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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Knife Lake; Sharpen Your Knowledge of the BWCAW

Left, Isle of the Pines, where Dorothy Molter sold her famous home made root beer to passing canoeists. On the right is Robbin's Island USA, north of Robbin's lies the Canadian border.

Portaging, the Fun Part of Canoe Trips

The portage between Knife and Vera Lakes was steep and rocky.

Shudda Brought the Shotgun! or Chicken for Dinner?

Ruffed grouse picks birch catkins at our campsite

Icon of the BWCAW

The state bird of Minnesota, a loon is also the icon of the BWCAW

Thursday, October 07, 2010

A Most Unusual Rock

This unusual rock was found on Isle of the Pines, Knife Lake
On the first of October, Woodchuck, Dave and Elron headed for Knife Lake on the Canadian border where they would hunt for the famous bacon stripe rock once a favorite of the "Root Beer Lady".  According to Woodchuck, the expedition pushed over 14 miles into the wilderness of lakes and rock, requiring 2 portages of 1/2 mile each.  To add to the challenge, the canoeists were headed into the wind the entire time coming and going.  "It was worth it", said Woodchuck, " You don't see a rock like this everyday!"  Two of the three days were sunny and mild, the scenery was magnificent and the fall colors were at their peak. 

Hiking With Bob

Hiking partner Bob Dubois overlooking Hoodoo Lake
The last Wednesday in September proved to be the perfect day for the annual hike with Bob.  This year we chose the Samples Rd to Rush Lake Rd section of the North Country Trail.  The day was clear and the fall colors were prime.  Lunch was partaken at one of the Atley benches with an outstanding view of the Brule Valley and Big Lake.  The duo has considered doing the NCT one piece at a time until the entire Brule St Croix section has been conquered. 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Heidi Zosel Volleyball Tourney

Northwestern Tigers joust with Cameron at Zosel Tourney
Eight teams gathered at Maple for the 26th annual Heidi Zosel Volleyball Tournament on Saturday.  Hudson, Cameron, Luck, Superior, Ironwood, Amery, Drummond and Northwestern met at 10 am to begin playing 2 pools of 4 rounds each.  The final results found Superior as 3rd, Cameron 2nd and Hudson left with the high honors.  The Tigers showed periods of outstanding play, but their shaky confidence left them with inconsistent results, winding up in 6th place.  They will certainly be a team to watch as they gain experience. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Home Again - Jiggity Jig

View along Degerman Road
We left Valley City before 8 am on Wednesday and were in Wadena before noon.  We stopped by Bob and Jean's for a visit.  They took us on a tour of the tornado damage area so we could see the progress in clean up and rebuilding since our last visit.  We went out to eat at the Mexican restaurant and had a good chat.  We arrived in Lake Nebagamon about 6:45 pm.  There is no place like home.  The leaves have a good start on turning color.  Our Prius got 47.6 miles per gallon for the trip.  We travelled a total of 3,000 miles on the trip.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dinosaur Country

Last evening we set our clocks back to Central Time so we would be ready for Tuesday.  That meant we had to we went to bed an hour earlier and got up an hour earlier (ugh!).  It was dark when the alarm went off at 6:45 central.  When we left town, the sun was just coming up at 7:45.  The weather was perfect, and we made good time stopping for gas at Glendive, MT. 
Eastern MT and western ND have produced many dinosaur skeletons for paleologists and is known as Dinosaur Country.  Many towns along the way have dinosaur museums and representations of dinosaurs abound.  Eve shot this lunching model next to the filling station in Glendive.  We stopped at Wibeaux, MT to find a cache and arrived at Valley City for the night at 5:15.  We had supper and found a couple of fairly tough caches before dark. 
A Dinosaur Having Lunch in Glendive

Monday, September 20, 2010

Leaving the Rockies

A Rainbow Greets us to the Prairie

A rainy day on U.S. 2 in Montana
We enjoyed a hearty pancake breakfast with Warren & Joann this morning and then hit the road about 9:30 am.  It was raining again.  We drove through the south end of Glacier National Park  and were treated to a fantastic rainbow just as we began to leave the Rockies.  The weather turned nice and we had an uneventful drive across the plains, arriving at Malta about 4:15. 

