sled dogs.

Grab a Bearskin brochure –there’s a $50 off coupon secretly tucked in there, good on a new reservation of 3 days or more that can be used by anyone.  Usually we have a coupon like this available for new guests who have never visited Bearskin before, but the Expo coupon will work for anyone.  You can also enter a drawing to win a free stay at Bearskin.

Erik will be speaking about his amazing 1000 mile birch bark canoe journey  at 12:45 Saturday at Cowles Auditorium. As anyone who has been on a dog sled trip with Erik knows, he is an articulate, interesting speaker.  He has beautiful photos from his Arrowhead Journey, as well as many fascinating anecdotes about the trip.  If you’re thinking of attending the Expo, make plans to time your visit so you can catch Erik’s talk.

Quinn will also be giving a presentation at the Expo on 12:30 on Sunday at the Humprey Center.  He’s going to be talking about the Volks Ski Fest  and encouraging people to come up to be part of the first ever Volks Ski relay. You don’t have to be a fast skier to join a relay team for Volks Ski.  If you can stand up on skis and move forward in the snow, you are a potential relay team member!  Quinn will also talk about the 400 K of great ski trails in the area.

 The Outdoor Expo is free and is great weekend entertainment. Besides all the informative outdoor information at the Expo, there will be numerous food and beer concessions. Stop in to visit the “state fair of the outdoor community!”

Fisher cats, and other animal sightings

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Bob saw an unexpected sight today on the porch of cabin 11 — a Fisher.

A forest service stock photo of a Fisher.

No, not A fisherman, although that is also an unexpected sight lately during our cold snap. What Bob found in the screen porch was an elusive, medium-sized member of the weasel family known as the Fisher or sometimes called a Fisher Cat. Similar to a Pine Marten, but quite a bit bigger, it is very rare to spot a Fisher, muchless see one on a cabin porch.

A Pine Marten photo, taken by Darlene Richardson outside Cabin 5.

Around here, Pine Martens can routinely be lured onto decks and porches, especially in Lodges 1-4. One of the fun guest games lately is to leave an apple out on a lodge deck and wait for the Pine Marten to come and take it. But the glossy brown fur of a Fisher is rarely glimpsed at Bearskin, always in a “What was that dark brown animal I just saw slipping into the woods?” way.

We’re not sure why this Fisher ended up on the Cabin 11 porch, but they are aggressive predators of smaller mammals. Maybe the red squirrels down by cabins 9-11 who routinely munch on porch window screens lured the Fisher in. We enjoy our red squirrels, but if any of those screeniverous squirrels around Cabin 11 ended up as a Fisher snack, we  won’t object.

It was actually a very good animal day for Bob, who is legendary for his inability to spot any wildlife, ever. While standing on the the lodge front steps this morning, a Nuthatch fluttered around him. When Bob held out his hand, the Nuthatch landed in his palm. For just a moment Bob thought, “Ah, this is the life of a lodge owner.” Then the bird flew away and Bob returned to the real life of a lodge owner, which has more to do with water leaks, turbidity readings and propane tanks than with wildlife magically appearing on an outstretched hand.

Wiki info about Fishers:

The 2009-2010 winter ski season

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009
October snow on Beaver Dam/Lit Loop

October snow on Beaver Dam/Lit Loop

It’s already snowed on the Gunflint Trail.    Several times, actually.  Only a few snow piles hidden deep in the woods remain now, but it’s been a reminder that the winter ski season is on its way.

All of the Central Gunflint Ski System trails have been mowed.  Fallen trees have been removed, although with our autumn winds more dead trees continue to topple onto paths.  Quinn and Andy have a great deal more trimming to complete over the next few weeks to completely prepare the trails for the first big snowfalls.

Bob repainted many of the trail marker signs over the summer.  The fresh new coat of paint will make the signs more visible and easier to read.

This trail report web site has been on hiatus over the summer, but bookmark it now so you’ll have easy access to the first reports of real snowfall and early grooming.  We’re still looking for more pictures  that were taken on the various Central Gunflint Ski System trails.  We like pictures from every season on the ski trails — winter pictures are obviously great, but skiers can learn a lot about a trail from photos taken at other times too.   If you have photos taken on any of our ski trails, send them to   Skiers enjoy seeing views of the trails they haven’t tried, as well as pictures of the trails they love.

Changing the seasons — plus an appreciative thank you!

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

It’s over. We’re coming to the end of the spring/summer/fall seasons and beginning preparations for that very different season at Bearskin, winter. Quinn and Andy have taken out most of the docks, put away the Adirondack chairs, and moved most of the boats into winter storage. Screen windows are coming off, and storm windows are going back on. Cabin 4 and the fish cleaning house have been closed down for the winter.

deep cleaning hallIn the cabins and lodges, Laura, Kate and Rachel are “deep cleaning” – pulling out everything in every cabin to scrub it all spotless. Laura has been through two deep cleanings already, so she’s a bit of a pro. But Kate and Rachel are new to the process and they are, as one of them commented, amazed at what a mess we make in order to get a cabin so clean.

Claude O’Neill from O’Neill Flooring is sanding and refinishing the wood floors in Cabin 3 and Cabin 11. The newly refinished floors are going to be stunningly beautiful. If you rent Cabin 3 or 11 in the future, you have to promise to walk around in your stocking feet forever more to keep the floors so gorgeous. (Just kidding, but the first scratches are going to be heartbreakers!)

