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    Custom Cabins January 2017 eNews



    Many of the summer visitors that join us every summer in Ely, Minnesota remark that the weather has a rather peculiar way of surprising them. Sunny spring mornings that begin calm and pleasant can turn into an afternoon of snow squalls and white outs, while a warm, textbook July day can send you to bed unprepared for a night of severe thunderstorms (those who remember the July 21 storm of last summer might agree).


    The winters in Ely are no different, and those of us with a mind to enjoy the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness and surrounding area in the colder months need to be prepared for most anything-this January was no different. Our month started as expected: brutally cold. Temperatures dipping to the low 30's, below zero, reminded us that wool, down, and polar fleece all have a special place in our wardrobes.

    Cool temps on bright skies follow dog teams across Farm Lake.


    After several weeks of continuous cold, most of us had settled into a routine.
    Every evening we'd park our cars and plug them in so they would start. Every morning we would enjoy that unique rumbling and bouncing that comes from having car tires freeze flat on the bottom. Just as most of us had resigned ourselves to a "real Minnesota winter," everything changed. The temperatures began to rise. Warm south breezes brought out sunshine and sweatshirts and light gloves. Eventually the January thaw turned into a January melt. Rain replaced snow as continuous warm air masses kept advancing from the south and southwest, bringing with them some unique weather phenomena.

    Our resident Red Pine looks over our lilacs.

    Though these trees and bushes look as though they are covered with snow, they in fact are covered with frost, specifically hoar frost. As night falls, the already cool woods and ground begin to cool further, and the advancing warm air masses blanket our region through the night. This warm, moist air is cooled by the woods and ground resulting in the formation of highly crystallized frost.

    Hoar frost forms on the trees over Moose Lake


    To distract ourselves from the weather that was either too cold or too hot, we took to the lakes to enjoy one of Minnesota's finest distractions: ice fishing.

    One of the dock boys displays a fine 28" Lake Trout


    While still utilizing dog teams to move our gear into the wilderness, we opted to stay a little closer to home. As was the case last year, trail and ice conditions were questionable at certain points along our route, so we were unable to enjoy some of the lakes we usually frequent to the northeast-this didn't hurt our fishing though.

    A nice 31" Lake Trout caught on a cisco-this one went back in the hole.


    With winds forecasted in the mid 20's and temperatures to hover around zero degrees, we decided to once again bring our trusty, pop-up fish shelter. Constructed with spring loaded poles and heavy nylon, these fish shelters set up in less than five minutes and weigh anywhere from 25-30 pounds. With winds howling and snow blowing, we found ourselves in relative comfort inside the fish house.

    The engineer holds up a fine eater inside the frosty walls of our fish house.


    On a somewhat different note, and for those who didn't catch it on our Facebook page, this unusual fish was spotted on Shagawa Lake, just north of Ely. Though we're not sure what the possession limit is or exactly when it's in season, we imagine this would make for one heck of a fish story.



    The permit results are in, and we're looking forward to another beautiful summer on Moose Lake. If you've not made plans for your Summer 2017 adventure, it's never too late to call us.  We look forward to hearing from you.