Welcome to the BWCAW blog of Ely Outfitting Company and Boundary Waters Guide Service!

See our websites at ElyOutfittingCompany.com and BoundaryWatersGuideService.com.

We are a Boundary Waters canoe trip outfitter, Quetico outfitter, and guide service in Ely, Minnesota. This Boundary Waters blog shares photos, stories, humor, skills, and naturalist insights from guiding in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW).

Most entries are from our founder and head guide, Jason Zabokrtsky. He is the Boundary Waters Blogger.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Young Fern Fronds Unfurling in the BWCAW

Summer is on its way! The leaves are exploding out everywhere, and closer to the ground, the ferns are coming out in their own way. The tightly-curled immature fern fronds are called fiddleheads. As a fiddle player myself, I can verify that they do indeed resemble the top of my instrument. It only takes a few days for the young ferns to unfurl, so it is a fun discovery to spy these young plants before they have their big flat leaves of the summer. We found these on a day trip this week into the BWCAW, on the Isabella River.

Bracken ferns are an abundant plant in the BWCAW. Some people say that bracken ferns are good mosquito repellent. Just take one full-sized leaf and set atop your head or stick in your hat, and see what you think.

Entry and photos by Wilderness Guide Kate Ford

Saturday, May 1, 2010

A Canoe Trailer That Will Last

We picked up a new canoe trailer today at Remackel Welding in Forest Lake, MN.

Around Ely, canoe trailers bounce down some pretty rugged roads. Names like “Echo Trail” and “Tomahawk Trail” reflect the rustic nature of the routes here. These roads and harsh northern elements put canoe trailers to the test.

Meet one of the most durable canoe trailers available. This photo shows our six-place canoe trailer with box by Remackel Welding. As we talked with other outfitters about canoe trailers that last the longest under heavy use, we repeatedly heard about the custom trailers by Dennis Remackel. He’s been making them by hand for several decades.

Dennis gives people several options to customize their trailers. Rust is the nemesis of a trailer, so we chose to have the trailer hot-dip galvanized. Once welded together, the trailer is dipped in molten zinc resulting in a trailer that won’t rust and never needs painted. The cool-factor is pretty high, and the practical durability factor is even higher.

We chose a few other options also. We ordered an extended tongue to allow room for a couple canoes on the roof of the towing vehicle. That allows us to transport eight canoes - two complete BWCA canoe trips. Also, the canoe racks are removable so the "canoe trailer" converts to a simple utility trailer. We also like the added steps on the back of the trailer, wheel wells strong enough to stand on, and a plywood step on the tongue. The plywood is all marine grade.

If you take lots of canoe trips and want to tow your own canoes, then you may want to consider one of Remackel's four-place canoe trailers with a large box and optional box cover. See photos on the Remackel website.

Shown in front of the new trailer are Dennis Remackel and Kate Ford.