As we wrap it all up, we have this to say to our Bearskin visitors: THANK YOU for being such wonderful guests! Bearskin might have the nicest guests on this planet. In any business, it seems like there are bound to be a few people who are cranky or rude or unpleasant or upset. Real life is not perfect. Staff members will make sporadic mistakes, misunderstandings are bound to happen, expectations sometimes will be unmet – all occurrences that might occasionally irk a guest. And yet, it rarely ever happens here. Bearskin guests are almost universally cheerful, pleasant, positive and upbeat, even when resort life doesn’t go flawlessly.

Today we had one of those rare reasons to discuss this question: Why are people who stay at Bearskin generally so affable? Maybe being in the woods brings out the best in most people. Or maybe if you are the type of person who desires a wilderness escape, you are more likely to be an exceptional person. Perhaps we’re just lucky to have somehow attracted a large group of people with a dominant “nice” gene.

We don’t know, but we certainly do appreciate you. Dealing with grouchy, unpleasant people on a regular basis would make running a busy resort like Bearskin a very different, stressful experience. Thank you for making our daily life here at Bearskin, as well as the work life of our staff members, so consistently enjoyable.

First snow, but don’t get out the skis quite yet

Friday, October 9th, 2009

snow around birchS 10.9.09

Yes, you heard it right. It snowed on the Gunflint Trail this morning.  It didn’t last long, but for a short time there was a layer of white on every flat surface.  Many of our resort guests awoke this morning to see snow falling outside their cabin windows.

We think the snowfall was probably caused by Quinn and Kate, Bearskin employees who had worked 8 days in a row and thought they could perhaps take a pleasant little BWCA canoe trip once they finally had time off.  Of course it snowed.  With their luck, it was fortunate the whole BWCA didn’t ice over.

After a fairly warm and sunny September, the past 10 days have been cool and often overcast or rainy.  The change in weather has finally brought the color out in the foliage. It was beginning to look like many tree leaves would go straight from yellowish-green to shriveled brown without ever passing through a vibrant yellow or orange stage. Now, however, the hills surrounding the Gunflint Trail are vivid with color.  

“How long will the leaves last?” ask callers.  Last year we observed the leaves rather suddenly tumble down from the trees in about 48 hours between October 11th & October 13th:   Based on my photos, there are more leaves on the trees now than there were at this time last year.  During this past summer season, everything from snowmelt to berry ripening seemed to be on a schedule of occurring 2 weeks late. Leaf color has also been a bit delayed, so it will be interesting to observe whether the leaves persist on the trees a bit longer too.

If it turns out that one day soon all the yellow and orange leaves suddenly plummet from the trees, there will still be plenty to see along the Gunflint Trail.  Animal activity greatly increases this time of year.  Moose sightings are more common now, although because moose are in “rutting season” during October moose viewing can be risky business.  Andy and his friend Ada spend a great deal of time hiking local trails.  They came over a rise on one of our ski trails yesterday and encountered a very large bull moose, who indicated great displeasure with their arrival in his territory.  What the moose did next is a mystery, because both Andy and Ada wisely  turned and ran as fast as they could back down the trail.  Nothing like Andy’s more famous moose encounter.

We’ve also heard several stories of hikers spotting numerous smaller animals lately: wolf pups frolicking with each other, foxes playing odd “catch me if you can” games with hikers, pine martins stealthily slipping into the woods.  Many hikers have reported seeing bear “scat” on the trails, sometimes very fresh, but lately nobody has actually spotted a bear. (Not counting the little guy Bob scared away from the dumpster a couple times.)  Pileated woodpeckers have been very active right outside the lodge. The red squirrels have abandoned chasing each other all day and seem to be concentrating on serious food gathering.  Trading the colorful leaves for more animal visibility may be a fair exchange.

If you wish a modern city home in the woods for your vacation pleasure…

Friday, October 2nd, 2009


In the land of the Voyageurs




oldratesflier097If you wish a modern city home in the woods for your vacation pleasure, our modern cabins will fill the bill. They are large and airy, furnished for your comfort including radios, ample closet space, refrigeration, automatic gas heat.  You have a choice of cabins with 1 bath or a private bath adjoining each bedroom.

Both types of cabins may be reserved, either American plan our housekeeping.

If you wish to spend a quiet hour and eat your meals in a restful atmosphere, then it is our pleasure to serve you in our picturesque, homey lodge … American Plan.

If your cabin is reserved for American Plan, maid service for your cabin is furnished.

Come to this area with warm outdoor clothing.  Even during the warm months, evenings and mornings are cool – bring warm jackets and wool shirts.  It is a land of great beauty; and side trips to many lakes are an outstanding feature.  Boats are kept on outlying lakes, each lake with a different variety of fish.

Housekeeping guests may procure their necessary groceries and supplies at the lodge trading post. All items are sold at a reasonable price level. This is the gathering place. Here there is a juke box, movies and other games. Full line of groceries, meats, beverages, dairy products, souvenirs, leather goods and fishing tackle used in the area.

When writing for reservations, please state number of persons in party, date of arrival, and length of stay. Letters are promptly answered with rates. We request a 25% deposit with each reservation which will be credited to your account. Advance reservations are advisable.

Mr. and Mrs. Edw. Cavanaugh

Grand Marais Box 1 Minnesota

Telephone 7132

Thanks to Scott and Sharon Kron, who found this old brochure in their family cabin on Summer Home Rd