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    February 2014
    from www.CustomCabins.com
    14663 Vosburgh Rd. Ely, Minnesota 55731
    email: info@customcabins.com


    In case you didn't notice, that is a negative 30 degrees Fahrenheit reading on the thermometer pictured above. January of 2014 was cold. February has followed in its footsteps and will likely record an average monthly temperature close to the minus 4 degrees that January boasted. The average low for January was minus 17 degrees.

    Not only have these cold temperatures provided locals with a recurrent and familiar topic to complain about, but the temps have also produced some natural phenomena unseen in the northland for close to a decade.

    Extended periods of cold temperatures have frozen Lake Superior around the Apostle Islands National Lake Shore near Cornucopia, Wisconsin. With the lake surface passable for foot or ski travel, visitors can access the extensive caves that riddle the wave-washed shorelines of summertime.

    Because of the cave access, the normally lethargic wintertime economy of Cornucopia has felt an unprecedented boost in visitors since the lake has frozen solid—enough to attract the NBC nightly news: http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/deep-freeze/seen-space-ice-covers-80-percent-great-lakes-n37096

    Yes, we have had an unusually cold and snowy winter. Just this week the city of Ely has asked residents to let faucets drip overnight to prevent frozen city water lines; frost levels have reached 7 feet underground. One way to handle the cold, though, is to get out and embrace it. Though parts of the Boundary Waters Canoe area are closed to motors year round, and even canoes in the wintertime, you can access the frozen lakes and forests with cross-country skis.

    With the large amounts of snowfall we've enjoyed shoveling this year, skiing the hard-packed sled dog trails is the best option for relatively quick travel in the BWCA. Day-trips from Moose, Snowbank, or Burntside Lakes offer a great option to enjoy the muffled quiet of the winter woods. With a spare layer of clothes, water and lunch, a day spent in cold temps can really be quite bearable.

    If skiing on sled dog trails doesn't appeal to you, several trail systems in the Ely area provide the quiet of the woods with the convenience and speed of a groomed ski trail. The photo above was taken at the North Arm Trail System and actually winds in and out the BWCA, providing both groomed trails and a taste of the wilderness area. Other trails around Ely, such as the Trezona and Hidden Valley systems, offer fully groomed trails as long as we have ample snow on the ground.

    Generally, cold over-night and daytime temperatures mean clear skies—cloud cover acts as a blanket to hold in the heat—and we've had our share of cold, clear nights this winter. All the crystal clear days have given us ample opportunities to take some shots of the resort from a few angles we don't usually get to see.

    This shot was taken looking west across the resort on one of the few days in February that was warm enough to let the dockboys take to the skies. With all of the leaves absent from the trees, the cabins that are usually quite hidden in the summertime are clearly visible upon the bluff the resort rests on.

    Though we've shared several photos of the Aurora Borealis in the last few years, this photo taken by one of our talented neighbors shows off the resort with a backdrop our summertime visitors don't get a chance to enjoy.

    Photo by Steve Voiles

    Our winter days have been short and dark, but as we near the end of February, the days are growing noticeably longer and the sun is nearing its familiar setting space across Moose Lake. It's never too early to start planning your vacation to Ely for the summer of 2014. Give us a call—we'd love to see you once the ice is gone.

    Custom Cabin Rentals
    14663 Vosburgh Rd.
    Ely, Minnesota 55731
    218-365-6947 or 1-800-235-6947