Little Lake, Big Fish

This is what you get when you have a little lake in NE Minnesota and a kid who likes to fish.  This is John Pconka,  friend of Ben and Andrew Westphal who joined the brothers and their dad, Jeff on a week-long adventure at Northwind Lodge.

John caught this beauty off on dock at Northwind Lodge.

He didn’t have a landing net so he grabbed  this big, honkin’ northern with his hand over the edge of the dock and lifted him out of the water.

Big Northern from off the dock at Northwind Lodge Summer 2020
Probably about 40″ long!

I would say a little bit of luck with a majority of skill would be at play here with John.  Heck, I don’t believe that would have ended well for me.  Pretty impressive for a 17 YO kid from the Chicago area!

This fish was released quickly back into Jasper to continue to maraud and laugh at fishermen who wish they had this chance.  Well done, John!

I have to chuckle.  For my entire life in the resort business right here, I’ve heard countless people who won’t consider a “smaller” lake for fishing because  they believe incorrectly that “there are only big fish in big lakes”.    Time and again, they’ve been proven wrong.

Remember, this fish was caught “off of a boat dock”.

So, how come you aren’t coming to Northwind Lodge to cast off the docks?  If you don’t fish, we also do painting classes.  You can also sit at the beach, paddle a kayak, take out a canoe, paddle a paddle board, peddle a paddle boat, or just read a book – all with social distancing, no crowds, out in the woods.  No masks required for playing outside.  218-365-5489 to see what is currently open in cabins.

Normal day

I’m in my studio painting commissioned art for clients and a friend messages me that he just shot a 10 pointer and could use my help gutting it because he’s only gutted one before. I changed my boots, grabbed a knife, a little saw, a gallon of water and my deer hunting cap so I wouldn’t get my butt shot off as easily from newbies walking around with deer rifles. (Nobody was out there there, but just in case.)

I jump in the van, and get to him in a desolate parking lot about 8 minutes from his phone message to my arrival. There he is with a 10 pointer that he managed to wrestle up into the box of his truck and he’s not without some physical issues. I’m still amazed that he got that buck into the box of the truck. That dude is pretty tough. It was a larger deer.

He said he was at another landing wandering around and 50 yards away, there is a deer facing directly at him. He couldn’t tell if it had antlers because the brush was too thick and in hazelnut brush, everything looks like it has antlers. So, he just waited, gun up and watching. After an eternity, the deer turned his head and that which could have been hazelnut and alder brush became antlers. He squeezed off a round, dead-center-chest. A hop and a drop.

Upon gutting it, I could see what a great shot it was. He sheared the top of the heart off and removed a lobe of the liver. There would be no chasing around in the brush with a textbook shot like this. I marveled and envied his good shooting fortune. Most of the deer I’ve shot are running by me at a weird angle and usually going 70 mph with a jet-pack strapped to their backs. Then I would have to run around with them. As per my friend’s request, I saved the heart, liver and found one kidney. He’s eatin’ tonight, lucky dog!

And now, I’m back in my studio painting people’s beloved pets on acrylic discs. How strange our “normal day” must look to somebody not from here.

New! Northwind Lodge Activities

Loons at Northwind Lodge Ely MN

Resort sponsored activities are planned for

Tuesday through Thursday each week.

Painting Classes

During select weeks at Northwind Lodge, join us for our weekly activities.  To see when they begin,

The Activities Low Down

Painting Classes
Get your creative juices going by taking a painting class during your stay.  Classes are scheduled for Tuesday evenings.  Also, depending on schedule availability, classes can be held at other times and for private groups.  We paint rocks and Christmas ornaments in the two-hour sessions.   Other longer classes and programming is available at different price rates as well.  For more information about our regular art programming options, please visit intothebrush.org our non-profit art education organization.

Tuesday night 7:00 to 9:00 pm (this can be changed upon request)  $35.00 each.  Reservation required

Campfire

Wednesday Campfire
It’s S’mores time, come to the fire ring by Jasper Creek Falls to enjoy an evening  sitting around the campfire.  Bring your s’more components.  Wiener sticks – the whittled kind – are provided.

8:30 pm at the fire pit by the creek.  June 1st through August 31st.

Potluck Dinner

NEW – Thursday Potluck
New for 2021!  Potluck Dinner on Thursday evening!  Get to know some of the guests at the lodge and join us for dinner!   Bring a dish, bring dessert, bring yourself.  Dress is casual, conversation entertaining, dining is outside.

5:30 pm by the lodge building June 1st through August 31st

What a fun way to get together to greet and eat!  Joe will be cooking as well.  Who knows?  It may be gastronomical adventure!  That’s why “luck” is part of the word used to describe it!

Call us at 218-365-5489

Time Lapse Video – Joe Baltch Rock Painting

18 minutes cut down to 2.5.  I wish I could paint this fast for real!  LOL.
Come take an Art Lesson at Northwind Lodge!

Fishing Fun at Northwind Lodge

Come on up!

It was a great summer and now we are heading into fall time at Northwind Lodge! Cooler days and early fall colors are making us a great place to “get outta Dodge”. Give us a call, come on up, and get on the water!

The Hansen Family – 5 days of Social Distancing, Northwind Lodge Style

Take a look at these beautiful photos!  This is the Hansen family who spent 5 days and 4 nights here at Northwind Lodge.  I’m exhausted just looking at how much they managed to pack into 5 days!  They fished hard, paddled a lot, hiked, ate fish, played with the dog, got up early, and so on.  Mom and daughter even took a 2 hour painting lesson and successfully produced two works of art which also serve as cool trip mementos.

This is THE WAY to socially distance.  I had so much fun with their photos, I will be joining them for their stay the next time they come up.   They don’t have a choice in the matter.

