The thoughts of a writer.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Funny Things From Our Trip

Many things about our Gunflint Trail trip were rather strange. One was a sign I saw while driving. It said, "Stop here for gas, food, clean toilets!" Now I can understand stopping for gas and food, but why would I stop to clean toilets?

In another case, a sign said, "drinking water toilet." Personally, I would rather not get my drinking water from a toilet!

Finally, take a look at the "moose viewing platform," that was at the "moose viewing area." I would like to make it clear, that though we hiked out to this platform, there were not any moose on it! I think that this is false advertising! We saw our two moose on the way back from the moose viewing area.

Gunflint Trail: The Movies!


I sat in the canoe fishing, trying to get a movie of this dragonfly. This was the best shot.

Red Fox

This fox looked like it lived on handouts and was ready to jump in the car! This was at the end of the Gunflint Trail.

The Devil's Kettle

See how the Brule River splits and the left side goes down a hole in the rock.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010


We picked wild mulberries

and raspberries today!

Monday, June 28, 2010

GunflintTrail Trip

Mon. June 21st
We drove to Two Harbors for gas and lunch. We stopped once along Lake Superior at a rest stop. We bought minnows at Buck’s Hardware in Grand Marais. We drove to Clearwater Lodge 26 miles up the Gunflint trail (and 4 miles on 22) and checked into cabin 3. We picked up a canoe and brought it to our cabin and fished off the dock. My wife caught a small, smallmouth bass that we released. The fishing was pretty bad the entire trip.

Tues. June 22nd
At 7:00AM we went to the moose viewing area on the Gunflint Trail. There were no moose there on the “moose viewing platform,” but we saw two moose from the road near our cabin on the way back. We fished from the canoe until it rained and then from the dock. By the time we went hiking up (90 steps) Honeymoon Bluff, the sun was out and it got hot. The view was great. Then we took the canoe out fishing and then grilled chicken. A bear “attacked” our empty garbage can outside the cabin over night.

Wed. June 23rd
I retrieved the garbage can with bear tooth holes in it. We fished more and eventually canoed out to some cliffs. Then a sudden wind and rain storm made it pretty difficult for us to get back to our cabin. We were tired and napped. After dinner my wife fished and I played guitar. We both caught the same number of fish…

Thurs. June 24th
Up early, we packed up and left the cabin and continued up the Gunflint Trail. We saw two deer, and then a black bear crossed the road in front of my car! We saw a Red fox at the end of the Gunflint Trail, and fished (unsuccessfully) from the shore of Seagull Lake. We saw our fourth loon and I saw a Garter snake. We had lunch at the Trails End Café. On the way back, we hiked up Northern Lights Lake, Blueberry Hill trail. It was very steep! Then we drove to Grand Marais and moved into cabin 5 of Nelson’s Travelers Rest. We shopped in Grand Marais and had fish & chips at the Dockside fish & Seafood Market. It was really good! Then we enjoyed things that we hadn’t had for most of the week like cell phone service, Internet and TV.

Fri. June 25th
After a good breakfast we made in our cabin, we headed up the arrowhead on Hwy 61 to Judge C.R. Magney State Park. It was raining when we hiked the Superior Hiking Trail to Devil’s Kettle Falls—up 1,000 steps to a spectacular sight! Then we started for home. We stopped at Lutsen Resort for lunch and then ended up driving through all kinds of weather as we headed home. We had heavy rain and lightening at the end. We arrived home at 7:45 PM and drove 706.9 miles on the entire trip.

Cabin 3 at Clearwater Lodge

Canoe Country!

Cabin 3 at Clearwater Lodge

Two Moose

Honeymoon Bluff

Black Bear

Red Fox

Seagull Lake

Garter Snake at Seagull Lake

Trails End Café

Northern Light Lake Trail

Excellent fish & chips here!

Cabin 5, no view of the lake.

Devil's Kettle Falls

Muddy river water flows into Lake Superior during rain.

Gunflint Trail

Clearwater Lodge

Grand Marais

Two Harbors

Nelson's Travelers Rest

Lake Superior

Devil's Kettle Falls

Northern Light Lake Trail

Honeymoon Bluff


Friday, June 25, 2010

Devil's Kettle Falls

Today we go to Devil's Kettle Falls.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Back to Civilization!

We just got back from the Gunflint Trail. We stayed at Clearwater Lodge, in Cabin 3. There was no cell phone service or TV. Our only contact with the outside world was a (Thunder Bay) Canadian radio station called, The Giant. Currently, we are in Grand Marais, Minnesota. We are staying at Nelson's Travelers Rest. It is a nice cabin, but don't believe the part about the "view of" Lake Superior. It's back there somewhere, but I can't see it from our cabin...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Unwelcome Posts

To the Asian sex sites that try to post comments on my blog,

You are pathetic. Furthermore, I've learned about your kind, so I have to approve all posts before they go on my blog. Therefore, knock it off! I'm sick of rejecting your posts that appear legitimate, until they lead you to some nasty site.

Go somewhere else!


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Minnesota Lakes

We like our lakes in Minnesota. Here are a couple of recent pictures.

We saw this Green Heron at Lake Phalen.

The Canada Geese are growing up fast!

Did I mention that my wife doesn't like her picture on the WWW? Don't tell her! This Northern Pike she caught today, was 27.5 inches and weighed 4.5 pounds. I can't tell you what lake it came from. You might go there. There are enough people fishing there already!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Crazy A55 Weightloss System

I used to be self conscious about my weight. I only weighed 87 tons, but somehow I thought that was too much! Then I discovered Crazy A55 Weightloss System! On the Crazy A55 diet, with the Crazy A55 weightloss pills, I lost 400 million pounds in the first 12 seconds!

