Come and see our Spring bloom!
Kawishiwi Trail | Ely, MN 55731 |
N 47° 53.475"
W 091° 42.389"
See what we see out our windows.
Watch the lake...
Watch the weather...
Watch the birds...
in real time.
Water Canoe Area Wilderness was named by
National Geographic Magazine as one of the 50 "must visit" destinations
in the world.
The BWCAW is a federally protected pristine wilderness of
acres, with over 1,200
miles of canoe routes.
Are We Green?
and Kayaks are free to use with your stay.
- We gladly
Accommodate Special Diets: Low Fat, Diabetic, Allergies,
Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten & Lactose Free.
- Because of the higher cost of many special foods we will be charging $2/ meal for special preparations.
- Handicapped Accessible
your computer? We have free
wireless internet throughout the building.
- This is a pet-friendly facility.
- From our property via lake or trail you have direct access to the BWCAW
Visit the Best
Chamber in the State!
View BH in other seasons:
|May 19 - Wonderful rain! All that snow we had last month
just disappeared and left us dry again, so two days of rain are
welcome. First daffodil hiding alongside the septic tanks! first crocus by
the parking lot. We have a HUGE beaver visiting regularly. It is
probably 5 ft long and 5 to 6 inches across the head; this fellow
really leaves a wake! Sam dog has brilliantly decided not to tangle
with it and I have wrapped screen all around the trees I don't want
the beavers to take down. And they don't take them down. Co existence.
ice went out Sat. and Sunday the 11th & 12th - lots of wind piled
it all up on our shore, then the wind reversed and it broke up in the
May 11, 2013 - fishing opener with very little open water. At 9:30
this morning there were no boats in the only available open
water by the Silver Rapids bridge. Instead the 'fisherman' were
clustered around a campfire on shore. First gold finch and a guest
got a good photo.
May 10, 2013 - Ice leaving fast!!! today there is about 6 ft of
water along the shores, yesterday was only 3 and the ducks crowded
in. Hear our first loon last evening. Birds are brilliant. Sun
shining so wonderfully, air is not warm, but still sun is so
welcome. Grass on the septic showing bits of green, the deer visit
and dance on it every night, Sam-dog doing his best to tell them -
from afar - that this is not their territory. Grouse flutter across
the driveway, some drumming in the distance. The cove if fully
open. I have learned that it is the last remaining stand of wild
rice on Farm Lake and have given naturalist staff permission to use
it for an experiment that will measure the effect of rusty crayfish
on the wildrice. It is widely believed that these are the critters
responsible for the rice's demise. They will divide the stand in two
and construct crayfish-free area on half of it. Guests will look
on active science all summer.
May 5, 2013 -Blue Heron, White Throated Sparrows, Juncos, Purple
Finches all firsts this week. But the ice here is tight and solid
even around the edges. The April snow has melted off the top, the
mush has either drained off or evaporated.... just ice. It will be
a hard water fishing opener.
April 24, 2013 - The birds did not get the memo about delaying
spring for the north-county. I've now heard both robins and redwing
blackbirds and seen juncos! It is reaching toward 45' this
afternoon and sunny, but there is slush predicted for this evening.
Yes! slush - not snow - 4 inches predicted. Never heard that
before. I'm told this month holds the all time record for snow fall
in Minnesota - and 7 days to go.
April 19, 2013 - Last
year the lake was fully open On March 25!! so different this year.
Snow, snow and more snow!!! and still more predicted.
