Ely 4th of July Parade 2011

As a public service to all my dear readers, I’m watching the 4th of July Parade in Ely, MN so that you don’t have to.  Here are the highlights:

Ely Dance Team
Ely Dance Team
Ely High School Marching Band
Ely High School Marching Band
Without a Helmet
Without a Helmet (plus the bonus royal wedding)
Miss Babbitt, Paige Penttila
Miss Babbitt, Paige Penttila
Lawn Chair Dancers
Lawn Chair Dancers
Coconut Bra
Coconut Bra
Ely Klown Band
Ely Klown Band

And there you have it. Are you sorry you missed it?

Your North Woods Hiking Guide

Here’s another installment of Your North Woods Hiking Guide, your guide to exploring the MN North Woods on foot.

Up first, the ever-popular Dry Falls, located along the scenic Bass Lake hiking trail. This trail has been featured in Your North Woods Hiking Guide before. Several Times. But it’s always a treat. And I always find excuses to not bring my swim suit. This year, I blamed it on my muffin top. Sigh.

Dry Falls Jumpers
Dry Falls Jumpers
Dry Falls
Dry Falls

The newest entry in Your North Woods Hiking Guide is the Kawishiwi Falls Hiking Trail, which is a gem because the whole thing is only about a half mile long and it’s nearly flat, but the falls are awesome. If you’re looking for an easy hike with a nice view, this is your best bet!

Kawishiwi Falls Hiking Trail
Kawishiwi Falls Hiking Trail
Kawishiwi Falls Jumpers
Kawishiwi Falls Jumpers
Kawishiwi Falls
Kawishiwi Falls

Weekend in Ely

Mel and I spent the weekend in Ely again.  Fun times up there!  Our baby nephew was around, so that was fun. I was gonna post a super-cute picture, but it’s prob a little weird for me to be posting pictures of other peoples babies.

We did some swimming and biking, and (since the in-laws have satellite TV) I enjoyed watching several episodes of Dog the Bounty Hunter.  It’s been several years since I’ve seen an episode of that show.  I’ll tell you what: HD picture quality doesn’t do Dog or his wife any favors.  They were both looking a little rough around the edges, in my opinion.

We hiked back up to Ennis Lake again, which is always a treat!  The whole weekend was pretty much perfect, except for when Mel got mad halfway through our hike.  She’s a pretty intense hiker, and when the rest of us stopped to take some photos, she kind of snapped:


Yes, dear.

Mom Comes to Town

Mom came to visit this last week.  We did all sorts of exciting things.  It was a great weekend.  We only had the “When are you guys going to start having kids?” conversation about 3 times.  I told her “As soon as you move to MN and agree to provide free daycare 50 hours/week.”  That got her to change the conversation pretty quick.

We went for a walk near Minnehaha Falls and got this great photo right at the Minnehaha Creek and  Mississippi River confluence.  What do you guys think?  Do I look like my mom?

Next, we headed up north to the Boundary Waters.  My mom LOVES taking pictures, and she’s totally into just snapping random shots without telling anyone she’s about to take their photo.  This is one of the few shots where we actually knew she was taking our photo.  That’s a great looking sunset, huh?

Then we saw a double rainbow all across the sky, and I tried to make a joke that referenced the smash hit internet meme, but it fell flat and just made me look stupid.  BTW – You guys should check out the screamo version!

“Y’all don’t spend enough time on the innertubes,” I said.
They all stared at me and said in unison, “You need to get out more.”

“Guys!  Hello?  WORLD WIDE WEB???” I whimpered in vain.

We went canoeing the next day, which was a total hoot:

Then we checked out the Soudan Mine. I’m a little skeptical about how Mel is wearing her hard hat.  Also, WE’RE MATCHY MATCHY (as my friend Katie would say).  Tha’ts cute, huh?

We also checked out the North American Bear Center, and watched some bears eat grapes.

QUERY:  How come a 300 lb. bear can eat 5 grapes for lunch and feel good about it?  I’m gonna go on the bear food diet.

