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Backroads wanderers and
The sounds of September are different this year. September is usually a month when musicians and musical events come to the forefront along the North Shore. It comes as no surprise that nearly all live music events and performances are cancelled this year. The closure of the Canadian border has been extended through Sept. 21, eliminating cross-border entertainment options. On a positive note, we have resumed our Canadian distribution of Northern Wilds. A few of our distribution outlets remain closed, but you can find us throughout Thunder Bay.
While indoor and large event entertainment remains on pause, you can still go outside. September is a fine month, maybe the finest, for doing so. Biting insects are uncommon (but keep an eye peeled for stinging yellowjackets) and the weather is often sunny and warm. That said, late September snowfalls are not uncommon. Even so, the weather at this time of year lends itself well to activities like hiking, biking, paddling and fishing. All are enhanced by the colorful backdrop of fall foliage. That’s the primary reason so many visitors flock to the North Shore at this time of year. The hum of activity that has made the summer exceptionally busy is likely to continue into the fall.
With a little creativity and a sense of adventure, it’s possible to escape the crowds primarily clustered along Highway 61. Head inland on one of the major arteries leading inland—State Highway 1, the Sawbill Trail, the Caribou Trail and the Gunflint Trail—all of which intersect with a network of gravel backroads. Many lead to lakes or unexpected vistas. You just may meet a moose along the way. Inside you’ll find a story illustrated with wonderful fall photography from Travis Novitsky about how to create your own backroads adventure.
In this issue, we’ve featured some folks who follow their own paths to create products of use and beauty. You’ll meet a Grand Portage sculptor who crafts beautiful works in wood. In Thunder Bay, we’re introduced to a woman who has mastered the little-known art of sound engineering. There’s a Duluth man who paints colorful fishing lures that catch fish, as well as a Thunder Bay man that developed an artistic line of fishing floats. Another Duluth man makes custom canoe paddles. A Grand Marais woman discovers an unanticipated demand for her handcrafted rag dolls. If you’re hungry, columnist Chuck Viren explores the uniquely northern dish of poutine.
We’re also proud to share an extraordinary photograph of a North Shore mountain lion. While mountain lion sightings are legendary, rarely are they verified with photos of tracks or the actual animal. We’ll explain what wildlife biologists know about these uncommon and reclusive creatures. There’s lots more good stuff in this issue, but we don’t want to give it all away. Sit down with a cup of coffee and turn the page. Is there a better way to begin September?—Shawn Perich and Amber Pratt