Are you tired of your excess fat? Then you could benefit from the Crazy A55 Weightloss System too! For only $4,700 you can have that body you've always wanted!

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Monday, June 14, 2010

To the Brits Upset with the USA

How dare you cry about the United States "picking on BP!"
British Petroleum has destroyed our southern coastline. Now, over two months later, oil is still pouring into the gulf, destroying the environment, killing wildlife and ruining the jobs and lives of our people. If you are more worried about your big-ass, oil corporation that rapes the environment and then the people who buy gasoline, then too bad! I've quit buying BP products and I don't care if the company goes bankrupt! There, now whine about that!

Lebanon Hills Regional Park

Yesterday we hiked at Lebanon Hills Regional Park. Here are a couple of photos.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

School's Out!

School's Out, says Alice Cooper!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Green Darner

This Green Darner was on the side of our house during the rain the other day.

Monday, June 07, 2010

When Did Everyone Give-Up on the Kid?

When did everyone give-up on the kid? He thinks that he can always get his way, because he becomes rude, abusive and doesn't give up. Eventually people let him have his way so that they can avoid the conflict. Therefore he always "wins". Someday, however, this will get him into trouble. He will lose badly. Should our educational institutions be required to teach this "life lesson?" What about the parents? Why shouldn't it be their responsibility? In more than one job, I have worked with "disadvantaged," or "at risk" people. I'm not allowed to discuss my work, or where I do this--as this would get me in trouble with my employer. I do have a point though. Basically, I think people (especially young people), need to be held to proper standards of behavior in order to stay out of trouble and to succeed in later life. I've seen what happens when they grow up thinking that they are always "right," above the law, and no one can make them do anything they don't feel like doing. Eventually there are people who can and will (i.e. judges, police, etc.) tell them what to do, and when to do it.


Thursday, June 03, 2010

Ape X

When I heard some people talking about "Ape X," I wondered (of course), who this mysterious primate was? I thought it must be an impressive animal, because they mentioned that he was at the top of his career!

I have always been a big fan of the great apes. Not only are they smart, but they are strong too! I envisioned, that Ape X was the pinnacle of ape-hood. Perhaps he was a secret agent, like Lance Link!

Eventually, however, I came to realize that there was no "Ape X." In fact, the word these people were using, was actually apex. "Too bad," I thought. What the world really needs is an ape superhero! Who cares if that guy is good at his job???

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Alice in Wonderland

We went to see Alice in Wonderland at the cheap theater last evening. It was a very good movie! Who but Johnny Depp could play the "Mad Hatter?" Helena Bonham Carter was also excellent as the "Red Queen."

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

From my latest book (in progress)...

An excerpt from this past weekend that will go into my latest book, "Glimmer of White."

One Saturday morning in May 2010, the phone rang at 8:00AM. We were just getting up, but this was common, as my wife’s parents were early risers. As usual, I was the last to know, and as usual this was kind of “last minute” anyway. The Hmong don’t send invitations, but we did apparently get a phone call. Unfortunately the caller was using my sister-in-law’s name when calling and we were used to creditors calling for her and her husband. Regardless of all of this, I learned that my Saturday would include a lengthy Hmong gathering.

We picked up my father and mother-in-law and proceeded to the “school” where the gathering was taking place. I was wondering about this, because public schools don’t tend to rent space for parties. When we arrived at the location, the school was locked up tight. On the cell phone trying to get new directions and driving through the neighborhood, I happened to notice another school, next to a church. We drove to it, and the numerous Toyotas parked along the street were a sure sign we were in the right place.

As I had by now, gotten food poisoning twice before from eating Hmong prepared food, I was hoping to avoid eating at all—though eating is a primary focal point of such events. I participated in the string ceremony, which is one of the Hmong rituals at gatherings such as this. I also ate a banana during the long speeches, and was hoping to avoid eating the prepared foods—and therefore being poisoned again.

As I sat toward the back of the gathering with my wife, the clan leader stood up from his seat at the main table where all (the important) men were sitting. He walked back toward me and then said, “Please come with me.” I hadn’t seen “my uncle” for over a year, and I asked him if I could just stay where I was. He replied, “No, please come with me.” With that, I decided I could not refuse this man who was my uncle-in-law and also an influential family leader. I followed him, and he asked me to sit next to him. He said something to the other men at the table, and then said to me, “Please, serve yourself.”

Now that I had been honored by this man, I was now “forced” to eat, or risk being rude. I was hungry, though I am not particularly fond of traditional Hmong food. I avoided the boiled meat and the Laab that had been sitting out. I had some fruit, rice and fried chicken wings. I watched as the men used their forks and spoons to serve themselves, and I decided that I was done. Thankfully I remained healthy after eating! I brought my plate and silver wear to the kitchen and deposited it in a pile. The women would clean it up.

My wife was eating with the women, so I wandered around a bit. Outside I noticed where the propane tanks and stockpots had previously been boiling various meats. The irony and amusement was not lost on me. While trying to blend in (though I was the only white guy present), I had been brought to the table of honor and my plan to avoid eating had subsequently failed.

Later my wife asked if I knew what our uncle had said to the other men when we sat down. Of course I did not. Apparently he declared that I was part of the family and he was like a father to me (Note* family relations are different in Hmong than I am used to. Many family relationships are figurative, meaning everyone seems to be a cousin, brother, sister, etc.). He said I would join them at that table as it was right that I should.

Kevin J. Curtis

Maplewood Nature Center Walk

We needed a break, and the Maplewood Nature Center filled the need. Here are a couple of photos I took.

Water Lily

Female Wood Duck with young