Moose for Dinner

From left: Katie, Warren, Sarah and Erik Illi
Sunday morning after church, we had breakfast with Brenda and John at Perkins.  We left CDA at about 1:15 and headed for Kallispell in a driving rain.  (Get it - driving rain?) Anyway, we fought our way through to St. Regis until it began to clear up.  We arrived in Kalispell about 6:30 mountain time.  We were greeted by Warren & Joann, Erik, Bill & Pam and Mike's girls: Sarah and Katie.  We sat down to a scrumptious dinner of moose meat and all the trimmings.  After dinner Warren took the kids out to Jill's.  Mike and I rode along.                                                                                                      

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pretty - But Don't Touch!

Rhus Radicans Poison Ivy - don't touch

Today was another pleasant low-key day in CDA.  Brenda was feeling a little better today, so she stopped over and we went to the Costco Store.  Sort of like Sam's Club - very big and very busy - good prices.  Then we went downtown to Hudson's Hamburgers, a long time tradition in CDA.  The 17 counter stools were filled and people were lined up waiting to sit down or just to order. We took our order to go - very good.  Then Brenda dropped me off at Tubb's Hill where I made my annual hike around the hill.  Brenda and Eve did some geocaching and picked me up after I made the circuit in about 40 minutes.  A good workout.
Then off for a few more geocaches.  When we were doing one cache along the lakeshore, we passed some pretty, bright red plants which I recognized as the dreaded poison ivy.  Nice fall color.  Notice the white berries in the photo; another tip off identifying the itchy stuff.
Brenda went home for a while and will return to send us off for our 47th anniversary dinner at Angelo's, an Italian restaurant just a few blocks from our house.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Oregon Grape

This is Oregon Grape.  It is wild, not a grape.
Friday was a low-key day in CDA.  This morning Eve and I hung out at the house reading and doing wash.  I went for a couple of walks.  At noon, we met Brenda at the hotel for her Rotary lunch meeting.  At the meeting Brenda gave a presentation as a chairman of the Rose sale fund raiser.  We heard lots of nice compliments of our daughter.  We are proud parents! After the meeting we dropped Brenda off at work and went back to the house.  Mid afternoon we went down to the downtown/waterfront area to do a few geocaches -one by the library, one on Tubbs Hill and a couple more on the beach.  On the way back to the car, we met a guy from Virginia who was trying to identify the trees in the park.  There are a variety of trees there most of them super large.  One, even the forester from Wisconsin couldn't identify.  The guy from Virginia thought it might be American chestnut which would be a pretty rare tree.  I will check it out on the internet.
Brenda was going to make spaghetti for us for supper, but mid afternoon she called from work and said she had a bad headache and blurry vision.  She thought it might be a migraine.  She went home.  We hope she is feeling better tomorrow!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Yes Virginia, There is a Ferry

The ferry boat arrives at Balfour
We departed Ainsworth Hot Springs this morning at just after 8 am.   It had rained hard over night, but was starting to clear by now and the temperature was pleasant.  It was just a 15 minute drive to the ferry dock at Balfour.  We were the first in line for the next ferry departing at 10:50.  We had plenty of time to look around and relax.  There were a few souvenoir shops, bakery, cafe and a small park with some natural resource interpretive signs.  We perused the interpretive signs and while Eve checked out the shops, I wandered down to the ferry dock and chatted with a couple of other passengers who happened to be from Holland.  Soon the ferry pulled into the dock and it was time to load.  The trip to Crawford Bay took about 40 minutes and was a pleasant and scenic ride.  It reminded me of when I worked in SE Alaska.  We left the ship and enjoyed the winding and scenic drive to Creston, BC.  There we stopped by the Creston Wildlife Area where we had our picnic lunch and walked one of their trails and climbed the viewing tower.  Not much for migrating waterfowl, but we enjoyed seeing the geese, grebes, dragonflies, damselflies and a redbellied snake.  From there we went through US Customs, picked up a couple of caches in Bonner's Ferry, Id and arrived in Coeur d'Alene around 5 pm.  Brenda came by the house at 6 and drove us to the Texas Road House where we met John for supper.  A long, but good day. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ainsworth Hot Springs

The pool water originates from the hot springs, but not as hot as in the cave.
The water in the cave is 105 degrees f

The hot springs resort was just a short walk from our motel.  We made a visit there this morning and again after supper.  The cave is also steamy like a sauna.

Kaslo, British Columbia

On our visit to Kaslo, B.C. on Kootenay Lake, we stopped by to visit the Moyie an authentic paddlewheel steamer in use on the lake until 1957.  It has been restored by the local historical society.  In the early days there were no roads in the area.  The Moyie carried passengers and freight.  The Moyie also was used as a tug to move barges carrying railroad cars.  It was in service for almost 60 years.  Freight was carried on the lower deck.  The upper deck was very luxurious for the time including padded seats, state rooms, dinning room, a lounge with bar and toilets.

