There is no question in your mind when you drive into Ely, Minnesota during the summer months you are in canoe country. Canoes are everywhere! On cars, next to buildings, outfitter after outfitter line Main Street. There's an energy bubbling over with excitement of folks beginning or ending canoe adventures that seeps into you.
I was driving down the Echo Trail, a long, long road North out of town where I was going to
visit some popular portage sites to photograph and I had WELY tuned in on the radio. The DJ was using a slogan that had me smiling each time I heard it; "In Ely, where every car has a canoe on top, every woman has a dog, and every man has a past." Too dang funny! Even the slogan for WELY is great: END OF THE ROAD RADIO. Fabulous!
I had stopped into PIRAGIS NORTHWOODS COMPANY store to purchase a few items and as always, am impressed with the quality of their wares. Their buyers sure know what they are doing there. A fine retail store and bookstore to browse and wet the northwoods appetite. Next door, the Chocolate Moose has incredible fresh pie. A real weakness of mine.
I had shot aerials over the Ely area this week, something I try to do on most stories, and I was surprised at the size of some of the bogs. As the prairie rolls eastward and meets the bedrock of the north and east the lowlands mix with the highlands. Its makes for lots of small rivers and boggy areas. Wildlife is abundant in these areas and one can see why this region is home to many of the State's wolf population. An amazing wilderness region rich with green and peat. I spotted the Little Indian Souix River from the airplane and snapped off a few frames. A beautiful meandering river filled with wild rice. One or two of the aerials will no doubt make the cut for the book.
Next, off to Quetico for addt'l coverage on the BWCA's neighbor to the North. There were already hints of Fall in some of the deciduous trees this week and a slight bite in the air at sunrise indicates that these times they are a'changin.