As much as I know we need the moisture I sure would welcome a bit
of green. The deer too evidently: they are seen now in
groups of 4 to 10 hanging around the roadsides every
afternoon/evening. Oh and Sam-dog: This morning I opened
the door to let him out, we were met by a snow drift about 4 ft
tall. Sam's look said "you've got to be kidding" he turned, came
back into the house and climbed back into bed. Glad he has a
great bladder! Later I was ready to tackle the drifts and Sam
came along. Initially he plowed in front of me as I shoveled a
12" wide path, after a bit he stood rather irresolutely surveying the
tall drifts in front of him, turned and came back to follow behind
me. That's a smart dog. I'm including here the wildlife
sightings from the Wed. morning Naturalists hike near Winton,
observations written up by Bill Tefft.:
April 9, 2013 - We are between snow storms: 4 inches on Friday, 3
more on Sunday and 3 more expected tomorrow! But the world is all
wrapped in beautiful white! And in the midst of all that winter is
spring! At every bit of open water you see Golden eye's, Canada
geese, hooded mergansers, mallards. Immature bald eagles (e.g.
newly arrived, only adults winter over) have been spotted, and the
eagles have been sitting on eggs for several weeks, blue herons
spotted in the area rookeries and in shallow streams. Calls from
crows and ravens, gulls heard but not seen yet. A friend reported
seeing wooly bear caterpillars on the road before the snow storms -
it wasn't likely that they would have survived. Another friend saw
moths in her headlights, followed by snow. Yesterday morning there
were BIG wolf tracks down the middle of the driveway. The Ely area
has been seeing a whole lot of big owls who came down from further
north because of lack of food there. We here at Blue Heron haven't
been seeing them - probably because the wolves, fox and coyotes eat
the same mice and voles. Meanwhile we were all having a wonderful
time with Ely's annual Aprils Fools stunt. If you hear or saw it,
let us know. The word travels farther each year.
- An otter just upstream from the second (east culvert)
- A mink and then later two otter just upstream
for the first (west culvert)
- 2 adult bald eagles sitting in a tree above the river
- 2 trumpeter swans flying side by side and making
several passes over Hwy 169 before passing over our heads and
trumpeting and then setting down out of sight on the river
between the the two culverts.
- ducks including several common mergansers, hooded
mergansers, and common goldeneyes.
- many Canada geese
- the first red-winged blackbirds that I have seen and
heard this spring, but still very few
- red crossbills were heard calling just about everywhere
in town and a number of them and evening grosbeaks were
at feeders at Packsack Cabins and Outfitting along the Winton
- 8 turkey vultures roosting between Winton Point Road
and Shagawa River.
- 1 ruffed grouse sitting on the ground under the same
spruce tree as we went past at 3 different times. No drumming
- American crows chasing a red-tailed hawk
- tracks along the Winton Point Road in the mud that I think
from the size - 2 3/4 inch long by 2 1/4 inch wide are probably
March 23, 2013 - This morning we woke to a fairy land, every twig is
painted with frost, looks like delicate lace on all the trees. The
chickadees are singing their spring song, we've passes the equinox, the
red foxes are mating, the crows have returned ... and we still have
several feet of snow, night temperatures double digit below zero and day
temps that barely make it up freezing. It's my fault! I foolishly put
away my heavy down coat. For several years now the ice has gone out by
mid to late April....doubt it this year. Even White Wilderness, our
favorite dogsledder, is continuing sled trips - and at 50% off (!) as
long as there is snow. Every morning we find fox tracks - easily
identifiable because they walk in a straight line..it is like a zipper
line in the snow. Even a coyote for a few days; didn't see it, but
Sam-dog was howling and there were tracks bigger than fox, smaller than
Sam and definitely smaller than wolf. The deer are having a hard time
getting around in the woods because the snow is so deep, we are seeing
them more often by the roadside. The geraniums I brought in last fall
are blooming!!! Bright cheery red in the midst of the dining room. I'm
starting to spend time with gardening catalogues - heaven knows I'm not
a gardner, but it is a great lift. Definitely cabin fever time.
Feb. 27, 2013 - Our daily walks with Sam-dog are getting longer as
it is practically balmy! (mid 30's during the days) The last two
days we were hearing the unmistakable calls of Pileated Woodpeckers
nearby. Also unmistakable is their 'thunk' as they excavate into a
tree; sounds like we may once again have two new nests right
nearby. With three warmer days the snow is retreating and, much to
Sam's delight, there is revealed the detritus of the past months.
Today he was rolling furiously in what turned out to be wolf scat.