Tuity Fruity

This morning I picked some of the nicest black berries anywhere

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Our Destination Ainsworth Hot Springs, B.C.

Beautiful Kootenay Lake in the British Columbia Rockies
We took our time leaving Osoyoos this morning and drove about 200 miles to Ainsworth.  We arrived here about 4pm.  The route was mountainous all the way and so we were constantly going either steeply up or steeply down with sharp curves.  Our motel overlooks Kootenay Lake in the Rockies.  Truly a beautiful spot where we will spend two nights before we head back to Idaho on Thursday.  We can walk from our motel to the hot springs.  We will be doing that tomorrow. 

A Touch of Mexico

We entered into Canada about 8pm last night and checked into our Super 8 Motel.  We were now in the land of Sergeant Preston, the home of the Royal Mounties, haunt of snow capped mountains and glaciers.  However, we awoke to a scene more reminiscent of our stay at Cabo San Lucus last January.  Many buildings and resorts are designed with a Spanish motif.  Canadians from farther north come here to vacation and enjoy the desert atmosphere.  They receive about 15" of precipitation annually. 
Believe it or not this is Osoyoos, B.C.!

Supper with the Zosel's

From left, John, Linda, Ellen and Jim Zosel

From left, Nancy, Howard, Ralph and Chuck Zosel
On Monday evening, we joined the Oroville Zosel's for supper at YoYo's Restaurant. 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Zosel's Discovered in the West

Entrance to the Zosel Lumber Company in Oroville, WA
Leaving Coeur d'Alene, ID this morning about 8:30, we drove through sunshiny eastern Washington skies past the Grand Coulee Dam to the town on Oroville just south of the British Columbia border.  One of the major industries of Oroville is the Zosel Lumber Company.  The area also grows apples, pears and cherries.  But we were interested in the lumber business for obvious reasons: 1) I am a Zosel by birth and 2) I am a forester by training. 

The Grand Tour of the Mill

From left, Howard, Chuck and John Zosel
Chuck and Eve received a warm welcome from the Oroville Zosel's today.  We were welcomed by brothers and proprietors of the Zosel Lumber Mill, Howard and John Zosel.  Howard and John, both with engineering degrees, are the third generation of Zosel's to operated the mill.  They gave us a first class tour of the mill, including the dam site.  We were impressed with the technology involved in the process of turning logs into lumber.  The lumber industry has changed greatly in recent years due to forestry regulations, international trade and economic considerations.  The Zosel's have responded with innovation and practical adaptations.

A Monument to a Pioneer

Plaque on the Zosel Dam adjacent to the mill
William Zosel constructed a dam on the Okanagan River flowing south out of Canada in 1927 to create a mill pond and to provide water for the steam-powered machinery for the sawmill.  The modest dam William built functioned well, however it backed water up into Canada and therefore required approval of the International Joint Commission.  As a result, the dam was replaced by a new one which carries on the Zosel name.  The new structure, upstream of the original, includes a fish ladder to allow passage of spawning salmon.

Washington Zosel's Long Livers

Jim (left), 90, and Ralph, (right) 93,  Zosel, the senior members of the Oroville, Washington clan grew up in the house in the background.   Their father, William built the lumber mill in 1927 and this home on the mill property for his family.  Our discussions on Monday failed to establish a clear connection with the Wadena clan.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Chuck's New Cap

Brenda, our native guide
This Idaho Sunday morning dawned cloudless and cool.  I was up at 6:30 and went for a 15 minute walk.  After breakfast Brenda showed up and took us to her church.  What a great place of worship!  Probably 600 people joined together in singing praises to the Lord.  After church we went downtown CDA to shop for a cap for Chuck.  The one he had was excessively nerdy.  After great deliberation and with the help of 2 women, he made the big transaction and became the proud owner of a Coeur d'Alene cap.  We then proceeded to Pita Pit where we enjoyed pitas on a sidewalk table on beautiful Sherman Avenue.  From there we headed to Liberty Lake, WA for some exciting geocaching. 

Geocaching Sunday

Chuck and Eve geocaching along the Spokane River
Today we went geocaching with Brenda along the Spokane River near Liberty Lake, WA.  We found 12 caches.  It was a beautiful day with sunny skies and temps in the mid-70's. 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

'B' Zosel Hits Double

Brenda Z demonstrates the ready form that resulted in big hit. 
Heavy hitter for the Lake View Community Church, Brenda "B" Zosel whacked a double in the second game of the slow-pitch softball tournament in CDA today.  Cheered on by a rowdy crowd of fans, B hit a hard ball into the right field of Ramsey Field in the 5th inning.  While her team won the morning game, the 2nd game went the other way and her team lost 8-5.

