Stepping Outdoors With Craig Blog Stepping Outdoors With Craig

  • Gooseberry Falls in the Fall

    Posted by Craig Holgate

    The North Shore is a maganet this time of year, and this past weekend was no different. But when you have all the rugged beauty of the lake, rivers and falls; and then you add some fall color, it is bound to attract.

    Nice Fall day at Gooseberry Falls

    We took our youth group down to the falls and as we always do we had a great time. This is a day where you don't have to plan much, bring some food for a picnic, and then let the kids explore. Perfect sunny fall weather even made the day better!

  • Extending the Camping Season

    Posted by Craig Holgate

    Well this summer, I guess I hit a sign of getting older. We bought a camper. Now it's not anything huge or extra fancy, however it is a few steps up from the tent we portage into the Boundary Waters.

    So with this newly aquired toy we are looking at extending our normal camping season. We picked it up in mid-summer and with a busy schedule have only had it out 3 times. But now we are planning on getting it on the road at least a couple more times in October. We have a trip planned to the Duluth area, and might head out for the Tower area later in the month. Sleeping up off the ground with a furnace running makes it real easy to extend the season. And Fall is both my wife and I's favorite time of year to be out. I'm looking forward to some crisp mornings, some great fall color. biking and geocaching with the camper serving as home base.

    And we may have a few tenting weather days left as well, predictions are for a warmer than normal October! See you out there!

  • Labor Day Fun

    Posted by Craig Holgate

    We closed out the "summer" and spent the labor day weekend up at the cabin. This included some usual cabin activites of fishing, swimming, hammocking, fire burning and something new.

    Hammocking

    In one of our fishing outings we picked up an eatable size Northern. Frankly my opinion is there is no such thing, but a friend of mine wanted to keep it. So I took it off my hook and threw it in the live well for him. We got back to shore and as he was getting ready to clean it, someone else suggested we roast it over the fire.

    Well in all of our years of outdoor adventures we had never done that. So a few sticks were broken and a spit was constructed over the fire. And we all agreed the end result was pretty darn tasty. In fact we left the sticks in place for next time!

    Roasted Northern

  • South Dakota Biking

    Posted by Craig Holgate

    George Mickelson Bike Trail

     

    Hey bike riders if you are looking for a new destination trail to ride. Check out the George Mickelson Trail in the Black Hills of South Dakota. This 109 mile trail runs along old railroad grade between Deadwood and Edgemont. Now this is not a trail to ride with your road bike, since it is not paved. However the packed gravel will accommodate most tires, provided they are not too thin.

     

    It is recommended that your ride from North to South if you want to take advantage of more of the downhill stretches. However, you will not be getting a free pass on the uphills, there still enough of them.  We felt the most scenic portion of the trail was in between Deadwood and Mystic, however Sheeps Canyon down near Edgemont is not to be missed either.

     

    Some riders do the trail in one day, many in two days, however we took 3 mornings to ride it. This left our afternoons and evenings to explore other great places like Mount Rushmore. The most miles we rode in one day was 42 and the least was 32. The trail also runs through 4 tunnels and over 100 bridges,  Enjoy!

     

    Tunnel along the Mickelson Trail

  • Bike Tour-Wow, good times

    Posted by Craig Holgate

    Biking the Mesabi Trail

    Wow what a great time this past Saturday for the Great River Energy Ride on the Mesabi Trail. More than 700 bikers were out enjoying a great day on the trail. And a big tip of the helmet to all the volunteers and organizers who make this ride even possible. This was the first bike tour I have been on but I was very impressed with how smooth everything went. This year the ride started in three places, Giants Ridge, Virginia, and Buhl, and ended in Bennett Park in Hibbing. Several members of my family and several friends all rode for the first time, and we plan to be back again next year. Hope to see you out on the trail, and until then keep pedaling!

  • Governor's Fishing Opener 2010

    Posted by Craig Holgate

    Craig's Biggest Walleye

    Wow what a great time was had at the Governor’s Fishing Opener at Lake Kabetogama. I have been attending these annual events since 1999, and this one was one of the best. We were in beautiful Voyageurs National Park, staying at Moosehorn Resort. The food was wonderful, the people some of the nicest around, and the fishing was fantastic. Usually on opening day we are lucky to get one or two fish. Between Kate and I we had 8 walleyes and saugers in the boat. Notice I did say between the two of us, okay…she caught the first and the most. However, I did get the biggest walleye. The real credit goes to our fishing host Jim, who knows this lake very well and had the equipment and patience to put us on fish. Next year we will be off to Grand Rapids, as they won the bid to be the host city.

    Until Next Time Lake Kabetogama

  • 2 Days, 3 Trails

    Posted by Craig Holgate

    This weekend I was able to get out and explore some new bike trails in the State. First up was biking through Elm Creek Park in Champlin, which offers 20 miles of biking on paved trails throughout this near 5,000 acre county park.  Since this park is close to my sister’s home, we’re able to ride a few city blocks and jump onto the trails. Moderate hills and great scenery make this a good place to pedal.

