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It wasn't long into our little push up a frozen North Shore stream that one of my snowshoes broke through to open water. Hmmm. Dark, wet, but not deep. You'd be surprised how quickly you can extract a snowshoe-clad foot from a piece of moving water. The motivation factor is high.
We move along the trail in our usual file. The young yellow pup is up ahead, well in sight. I shuffle along ground she has already covered. The old yellow dog, I know, is behind me somewhere. This is how we usually roll now, the three of us. The pup has to be up front, where the world is fresh and new, where every dead branch must be chomped upon. She has no need to carry these sticks, as some dogs do. She apparently just wants to enjoy the satisfying way they crump and crumble in her young jaws.
Despite riding several miles on a bicycle tire she didn't realize was flat, Duluth's Leah Gruhn peeled seven hours off her previous best finish in the Arrowhead 135 ultramarathon. Gruhn was the fifth woman to finish the challenging race from International Falls to Tower in a year that saw men's and women's records fall and many personal bests recorded. "Conditions were so fast," said Gruhn, 37, who completed her fifth Arrowhead 135. She finished in 38th place overall early Tuesday morning.
A special chronic wasting disease 16-day deer hunt in southeastern Minnesota concluded Jan. 15 with one additional case of the disease found among hundreds of deer tested, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials reported. Now, landowner shooting permits take effect in an attempt to further lower the deer population in the area and stop the disease from spreading. The number of CWD-positive wild deer in southeastern Minnesota now stands at six, and results are still pending on more than 100 samples.
Already, it had been a good night for Morgan Gallus and her companions who were sturgeon fishing on the Rainy River near Baudette, Minn. They had caught a 50-inch and a 51-inch sturgeon and two smaller ones. Gallus, of Delano, Minn., was out with Duluth native Grant Sorensen, now of Minneapolis, and two other friends. They were taping their sturgeon-fishing adventure for an upcoming episode of Sorensen's "Superior Angling" show on WDIO-TV Channel 10 in Duluth. They already had plenty of content from the evening.
Andrew Chadwick didn't know at the time he would one day be a fishing guide on the Kenai River in Alaska. But, two years out of the University of Minnesota Duluth, he knew one thing. He had to get up there. "It was something I'd always wanted to do," said Chadwick, 28. "I had a friend who was a disabled vet. We just decided to wing it. We loaded up my Jeep and started driving."
Roger Lapenter, who owned Anglers All bait shop in Ashland and who fought to protect Chequamegon Bay's trophy smallmouth bass fishery, died Monday. He was 73. Lapenter and his wife, Carolyn Swartz, bought the shop in 1984 after settling in Ashland in 1980.
For some, the Arrowhead 135 apparently just wasn't difficult enough. The brutal endurance race, by bicycle, skis or on foot from International Falls to Tower along a snowmobile trail, kicks off at 7 a.m. Monday. In this year's 13th running of the sufferfest, a new category has been added, said Ken Krueger of International Falls, who co-directs the race with his wife, Jackie. Participants may elect to compete in an "unsupported" class, meaning they must do the race without benefit of food or drink offered at the race's three checkpoints.
I wish I had known Elsye McGuire better. Most of us have a few Elsyes in our life — people with whom we crossed paths briefly, people we wish we could have known for a lifetime. I suspect I could have learned a lot from Elsye. Elsye, a woman of the outdoors who lived in Cass Lake, died Jan. 13. She was, remarkably, 107½. Elsye probably didn't think of herself as a women's activist or a role model. She was just using her natural skills to earn a little money — guiding anglers on Lake Winnibigoshish in the late 1920s.
Fly-fishers from across the Northland will gather next Sunday when the Fly Fishing Film Tour hits Duluth for the first time. The national touring film festival will feature a number of short fly-fishing films taking viewers to Montana, Mexico and Siberia, among other destinations. The event, a fundraiser, is sponsored by the Gitche Gumee chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Arrowhead Fly Fishers club. Proceeds will be used for habitat work for trout and steelhead on the North Shore, said Carl Haensel, a board member of TU's Gitche Gumee chapter.