“Where’s Joe?”

“He’s staying with the Hansen family for the week.  There is no cell reception so, you’ll have to just wait ’til he gets back.”

“But, he’s just over in Cabin #8.  It’s like 400 feet from here.”

“He’s on a great vacation.  Leave him alone!”

(My dreams…..sigh….)

It’s the Year of Animals at Northwind Lodge – 2020 – Ely, MN

Watching the TV last night and Annette started to sputter while pointing at our cat who was looking out the patio door window.  A good-sized bobcat came in to take a look as his relative.  Our grey cat didn’t appreciate his presence and arched her back while laying her ears down, growling slightly.  He, on the other hand, looked curious for a very few seconds and then turned to leave.  I managed to fumble my phone on to access the camera and shot two quick pics.  Then, he decided to turn around and come back one more time just to make sure the grey house cat behind the glass was for real.  I shot two more pics and tried to turn on video.  Of course, there is no such thing as “quickly turning on” anything with electronics – like a switch – so while the phone indicated a video was being taken for two seconds, I ended up with a slightly blury video of my foot, then the ceiling, and then the wall.  The bob cat turned, showed us his bob tail and faded into the brush like he was never even there.

At this point, I’m guessing we have served as many nights of boring entertainment for bobcats, wolves, pine martens, bears, and others while sitting in the downstairs living room.  You can’t see them and seldom hear them.  But, they are there always watching.   What else have they go to do?
Bobcat - Northwind Lodge - Ely MN
So, Summer 2020 is the year of the animals.  We’ve had bears of all sizes  wandering through the property, wolf tracks in the mud let by fresh rain, deer tracks (but not many with wolf tracks around) and assorted beavers, muskrats, eagles, loons, the occasional swan family, squirrels and chipmunks.

 

The fish have also been biting REALLY well in the last two weeks with big bass, northerns and sunnies really pounding on some days.  Top it off with rather spectacular, temperate, weather and we are great place to visit to get away from the insanity on the outside.  Hang out at the beach, take an art lesson, come see the art in the Fernberg Gallery, maybe go to town.  Being hunkered down in the woods on a pretty lake has been resonating particularly well with our guests this summer.  Plus the smell of barbecue wafting by in the evening makes one drool.  We feel sorry for guests who need to return home after their stay.  You can see on their faces that they feel the same.    There’s always next season.

Give us a call.  See what cabins might be open.  Find out what you’ve been missing!
218-365-5489

Bobcats Are Us at Northwind Lodge

I’ve always figured that they are silently watching us forever now. They never make themselves known. They never slip up to be discovered, especially in the summer with all the leaves and shadows hiding their subtle camoflage. Well, they do slip up once every 50+ years or so.

Until now, I have never ever seen a bobcat in the summer. Never. This is a case of curiosity blowing the cover of a summer bobcat. Annette and I were watching the TV, when Annette started sputtering in a language that was neither English nor German.

I looked at her wondering what the issue was. She was pointing at our grey cat who was looking out the patio door. On the other side of the glass, there was a good-sized, healthy bobcat looking in. Our grey cat was now arching her back and laying her ears back and flat. I struggled with my phone doing the super fast wrist-twist-turn-on maneuver for exactly this type of use. Yeah- it failed miserably and I was relegated to finding/pushing icons on my phone. Fortunately, the large beige cat was enamoured with our smaller grey cat and not watching me dumbly waving my phone in the air. Then he turned to leave but curiosity got the best of him. He turned around and a re-approached yet again, allowing me to get two more shots, one zoomed in, too.

Then, in the seven-second window for all this to happen, he turned around and stealthily faded into the brush like a ghost.

We are both convinced that said bobcat is sitting right outside the window all the time. He’s watching and waiting for us to slip up by letting to cat out. Never going to happen and I’m sure this is not the last we will see of him.

This is life in the real northwoods of Minnesota. All year long, during the various seasons, we see bears, wolves, deer, etc. I’ve never seen a summer bobcat before, however. This was fun!

The fish are biting and people are taking art lessons, kayaking, canoeing, and hiking. This is social distancing in wilderness. Give us a call for updated cabin availability and see what you’ve been missing. Our lodge guests have been having a great time this summer! 218-365-5489

C’mon up and getaway from the scary outside world! Assorted bears and a now proof of a bobcat, are wandering around outside. I also feel immensely safer here than I would in many metro areas, today. We know what to expect from our wild animals here.

Art Classes and Fishing! Social Distancing at Northwind Lodge

I don’t believe there are many resorts in Minnesota whereupon the guests can learn how to paint AND go fishing.  Northwind Lodge is one of the few places that this is possible.  Hats off to jobs well done by Jim and Terri Rhoads of Iowa!  Jim last touched an artist’s paint brush in 3rd grade.   It’s been a while and yet his artwork today would say otherwise.  Terri has a bit more experience and her painting is lively and appealing.  Frames are going to kick both paintings to another level.   Both Jim and wife Terri had a great time as did I.  Art lessons are ALWAYS fun for me as well.   Painting, telling stories, and concentrating REALLY hard make learning to paint a lot of fun!  Two to three hours feels like an hour.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Jim and Terri took up painting when they return home.  It’s a great activity any time of the year.

When not in class, they are on the water, baking pizza on the Weber outside of the cabin, going on hikes,  and of course, catching fish.  This is the greatest way to socially distance out of all the options available.

Paintings by Jim and Terri Rhoads Northern pike on Jasper Lake Jim Rhoads holding a largemouth on Jasper Lake This is a NOT a bluegill

Socially distancing at Northwind Lodge – This is the way to do it.

Thanks to Lauren Johnson and family for these cool candid pics of a week at Northwind Lodge.  I’m guessing they had a great week.