Pita House

Brenda gives her vistors the key to Pita House
Pita Pit Corp generously provided a temporary home for the homeless Z's from WI.  The house is a beautifully remodeled 30's house in a quiet neighborhood in CDL.  Eve says, "can't beat the accommodations with a stick.  Every thing we needed is provided with the exception of the groceries! We could live here."  However, the comptroller of P.P. made it clear that the loan was only temporary. 

Hello Rockies!

Dedicated geocacher, Eve zeros in on a cache in Superior, MT
We launched from the picturesque town of Bozeman, at about 8am once again and raced our shadow westward.  Not far out of Bozeman we began to encounter some serious mountains.  There was new snow visible in the upper reaches of the rockies.  The eastern approach to the rockies on highway 90 is one of the most scenic stretches to be seen.  Some patches of Mountain pine beetle were scattered along the road.  Passing by Butte and its huge open pit copper mines, we arrived at Missoula around 11, somewhat earlier than we had anticipated and exited the freeway.  We gave 2nd cousin Jean Zosel a call and she graciously adjusted her schedule to have an early lunch with us.  We met Jean at her office in downtown Missoula where she is the general manager of the NBC TV affiliate.  We walked a block down the street where we enjoyed a delicious lunch and enjoyable visit.  Leaving Jean at her office we headed back to the autobahn and once again propelled our hybrid westward.  Still comfortably on schedule, we made stops at Superior and Regis, Mt to do a little more geocaching before entering the Pacific time zone at the Idaho border. 

 We arrived at Couer d'Alene about 4, having covered another 350 miles.  Brenda guided us to our weekend digs at the Pita Pit House.  Very nice.  Thanks Pita Pit!  We joined up with friend John and did a few geocaches around CDL before having our evening meal with Brenda at a local funky place. 

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Rainy Day in Big Sky Country

View of Yellowstone River Valley in Montana from a highway wayside
This morning we departed Bismarck about 8 am and headed west.  In about an hour we were driving in a driving rain.  We entered Mountain Standard Time and dashed in and out of rain showers all day.  We traveled 570 miles and arrived at Bozeman, MT about 4:15 MST.  I walked for 1/2 hour and then we went to find the local Pita Pit and take a photo for B.  Since we expect we'll have opportunities to have Pita's at the home base, we went to a mall area to find our 3rd geocache of the day and then to the Panda to eat.  Back to the motel to soak in the whirlpool and watch the Vikings and Saints game.  Tomorrow, we expect to meet up with Jean Zosel in Missoula around lunch time and then on to Coeur d'Alene.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Westward Ho!

A most unusual rest stop in North Dakota
We departed home at 8:05am this morning to the pouting protest of Patches the cat.  It was a great day to drive, pleasantly cool, with partly cloudy skies.  We arrived at Bismarck, ND at about 5:15, 485 miles later.  Just east of Bismarck we made a rest stop at the most unusal highway rest stop we've seen.  The display inside told of the discovery and importance of oil to North Dakota's economy. 
At suppertime we were joined by 2nd cousin Molly Zosel Olson.  We had a great time getting to know each other better.   Tomorrow morning we head for Bozeman, MT. 

Thursday, September 02, 2010


I first noticed valerian, valeriana officinalis, in our area in 1985.  It is a perennial which begins to bloom in early July and continues into August.  As it matures it forms a purple head.  The plant grows up to 4-5 feet in height.  I first observed it as an occasional occupant of roadside ditches, but it has spread greatly and now is seen covering large fields in our area.  Valerian was originally planted as a garden flower.  It has been used as a medicinal herb for the treatment of nervousness and hysteria. 

Brown Spotted Knapweed

Spotted knapweed centaurea stoebe is an alien weed that originated from eastern Europe.  It is spread through most of the US and grows on dry soils.  It can displace native plants.  Insects used for biological control eat the head and roots of the plant. Very common in our area, especially along roadsides and fallow fields. 

Monday, August 30, 2010

How Can We Know What God Is Like?

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. “  So says the Gospel of John.  This is speaking of Jesus Christ, a man who was crucified when he was 33 years old.  How could it be?  Jesus was the Word become flesh.  He was fully God and he became man so that we could see God in the flesh and discern what God would be like if he were a man. 

