Basket O’ Loons Gift Set

Own a piece of northern Minnesota with a fun gift basket from Ely, Minnesota!

Get two beautiful and unique glass mugs hand painted by Ely artist Joe Baltich of Northwind Lodge, Red Rock Wilderness Store, and sole artist of Ely Art Company!  Included are a 4-pot assortment of delicious Gene Hicks Coffee in a basket with pine cones picked right next to Jasper Creek at Northwind Lodge!

You can’t get any more authentic than that!

Makes a wonderful, thoughtful gift drenched in real wilderness from, you guessed it; real wilderness at Northwind Lodge on Jasper Lake!

These will be available in limited numbers so order your Basket O’ Loon Mugs today while you can still get them.

loon mugs in a basket
Basket o’ Loons Gift Set from Northwind Lodge

 Cost is $69.95  with FREE SHIPPING!  Applicable tax is extra.

For this extra-special gift made in Ely, Minnesota, Order Online Hre

Coming This May & June

I’m working on a new experience for for our May & June lodge guests!  Still hammering out the details but I hope to enlighten participants in the beauty of the natural world all while honing a skill that you didn’t even know you had.  It’s going to be fun, eye-opening, and something you can do well into old age.  And, I’ll be doing it “Joe Style” with no saffron robes or Birkenstocks and everybody will be keeping their clothes on.

We’re going to preserve our wilderness through observation and implementation.   If you like color and control, you’ll love this adventure!

Nebo Flashlight – Tactical LED Light and Laser

This is a pretty cool light.  Of course, it is an LED unit plus it is “tactical” which means that the front is sharp and perfect for gnarling up the face of an assailant.  The light is bright, and they blink and there’s this little brass circle in the middle of the lens which makes it interesting.  That part is a laser.  It’s a really bright little laser and while I’m not entirely sure what it is for, I see no reason to NOT own one.  You never know when you you are going to need a laser.  This light also does something cool if a laser is not cool enough for you.  You hold the “On” button down for 4 seconds and it goes into SOS mode which is  …—… for SOS.  I finally read the instructions and discovered that little snippet.

When we’re not trying to get rescued at Red Rock, here’s what we like to do with a Nebo laser:   Order Yours here – Limited Supply

Watch the video here:

Our Rental Cabins – Everybody Knows Everything

A few weeks back, one of our new cabin guests checked in and commented on how he really liked our cabin videos because he was able to get a feel for the cabin choices.  He’d chosen Cabin 7 for his stay. When he and his wife arrived, I did what I’ve been doing for years for our new guests and gave him a tour of the cabin.   It only takes a minute and when I was through, he said “Just like in the video.”  I thought that was kinda cool, but didn’t fully grasp what it all meant and I also felt a little redundant.

Today, I took large new party who had rented three cabins and did the same thing.  They arrived ready to pay for their cabin up front which is our general requirement but I usually like to show the cabins first.  In Cabin 2, I was giving a quick history as to why the whole cabin felt a bit crooked and a lady filled in my sentence and then said “Hey!  You’re the voice on all the videos!”.  Again, that was neat but I didn’t grasp the full meaning.

Our cabin videos are pretty simple and a bit shaky because I’m just running around doing very impromptu shots in each cabin with no tripod.  Sure, we could have opted for a slicker presentation with sharper vids by hiring a guy with a professional camera and a large tripod.   Then we could have done some scripts and hit all the key points with a minimum of “ummm’s-ahhh’s and stammering.  That’s all nice and probably holds a lot of appeal to many but that’s not how I roll.   I like the “more real” feel sometimes.  It appears that many of our guests do as well.

All of our cabins have unique features to them from their interiors to their locations around the resort.  Having individual videos really seems to address many new guests concerns and questions in advance.  It has only taken me until now to realize that.  Hence the reason for so many of them coming in ready to check right in and begin their vacation.   They’ve already seen their cabin.

Everybody knows everything before they get here.

You can watch our cabin vids Here

Ely MN Fishing Resorts – and then there’s Wood Lake

I grew up going to Wood Lake as a young kid with my brother and dad.  I also began gudding fishing trips at 14 on Wood Lake when we could use outboard motors.  I lugged many a 3  HP Evinrude down that 180 rod portage over many years.  When the government came in and closed down all motor access due to environmental activism gone amok, we were forced to switch to rowing on Wood Lake.  Over the years they drew the BWCA lines avoiding influential properties while disregarding smaller entities like us who relied upon Wood Lake for our lodge guests along with other businesses who did as well.  I’ve pretty much concluded that their goal was to wipe us out and they darn near did.   When we lost motors on Wood Lake (for the so-called greater good on an obscure lake like Wood lake), we also lost 50% of our returning lodge guests by the following season in 1979.

We had to completely rebuild our business and convince new customers that rowing was much easier than it looks. Well, despite the enemy’s attempt to fold our business, we prevailed. Supporting national environmental causes always wipes out, displaces, or causes hardship to some little family trying to earn a living.  Please remember that.  “Greater good”, my butt.

Animosity towards those who would happily ruin us aside, we found that rowing on Wood Lake actually allowed us to travel further than motors did, all in one day.  With motors, we had a limited amount of  gas.  If we ran out of gas, we’d have to row home!  Is that even possible?  Gasp!  Well, yes – it actually is and it’s a LOT easier than it sounds.  To date, I have rowed myself and two other people (many different folks) for thousands of miles for about 20 years or so.   I ended up actually preferring rowing over using an outboard.  Carrying the oars down to Wood Lake is easier and I never, ever worry about how I’m going to get home.  With oars, I have complete control over the boat far moreso than with a motor.   Plus, as a result of rowing, one develops strong back muscles, impressive arms, and improved confidence about one’s abilities.  Trust me, NONE of this was figured into the 1978 BWCA law and the RARE II rider that closed Wood Lake down to motor travel.

Now, are there times when one wishes a motor was handy?  Sure.  When it ‘s windy and you are caught in 3 foot waves a motor would be excellent to have.  But, you don’t have one, so you have to plan your day, your route and your escape plan.  Sometimes your escape plan is to park it on shore and wait until the wind dies down.   No motor makes you smarter and stronger which is another thing the Sierra Club never planned on happening. To go to Wood for a day, plan on packing a lunch, (no aluminum cans – plastic is fine for pop).  You should have a small pack to carry stuff.  We can get you one here at the lodge.  You’ll need the key for a boat and also the oars.

Things you need to remember:  a landing net, stringer, tackle box, rod/reel, rain gear, hat, sunglasses, sun screen, bug dope, no flip flops or Teva-style sandals unless you like tearing your toe nails off on rocks, camera.  If you have or can access AT& T, your cell phone will work on Wood. Here’s a video from Wood Lake when it was pretty rough out.   It’s not always like this, but it can be, so remember that planning your day can be helpful.