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    Custom Cabins March 2017 eNews



    Spring has arrived in the northland. After a toilsome winter of short days, long nights, and frigid temperatures, warm evenings and sunny days have returned to bring new energy to the Ely area. Temperature readings that would startle a Floridian have brought Ely residents out of hibernation in full summer regalia of shorts, t-shirts, and flip-flops. The vast majority of our snow has melted, and the forest floors of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) and Superior National Forest (SNF) are exposed for the most part while the vast majority of our lakes are still locked in well over a foot of ice.



    The warm days have brought on the spring melt and runoff, lifting the levels of our creeks and rivers to spring highs. Any body of water with fast-moving current has long since lost its icy shell.

    Looking northeast from the Basswood side of Prairie Portage-an increased volume of water and warm temperatures have opened an area that is frozen throughout the rest of winter.



    As the warms days and cool nights of spring have reduced the snow we've enjoyed in the woods this winter, they have also reduced and smoothed the snow on our lakes. Areas that were once quagmires of slush ad pressure ridges have been leveled and homogenized to leave us with flat, ideal conditions for a number of late winter and spring activities.

    Here a pressure ridge stretches far into the distance on Bailey Bay in Basswood Lake. Looking towards the northeast, the ridge formed as ice expanded and contracted with the warming and cooling of late winter weather.



    The low snow pack and "crusty" snow conditions make for excellent spring skiing. As previous newsletters have noted, traveling distances through the BWCAW that would take days by canoe can be accomplished in an afternoon on skis. The conditions this year did not disappoint.


    An early morning ski within the City Limits of Ely. Shagawa Lake, located on the north edge of town, provided an excellent early morning getaway.



    Aside from skiing, the smooth lakes also provide ideal travel for bikers, dogsledders, and anyone else looking for the vistas provided by wide-open spaces. For pilots, this time of year turns every lake into an opportunity to safely land and explore.

    The Moose Lake Airport, elev 1338', opens briefly for wheel operations on a gorgeous spring evening.



    All this spring melt water has to go somewhere though. Located just south of Ely, near the town of Babbitt, Minnesota, is the Laurentian Divide. Like the Continental Divide that separates the water flow between the east and west of our country, the Laurentian Divide is a geographical divide that separates water flowing north to he Arctic Ocean and Hudson Bay or south to the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico. 

    Here the Lester River empties its load of spring melt water and sediment into an unusually calm Lake Superior. Located south of the Laurentian Divide, this water will make its way to the Atlantic. The plume of sediment stretches several hundred yards into the glassy lake.




    The creek at the north end of Wind Lake slowly relinquishes its blanket of ice and snow to warm temps and rising water levels. Located above the Laurentian Divide, this water flows north to eventually empty into Hudson Bay.



    In keeping with the tradition of spring as a season of rebirth and growth, we decided this newsletter wouldn't be complete without mention of some new residents in the Ely area.


    A very proud mother, Willow, welcomed six healthy Canadian Inuit puppies to her kennel at the beginning of the month. The Canadian Inuit dog is the freight hauler or tractor of the sled dog world. Though the cute little monsters won't be winning any races in the future, they will spend many happy days helping visitors to the Ely area enjoy camping, fishing, or sightseeing trips.


    Four of the six Canadian Inuit puppies born at the beginning of the month.



    With the longer days our thoughts have really begun to turn towards the upcoming summer. Early season fishing in the Ely area is excellent-walleyes inhabit the shallow waters near shore, the bugs haven't made an appearance yet, and the influx of mid-summer visitors has not yet started. Call or write us soon to plan your early season trip to Custom Cabin Rentals to take advantage of off-peak discounts on cabins. Enjoy the spring, and see you all this coming summer.


    Freezing and thawing in the Duluth Harbor produces another stunning visual display that lasted for less than a day.