    Next up was the Gateway State Trail in St. Paul. This 18 mile long trail begins in St. Paul and travels northeast through the cities of Maplewood, North St. Paul, and Oakdale, through Washington County, and ends at Pine Point Regional Park, just 4 miles northwest of the city of Stillwater. Since this was a rails to trails project the riding is fairly easy. The group I was with was also geocaching this trail so we did all 18 miles and more than 40 caches.  While you will find some more people using this trail, congestion was never a problem and we had a great day. We even made a stop in North Saint Paul for a great breakfast at a café only a few blocks from the bike trail.

    Since I had the bike in tow and the weather was perfect, I made a stop in Stacy on the way home and biked about 8 miles on the 23 mile Sunrise Prairie Trail. This trail runs between Hugo and North Branch, passing through Forest Lake, Wyoming and Stacy. Flat and mostly straight, the biggest drawback of the part I pedaled was the close proximity to Interstate 35.

    Sunrise Prairie Bike Trail

  • First 100 Miles

    Posted by Craig Holgate

    Hard to believe I was skiing just earlier this month! Now that the snow has made a quick departure, it has been time to pump up the bike tires. I got my first "real" bike last year, by real I mean one that came from a bike shop and not a big box. Granted it is a used bike, but hey I work in radio. Yesterday I rolled the odometer to 103, marking the milestone of my 1st 100 of the year. Of course I have a number in my head of how many miles I would like to bike this year, and maybe I'll share it with you at another time. Last year I did 800 miles, granted a small amount compared to a lot of die hard bikers, but better than the 15 miles I biked the year before! With the earlier start to biking this year, I for sure should surpass that 800 mark, but it remains to be seen if I'll hit that goal! See you on the trails. Below a view of the Mesabi Trail near Hibbing.

    Mesabi Bike Trail Near Hibbing

  • Old Car Fun

    Posted by Craig Holgate

    This is a fun website to take a trip down memory lane with. Look up the old cars you used to own and see the brochures used to market them back when they were new. Not all the cars I've owned are here, but most of them are. Have Fun!

    http://www.lov2xlr8.no/broch1.html

  • Gunflint Skiing

    Posted by Craig Holgate

    Just up the historic Gunflint Trail out of Grand Marias Minnesota is some of the best cross country skiing in the area. This past weekend it was time for our annual family ski trip to the Gunflint Trail. Several resorts service the two trail systems up here, and again this year we were back at Bearskin Lodge on the Central trails. (The Upper Trail System has 4 resorts, the Central has 2)

    Going in early March has assured us of nice weather the last couple of years, and this year was no different. Sunny warm weather, with light to calm winds were the rule for our three day visit. In fact if anything it was a bit too nice, with the deep snowpack of the Gunflint beginning to melt. We still had plenty to ski on, a lot more than around here, but it was getting soft by mid day.

    Nearly 70k of trails are available just out our cabin door, and we made an effort to get to most of it. By the time we left only about 10k had not been skied, with my daughter getting the honors for the most k skied. Her favorite, and mine alike, was the expert only Bear Cub World Cup trail. Know for it's monster climbs and screaming downhills it didn't disappoint.

    While it maybe too late for this season, if you're ever looking for a great place to get away from it all, cell phones don't work and there are no televisions, the Gunflint trail is a great cross country skiing destination.

  • Keeping Healthy and Living Longer

    Posted by Craig Holgate

    One of the reasons many of like to stay active is that we hope we will not only enjoy some great recreation, but that will also live a longer live. But the question is

    How long will you live?

     This is pretty interesting.

     

    Watch the age prediction on the top left of the screen change as you answer the various questions. 

    Click below, or copy into your browser: BE HONEST WITH YOUR ANSWERS FOR AN ACCURATE PREDICTION....

     

    http://www.nmfn.com/tnetwork/longevity_game_popup.html

     

  • Goosberry (Frozen) Falls

    Posted by Craig Holgate

    Spent Saturday exploring the frozen Gooseberry river and falls in the state park. While I have taken many trips to this park during the summer it was the first time I have been here in the winter. We heard the lower falls were some of the most beautiful frozen formations in the past 30 years. So that is where my wife and I started the day.

    Frozen Lower Falls

     

     Keep in mind the signs that say the trails are icy, are 100 percent accurate. They don't maintain the trails, and steps during the winter so you are walking on frozen packed snow. Once down below on the frozen river, the falls are certainly an impressive sight. Ice climbers were working their way up and down the falls, providing som entertainment. However, with the climbers in the way you couldn't not get a full picture of the falls. But, as we discovered we liked the close up shots of the frozen water better anyway. The best part was the newly frozen section, where you could see the water rushing down on the other side of the ice....very cool.

    Ice Climbers

     

    We next put on the cross country skis and headed out on the ski trails. They took us deeper inland to parts of the park I have never seen before. There are some great vistas along the trail, both of the river and Lake Superior. The great weather had a lot of other skiers and people on snow shoes were out exploring as well. We skied into the fifth falls, and then kicked off our skis and hiked down to get a look at these as well. These falls were a mix of frozen and open water, providing some great sights and sounds.