You wonder what God is like?  Look at Jesus!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Adventure Day 2010

Every summer just before school starts we have been taking Alex, Zack and Nick on what we call 'Adventure Day'.  We do something special with the boys to mark the end of summer vacation.  This year we took the guys to the Minong area and looked for several geocaches.  We had lunch at A&W and ice cream later in the afternoon.  It was a beautiful day, lots of fun and we left not one geocache unfound!  We ended the day in the clear waters of Bass Lake. 

Swimming Fun at Bass Lake

After having ice cream at one of Minong's finest establishments, we headed west of Minong to find one more geocache.  Thanks to Zack's sharp eye, we found the cache in no time.  Lo and behold, the boys had brought their swim suits so what could be more natural than for them to take advantage of the beach.  It was a beautiful sandy beach, a warm sunny day and we had the place to ourselves.  Grandma & Grandpa got to relax in their folding captain's chairs on the beach. 

Call The Fire Department!

On August 26, we celebrated Alex's 13th birthday anniversary a little early.  We had ice cream cake and sang a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday to You.  Predictably, Al received a few fishing related birthday gifts, such as a muskie pole and a soft tackle box.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Prairie Dogs Visit Cheese Country

The Zosel's were pleased to entertain the CW (Wayne & Carol or is it Carol & Wayne?) at their rented cottage on McLain Lake  Thursday and Friday.  A good time was had by all.  On Thursday evening a campfire was conducted on the lakeshore where 'tin foil' dinners were cooked to perfection for the main course.  Wayne shared his talent as a time keeper to add precision to the cooking process.  The dinner was followed by the making of cherry pies over the coals. Behind the scenes, chef Eve, was responsible for putting together the ingredients of the delicious fare. 
Friday turned out to be a fine day as well and was high-lighted by a walk around the entire lake by the men folk. 

Eve Catches Fish!

Eve with billy big mouth bass
Eve shows she is not limited to catching sunfish.  Here she demonstrates her skill on a fine bass.  However, since Wayne and Carol departed, Chuck and Eve caught 50 sunnies - all released to grow for next year.  While we were fishing and releasing we released a small bluegill which had swallowed the hook.  The poor critter wasn't looking too healthy and lay listlessly on it's side floating away from the boat.  Suddenly, out of the blue swooped an eagle and snagged the fish in it's talons, giving us an exciting glimpse of life and death in nature.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lunch At McLain on Tuesday

Paul, Jackie and Joanne gather at the picnic table to consume their 'Tacos in a Bag'.  This is one way to minimize the work for the kitchen crew.  They do a great job and deserve all the help they can get.  Joanne and Sheri provided the meals and Jackie pitched in on the cooking.  It was all good.  Thanks Ladies! 
Dave had to leave early this morning to work at school. Paul's family had to leave early for Zack's baseball game this evening.  Joanne, Jackie and Nick left this afternoon to fulfill prior commitments at home.  Al stuck around a little longer to do (what else?) a little more fishing.  Dave came back around 6 to pick up the camper and Al.  The old folks are now alone at the Lake. 

Everybody Line Up Nice Now

Al carefully lines up 10 meaty sunnies he and Grandpa caught this afternoon for a group photo before the cleaning operation. 

The Mighty Fishermen Pose Before Cleaning Catch

Al and Grampa pause for a photo op before cleaning the fish for supper. 

A Fine Meal of Fish

Dave, Gramps and Al enjoy a meal of sunfish fresh from the lake. 

Monday at McLain

Here are a few of the survivors of the Monday activities.  Paul, Sheri, Kate and Zack returned late from Duluth where Zack had a baseball game.  Grandma and Grandpa waited up and kept the fire burning so they could have their midnight snack of s'mores. 

Fire on the Beach

Campers enjoy the warmth of the traditional fire on the beach.   Smores were made on the spot as Nick faithly stirs the fire. 

Let the Games Begin!

Katie is in deep concentration as she opens the "McLain Olymics" with the first of several events.  Success at each event is rewarded with huge sums of (bogus) money presented by games director Grandma Eve.  Presumably, the $ will be worth something at redemption time.  In this stunt, the contestant must lift the (hard-boiled) egg from the top of the bottle with a string loop and place it on the top of another bottle without dropping it. 

Where Have I Seen This Before?

Yet another photo of Al with a fish.  Yet, this one is worthy of note as this bass vies for the perhaps the largest bass caught in McLain recently. 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The End of a Sunny Sunday on McLain

It was a beautiful and busy day for the McLain crew with fishing, eating and a river trip.  Sunday started with threatening clouds on McLain Lake, but ended with sunshine and this lovely sunset.  Photo by Eve