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West End News: August 14

April Knight celebrates her arrival at York Factory on Hudson Bay
April Knight celebrates her arrival at York Factory on Hudson Bay

WEN_20140814.mp33.73 MB

On Tuesday, August 11th, April Knight walked into the Sawbill store.  April had paddled away from the Sawbill Lake canoe landing on May 17th and made her way to York Factory on Hudson Bay. 
April was fit, tanned and happy to be back in the West End after her epic solo canoe adventure.
She reported that her two favorite parts of the trip were the BWCA Wilderness at the beginning of her trip and the Hayes River at the end.  She enjoyed the solitude and beauty of the formally protected BWCA Wilderness and the same attributes on the remote and unpopulated Hayes River.
Her least favorite part of the trip was the large bear that appeared, as if by magic, uncomfortably close to her in camp.
Judging from her attitude, I have the feeling that more long distance wilderness trips are in April’s future.
Wayside rests are popping up all over the West End.  The beautiful Tettegouche Interpretive Center is now fully open in Little Marais after more than two years of construction.  It’s as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside and will host a variety of programming related to the stunning Tettegouche State Park.
The Ray Berglund State Wayside is now open at the Onion River in Tofte.  Although it’s tiny compared to the Tettegouche complex, it has its own beauty and will be much appreciated by travelers, hikers, bikers and trout fisherpersons alike.
Last, but not least, ground has been broken on a new wayside rest and Gitchi-Gami trailhead in Beaver Bay.  This wayside will have natural and human history interpretive displays, restroom facilities and parking.  It is expected to open mid-summer next year.
The opening of the new wayside rest areas is especially welcome this summer, when the travel time from Cook County to Two Harbors has been significantly increased by the various highway construction projects.
For the next three weeks or so, north shore travelers will be detoured up through Finland via Highway 1 and Lake County 6.  The good news is that both those roads have wide, smooth pavement and the scenery is outstanding.
I have just two words for this week’s blueberry report: pick now!  This is the best blueberry crop in the last 20 years.  We are right in the peak of the season now, so don’t miss this golden opportunity to sock away some sweet taste of summer for the upcoming winter.
Congratulations to Bruce Martinson and Ginny Storlie for their success in the recent primary election for West End County Commissioner.  Many thanks to Stan Tull and Tim Goettl for offering to serve their community.
I was pleased that the campaign was civil, subtantial and focused on the issues.  This is how democracy should work everwhere.  Knowing Ginny and Bruce as I do, I expect the civility will continue through the general election in November.
At the risk of stating the obvious, Holy Cow has it been busy for the last few weeks!  This is always the high season, but it seems even a little busier than usual.  My theory is that there is pent-up demand for North Shore goodness after the tough winter, spring and early summer weather.  Blue skies and blueberries aren’t hurting things either.  This should be the last week of craziness until the fall color season starts, so hang in there and enjoy the rest of this beautiful West End summer.