Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fishing at the Mouth of the Elm River

Steelhead and salmon come to the mouth of the river in the fall and can be caught on lures. You hope for a calm lake and a large school of fish, but you take what you can get.

The lake was calm - except for big breaking swells.

Snow buntings in their winter plumage. They nest in the arctic tundra, so when you see them during the spring migration they are almost all white - resembling patches of snow. When they come back through in the fall they look like this.

Cobbles on the beach.

Daniel has the three most important assets of a good steelhead fisherman - patience, patience and patience. You have to be willing to stand in cold water and cast your lure for hours never knowing if there is a fish within five miles. The definition of insanity is to continue doing the same thing but expecting different results. Nevertheless, your chances of catching a fish are still much better than winning the lottery.

Depending on which direction the storm blew, the river mouth either points north or south.

The nice thing about fishing in a beautiful place away from roads and traffic noise is that if you catch fish, it is just a bonus. If all you want is fish, go to Peterson's Fish Market.

Sometimes you can fish for hours without a strike and then some guy will show up and catch one next to you right away. We were half expecting it when this guy showed up.

He didn't, but Daniel soon landed this nice King Salmon. Later we learned that someone had been there early that morning and caught four fish on his first four casts. We fished for about five hours and caught one. But like I say, fish are just a bonus anyway.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Visit to Steve Palosaari's Farm

Lately I've been afflicted with the crazy notion that I'd like to raise a few sheep.

There's only so much you can learn from books. At some point you have to talk to a real shepherd...

...about hay

...and pastures

Of course, sheep can get you started onto bigger and better things... Longhorn Highland cattle. These critters are the next best thing to having buffalo. They remind me of pictures of the extinct Aurochs, the wild cattle from which modern breeds are thought to descend. This guy is only a teenager, quite friendly, but a little scary when he starts romping up the field.

Talking sheep in front of the barn that Mikael roofed back in the day when he worked for Steve's brother.

Steve raises Suffolk and Hampshire sheep, primarily for meat. He gave us a package of tenderloin steaks which were absolutely delicious.

The bull of the woods. Imagine meeting him in some dark barn at Halloween.

These highlanders are totally cool. Someday I may have to get a couple to roam the property as lawn ornaments. They use their horns to groom their coats and scratch where it itches.

These cute little calves....

...can grow up to be bulls like this. Steve assured me that this guy is friendly, but I was perfectly content to keep a hefty gate between us. I guess it's a question of scale. His three draft horses make this guy look like a runt.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Porcupine Mountain State Park

Lake of the Clouds. I hate to say this, but this picture is a fake. This place is not the pristine wilderness you see in this picture. You drive your car to within a hundred yards of the summit and walk on a boardwalk the rest of the way with dozens of other tourists. You would have to jump over a high rail before you ever had a chance of falling off the cliff. I understand the rationale of making places like this accessible to everyone, but something in me says that the nearest road should end at least five miles away. It would take a real effort and a good part of your day to see this place, but it would be worth it.

The trees are real, though. There are many huge, old growth trees in the park.

Waterfalls on the Presque Isle River.

If you made it this far in a canoe, right here is where you should get off the river and portage.

I suppose an expert could shoot these, but experts have been known to drown too. White water is no respecter of titles.

Calm, warm days in October are especially sweet, because it is just as likely to snow.

Gazing at an old friend - Lake Superior. No matter where I am along its shore, it feels like home.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


The eighth month in the Roman calendar

Jonathan invited most of the XC team over for sauna and a bonfire. They burned a pile of brush for fuel.

October Gold.

Another brush pile ablaze...

...on a windy, but wet morning.

A waning moon just before sunrise...

...illuminated by sunshine and earthshine.

A bat resting on a tree...

....waiting for Halloween.