Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ely, MN

Although we did lots of things, I only got pictures of a few. Again, at Ely, we had trouble finding parking for 20+ RVs, so the Chamber of Commerce worked to help us find parking. The town eventually came up with their old maintenance site for parking. We were within walking distance of town, hiking trails and the lake. While in town we attended "Tuesday nite live". A live band playing in front of the coffee shop. The street is closed down and the towns people bring their lawn chairs to sit and listen. There was also the farmers market, Dorothy Moulter-The root beer lady museum, the Wolf Interpretive Center and 2 kayak trips. One kayak trip was in the "boundary waters". These are the thousands of little lakes and islands which separate Canada from the U.S. Most of this area is only accessible via boats and hiking. Our other kayak trip was to a local lake where we paddled upstream through a small river into another lake. The area was beautiful, but we did not see any wild moose, bear or wolves. Here are a few pictures of other things I did.

This old building was built around 1900. It was originally a hospital, but was sold and turned into apartments by the 1920s. It has been apartments until recently. Now the sign says it will become condominiums. I just thought it was a neat looking building.

We visited Bear Discovery Center. This is not a zoo, just like the Wolf Interpretive Center is not a zoo. Both places only have a few acres and only a few animals. They study the animals and their habits. But these animals are handled from a young age by the staff and are used to them. But they are also not pets and I could not go out there without being in danger. Both places were very informative and I'm no longer quite as fearful of meeting a bear in the wild as I have been in the past.

But this is still the only kind of bear I want to get near.

On our kayak trip to the boundary waters we found these pictographs which were supposed to have been etched several hundred years ago by the native americans in the area. We all thought the moose looked way too much like it was stenciled.

This was the day we had to portage (a fancy word for carry) our kayaks for 1/4 mile over rocky, uneven terrain, just to get to the water. Back in the late 1700s and early 1800s, when the Voyageurs brought trade goods and bought furs to take back to the east coast, they had to portage 36 ft canoes with thousands of pounds of furs or trade goods, sometimes 3 miles or more. Even though there were 16 men to a canoe, each man still had to carry at least one 90 pound bale as well as help carry the canoe.

At the Dorothy Moulter museum, we learned about a woman who lived almost her entire life out on an island in the boundary waters. Even at age 60, she was still living with no electricity, no plumbing and having to bring everything she needed to live from Ely, which was miles and miles away. She had 5 portages, one which was over 1 mile, then 20+ miles of canoeing to get to town. And in the winter she was out there alone in weather which could be 50 degrees below zero. But she choose to stay out there until her death in 1986 at the age of 80. She was called the "root beer lady", since she provided homemade root beer to canoeists and fisherman who passed by her island.

I guess Minnesotans have a different definition of a town than I do. This sign was on a small county highway, with not a building in site. Where was this town of Silver Creek?

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