Ordinarily after a single sniff he ignores wolf scat, but this
particular one was irresistible. We also saw tracks of a bunny -
the first of the winter. The full moon on Monday was awesome! The
stars were really bright plus the huge moon so that there were
Feb. 12, 2013 - Snow snow incredible, lovely bountiful snow!
8 inches out here compared to 6" in town. While shoveling for hours is not way up there on my list of
pleasures - it is beautiful!! and this afternoon the sun came out.
There simply are no words to describe the beauty. Alas, clear skies
means the temps will drop.
Feb. 8, 2013 - All day there has been a light lazy snow - big
flakes just drifting down, utterly no wind at all, very mild temps.
Sam-dog is continually telling me there are wolves nearby. We saw
lots of deer tracks on our walk today. They didn't move very much
during the deep cold, - just like me! The snow depth has finally
reached the point where we need snowshoes on the lake; are my leg
muscles in shape? It is incredibly lovely; I know I say it and say
it but it is!
Jan 28, 2013 - The deep cold has finally passed. But the skies were so gorgeous
while the temps were low: nights had glorious stars, and an awesome
full moon, days were clear with sunshine and fascinating cloud
displays way high up. This morning dawned completely overcast - we
could be living in a cloud of cotton - and near zero. I sent off
our dog-sledders with warning of not getting overheated! I have had
an extremely fast recovery from retinal surgery early in Jan. and
am driving again! My vision is still flawed by a big 'smudge' in
the middle of the left eye but that in time may also heal. Bill had
to take his turn at instigating crisis with the alarm on his
pacemaker going off....turned out to be a malfunction of the
pacemaker but gave medical personnel a chance to practice their
emergency techniques and took us out for two days. Sam-dog had a
wonderful run out on the lake yesterday. He wore his booties for
the first time this year; after protest ("Don't do this to me!") he
forgot all about it in the glory of free running. Fish houses
speckle Farm lake, but no sign of fishermen trying South Farm. That
fun starts in March on the rock ridges that underlie the lake.
Winter Festival starts this weekend - Tell the world: we have
snow! wonderful snow! White fluffy snow!
Jan. 21, 2013 - Have been having multiple 'long-john' days. Night
temps going down into low minus 30's, day temps barely up into
20's. Still that is a 50 degree difference! Burning through lots
of wood, feeding birds (and guests) frequently and enjoying watching
it all through the window! I never thought I'd reach the stage
where I'd rather watch than get right out into the weather! We've
had dog-sledders and skiers who were all doing the 'hearty' thing
and loving it. The snow is wonderful and so, so white.
Blue Heron got a wonderful review on the website heavytable.com (including appreciation
and photo of Sam-dog; showing what discerning folks the food critics
were). Also I learned that for the third year in a row we will be
listed as one of the 'Best Places to Visit' by MidWest Living. This
time we are included in the text of an article as well as a quote
Jan.1, 2013 - Happy New Year to all! Last night, it was incredibly gorgeous, the
moon was still full, huge and yellow and the stars like diamonds on
black velvet. We startled a curious wolf who was checking out our
parking lot when we arrived home from a gathering of friends. The
temperatures were dropping and the lake making ice groaned and cracked!
the wolves howled... what a wonderful place to be. BUT this
morning it was -20', lovely sunshine but it barely warmed up, and
it still is a wonderful place to be. May you all have many happy
days in 2013!
Dec. 29, 2012 - We've had two days of almost continual snow; lovely fluffy stuff lazily
drifting down. It is breathtakingly beautiful. During lunch
a trio of deer were slowly crossing the lake in front of our
window. There were huge wolf prints in the snow a few hours after
this all started but none since. We love to fit together the
clues to the animal tracks we see on our walks: rabbits who never go
out beyond the shadow of the overhanging brush, otters who have
tried out their favorite places to slide, squirrels who busily leave
trails going hither and thither, foxes who know instinctively
that a straight line is the shortest distance - and always stick
to it, and the tiny zipper like trials of mice and moles.
moon has been incredibly bright as it grew closer to full, there were
shadows at midnight! But alas now that it is full the snow clouds
dull its shine. The wolves were still howling; still gives me the
Dec. 21 - Incredible sunshine!!! temperatures hovering just above zero.