Alright, put this on your list of things to see in Minnesota – Pillow Rocks:

The best part about Pillow Rocks is that they’re literally right in the middle of one of the streets in Ely.  Like they were building the road and one guy said, “Hey, do we really have to move all these rocks out of the way?”  And the next guy says, “Hell no, let’s just go around them!  We’ll put a sign next to them and then we don’t have to move them.”

OK, well I hope you enjoyed reading about me and my Mom hanging out.  It was tons of fun having her in town!

4th of July Ely Parade 2010

So it’s about time I got around to telling y’all about my 4th of July weekend, right? As always, Mel and I headed up North to Ely to see the in-laws.  Here’s one of the fantastic sunsets we saw while we were there:

On Saturday, we decided to go for a little hike on the Bass Lake Trail.  Mel told us it was about 1/4th mile, which sounded just about right seeing as how Mel’s foot is broken and she has to wear this funny plastic boot all the time. (did I tell y’all that Mel broke her foot?  Well she DID).  Turns out, though Dry Falls was a little further than 1/4 mile.  It was probably closer to 3/4 miles, which is a long way to go without bending your ankle (or so my wife tells me…).

But the view was worth it:

Dry falls is awesome, and there were peeps all over the place:

(Dry Falls Trivia: 1. Dry Falls isn’t actually dry.  Both times I’ve been there there’s been water flowing.  2. The banner photo at the top of the SingleSpeed blog was taken at Dry Falls a few years ago).

On Sunday, we went to the Ely 4th of July Parade, which is always a total treat!!!!  Here’s some of my favorite shots:

Ely High School marching band:

WHOA!!!  It’s Miss Babbitt Leah Bissonette!!!!

Ely dancers are a mainstay of the parade:

The ZUP’s guy handing out Butterfingers and pepper (yes, you read that correctly, pepper – you don’t ask questions in Ely):

As always, the Lawn Chair Dancers were a crowd pleaser:

Also, the clown band is one of my favorites:

Back at the in-laws place on Moose Lake, I decided to take a dip in the lake.  I know it looks like I’m about to belly flop here, but I’m really not:

OK fine.  I flopped.

Fishing Weekend

I had another great weekend up at the in-laws!  Here’s a view of the docks at Williams & Hall Outfitters:

And the beautiful Moose Lake:

Visiting the in-laws is awesome for a lot of reasons, not the least of these reasons is that the W&H cook makes a lot of our meals for us.  She makes some mean biscuits & gravy!

The in-laws generously gave me the second half of my birthday present, a fishing pole to match my new reel!  I was quite a fisherman growing up and in college, but I haven’t been fishing in a few years.  The last time I went was a complete disaster.  I’ll spare you the details, but let’s just say my old fishing pole is Resting-in-Peace at the bottom of Ensign Lake after I threw it from the canoe in a fit of rage several years ago.

So we spent a morning fishing on Skull Lake in the Boundary Waters.

This next picture is kind of dumb, but I think it’s hilarious because it looks like Mel’s brother doesn’t have a head.

Decapitation, lol.

Here’s our spoils:

I didn’t catch either of them.  Mel and her brother did.

We also went hiking on the Secret – Blackstone – Ennis Lake Trail:

Adventure: Snowbank Trail

My wife and I spent the 4th of July weekend up in Ely, MN with her parents. Our friends b+k came along, so the four of us decided to go hiking. We set off on the Snowbank Trail, not really knowing what to expect. We had asked around to see what people knew about it, but nobody really had much info – including Mel’s parents, whose outfitting business keeps them pretty up-to-date on things like this. The trail was a little spotty – obviously not very well used… Here’s what the trail looked like most of the way – passable but narrow:
The trail wraps around Snowbank Lake and meets up with the Kekekabic Trail somewhere along the way, but we didn’t make it that far. Here’s Snowbank Lake:
Some more shots of the group:

Then we stopped for lunch, which included some jerky:
Then we took a minute to dangle our toes in the lake:
And I fell asleep on a rock using my shoe as a pillow:

Total, we probably only hiked about 4 miles because the trail was pretty slow-going, but we had a lot of fun doing it.