We’re back in full swing here at Tuscarora. It feels great to have the time fly by again as we are back to welcoming staff and guests, stocking the store, preparing equipment, shuttling folks across Saganaga. It has been a rainy cool week, and our energies are focused less on survival and more on summer.

People have been asking how things have changed. For some folks–everything has changed. For Tuscarora, not so much.
The kids were surprised to find a little white school house right next to the Gunflint Trail–revealed near Iron Lake where the fire burned near the road. They’ve driven by it every day and never seen it.
We’re surprised by the conveneince that temporary cell towers have brought to us at Tuscarora–and those traveling in the woods close to us. We’re sensitive to the issues that changes in accessible technology bring to all of the stake holders here in this place—currently for necessary safety reasons for the buisinesses and private residences at the end of the Gunflint Trail. After the land lines are restored, cell phones could still provide convenience, safety, illusions of safety, noise pollution, solitude, wilderness experiences.

I went for my regular run this morning— first time back to flat scenic Warren’s Road–near the kids’ bus stop. We don’t see much human traffic, but Denali and I have seen lots of moose, a bear, and much wolf scat on that road (and have heard rumor of a mountain lion, but we doubt that). We love it there, and I was worried about the cabins on that route–it runs to the end of the narrows between Gunflint Lake and Magnetic Lake. Especially I worried about about some folks that are selling their cabin (would it become a fire sale?). I’m fond of these anonymous people because their crib dock is right at the half-way point in my run, and Denali and I respectfully borrow a corner of their dock to witness the changes and moods of the seasons on Gunflint Lake, and we ponder the universes. I consider it to be one of my alltime most peaceful places in this world.
The north side of the road was burned for the 1st mile of my run, the south side was still green. Nothing appears to have burned at the end of the road by the cabins. Instead of being dissappointed, I was simply curious at the way my daily routine has also changed.

I got to thinking about change, and about my urge to keep everything the same. I’ve always wanted to stall my kids as they’ve been growing up, I want my favorite campsites to stay the same, I want to repeat experiences. Is this a bad thing? I hate it when summer ends, I don’t want to say goodbye to staff and guests, I don’t want anyone or anything to die.
I suppose it is a natural phenomenon to want to preserve things, and certainly I’m glad that the BWCA has been so faithfully preserved. But there is a time when that urge to keep things the same becomes a way to stall things, when I think I’m overdoing it. Seagull Lake has been hit by fire for 3 years in a row. It’s definitely different. But when I visit, it still has the Seagull Lake magic. This is why the BWCA isn’t going to lose its charm. This is why I don’t have to worry about my unknown friend’s cabin selling. Still, it’s magic.

We had a guest call and request a trip with no burned area in it. Of course we’re glad to accomodate him with his vacation wishes, but I also thought to myself “well you’re missing out—you should see it, and feel the refreshing newness of it.”

I’m grateful to witness this circle of life first hand. .

2 Responses

  1. jeanno says:

    I read your column with angst and enjoyment as you tell us about the fire around you. You do a wonderful job describing the feelings. Please continue sharing all that you see with pictures and your thoughts. I hope business booms this summer for you. love, jeanneO

  2. Nanna Bonny says:

    I also appreciated reading your accounts of the Ham Lake Fire. I am happy that things are finally getting back to a somewhat normal schedule for everyone in the BWCA. I hope that God will bless the rest of your summer with only good and happy events.