Birds mobbing the feeders. Wonderful snow, trees are all lightly
dusted, it looks like a senic post card. Tomorrow is the day I
get out the Christmas decorations and make us festive. Also
baking cookies. There have been no raccoon tracks, so maybe the
'coon went elsewhere.
Dec. 14 - We are back! The train got into the Twin Cities just in time for
the horrendous, record-breaking snow storm. After about 15
minutes on the freeway - including an interminable out-of-control
spin/slide that only ended with a crunch against the between-lanes
barrier - we found a handy motel and holed up for the day and
night to enjoy a hot tub and kind bed. Driving was still so bad
the next day it took us 4 hours to make a two hour destination in
Duluth. All's well back here, and are we ever glad to be back
home. This week we had a guest report seeing a red fox exploring
the front yard via our web cam. Wonderful, I haven't seem them in
several years. And a huge raccoon apparently took up residence;
Sam-dog took him/her on in a mighty fracas on Wednesday evening.
The raccoon came off second best thanks to Sam's very thick coat.
Much as I appreciate wild life here I do hope that this critter
has decided to move on to new territory. I'm getting caught up
with the heap of paperwork and looking forward to our first winter
Nov. 24 - Lovely blue skies today
- well, most of the day. It is SO incredibly lovely!
We are so lucky to live here! Temps got up to about 20' by
noon today and then started dropping again. Wind has stopped.
The lake froze over in weird and wonderful patterns. We
dearly hope it won't snow more right away as a layer of snow on the
first ice guarantees it does not freeze well and we contend with slush
layers all winter. Got out to town where it seems a different
world. Bill & I are preparing for our holiday away...to the
Pacific NorthWest where they have had horrendous rain and snow and wind
storms. If that keeps up not sure wel'll be able to do the hiking
we'd planned in the Olympic Penninsula. Blue Heron will be
'manned' by Doug and Suzann Bartley as they wait here for solid ice so
they can return home across the lake.
Nov. 23 - Snow started late yesterday aft.... there was as much as 10 inches this
morning. Wet and heavy; the ground is not frozen yet so we
can't plow - Bill used his big Ford to go up and down the driveway so
we at least have tracks in case of emergency. Too much snow for
our little snowblower. He & I shoveled narrow paths to the
wood shed, bird feeders and cars...just the essentials today.
The lake is not yet frozen and it is windy!!! so the freeze will be
leave an uneven surface. The wind is still blowing strong and it
has started to snow again.
Nov. 13 - Almost
time to change to the winter photo of BH. Highs are in the low
40's at best. Snow overnight and not melting. The water
level is up to normal. Usually the power company lowers the water
level before freeze up so that we don't have floods come spring melt.
- Odd thing going on with the lake water...appears to be clear
current going west to east - the flow is ordinarily the other way.
Little ripples on the surface as if a river. And the level
is going up. The only explanation I can think of is that they are
letting more water thru the dam - must be lots more to creat a current
like this. It has been terribly low, and levels have come up at
least 6 inches. I need to look into this. Pine Grossbeaks
have appeared at the feeders - they don't usually show until it is far
colder..is this a forecast? It was sunny this morning, nice to
see after the past week of dull, dull and duller. But now clouded
- This is the third day with morning lake ice lasting into the
afternoon, water temps have dropped to 40'. Snowbuntings gone, replaced
by orange hunters. We sort of hunker down here; using 'our'
trails instead of going out along the road. Not a lot of gunshots
so far but that's unusual. Sam-dog astonished me when he knew
just what to do when I held out his orange vest! He was tracking
some beavers - I think, based on the evidence they left behind.
They've been busy the last two evenings, two more pointed stumps
along the sun-rise trail. We are beginning the annual cleaning --
head to foot here in the lodge, room by room. Wish my house were
Oct. 28 - Snow!
staying on the ground, temps hovering right at freezing. Snow
Buntings - skads of them - along the roads, skittering, swirling,
surging in flocks of 30 or more. We didn't get the outdoor
furniture in in time - hate to put it away wet, but not much choice
now. While I think/hope it will warm up again ( e.g. go up to the
40's) I am watching the lake for signs of freezing; hoping that it will
not happen for several weeks. The last guests of the season leave
tomorrow. Over the last 3 days Bill & I drove down to
LaCrosse for my annual check-in/testing with the allergist. I've
had SO much improvement I do not need the 3 x day antihistamines I've
been on for almost 5 years. Along the way we obseve the
gradually changing trees as we head south for 7 hours. Up north
even the tamarack have lost their needels - that is early. Bill
and I are getting geared up for a trip to the Olympic Penninsula and
the Columbia River Gorge...got to be sure our hiking boots are
waterproofed! Temps there next month should be about what they
are here this month.
- Blessed rain! so badly needed. There have been
numerous small fires this month but the Forest Service jumps on them
right away - new policy. I am awaare of the long term
consequences of building up of fuels - burt right now this seems the
best course. All the leaves are gone, two days of wind earlier in
the week completed any stripping. The tamaracks quickly moved for
yello/green to yellow to bronze and now rust; they too will start
dropping. We have been enjoying the fruits of Sall's
gardening efforts recently; bags and bags of tomatoes waiting to ripen.
We got in the last lake water testing on one of the most gorgeous
days last days. Interesting to see how some of the measurements
we take remain the same all through the season and other change
radically. There have been so many deer along the roads every
evening... speeds over 30 mph are dangerous.
- Yesterday it was windy and the noise of a million trees with dry
leaves was like being alongside a locomotive while it rained leaves!
Today calm, lake is mirror-still. Northern Lights the last two
nights. As the leaves come down the bedrock is beginning to
emerge, something I consider just as beautiful as all the trees.
Our world is an intense gold-yellow now, much of the red is gone.
Sam-dog was into the Vet clinic for his annual - Chip looked up
his dates and I was astonished to learn that I've had him for 10
years!!!! I lost some years along the way. Oh well we both
look/act younger than we are: He is healthy and vigorous.
Sept. 30 - The colors have been SO incredible this week. Peak Peak Peak.
This whole week! plan ahead for next year same time, last
week of Sept. Campfires every night this week, full moon as well!
What a treat! I was out on
the chain of lakes on Friday doing the last watersampling for the year;
could hardly pay attention to the data the colors surrounding us were
so intense, water so calm we did not need an anchor. Today
the first day with any wind the leaves are falling steadily. All
the very bright reds were gone by mid-week, now all the rest. The
water is 12 to 15 inches lower than optimal, hard on bigger boats but
no problem in my canoes/kayaks. First Junco's, Redpolls, lots of Blue Jay activity at the feeders. Just
the juvenile loons left now. Lots of eagle activity. We've
been covering the garden and flowers every night; frosts were regular.
Have harvested all the basil, tomatoes, greenbeans and letuce
now. The freezer now holds a year's worth of pesto. Will now make
green tomato jam. Red peppers are really low in price and I may also make up red pepper jelly....do love that.
Sept. 24 - The colors are so intense - wind for several days, of the white cap
vairety, has limited canoe outings. Great days for hiking.
Sighting numerous hawks as they begin their fall migration.
This morning for the first time in weeks there were NO Grackles
at the feeders! I guess they have all headed south. Instead
white throated sparrows, lots of chicadees, and nuthatches. Odd that there are no Grosbeaks.
|Blog continued on year in review.
|LOOK FOR THE FULL MOON
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Heron Bed and Breakfast is a great
place for lodging in Ely, MN. We are an alternate for a
lodge, motel, hotel or inn and a great romantic get away. You
will get a good night's
while enjoying canoeing, dining, birding, or taking out the sled dogs
winter; we are open all year round; reserve a room now to enjoy
this wilderness B and B.
a Review on Your Stay!
N 47° 53.475"
W 091° 42.389"