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Anything outdoors!  Tornadoes, eagles, blizzards, or auroras.  If it is in the sky, running through the woods or swimming in the water, I'm there!


Sunday, May 1, 2016

April 26 2016 North Central Kansas Chase

Well, that sucked. A veer, back, veer wind profile, a residual outflow boundary from the night before, CAPE  gobbling splitting supercells on the OFB which all moved north, and about 1400 miles later on a down and back longest one day chase trip of my life....not much to show for it.  I do regret not stopping in Waterville, KS to photograph the 4" hailstones driven into the ground.  That was the highlight of the trip looking back but I never took the camera out.  Bummer.

Read the full chase log with images by clicking here.

The weather pattern is going to be tough for chasing going into mid May with the only exception being a cold front around the 7th or 8th but the dynamics will not be in place for severe weather up here.  I feel bad for the tour operators as they will be working hard to keep their supercell hungry guests entertained.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

In To 2016!! First day hike of the new year and some catch up images

Melinda and I decided to start off the new year with a day hike in Tettegouche State Park north of Silver Bay Minnesota to do something a little different.  After purchasing a new house (one of our horses has already lived here for a year and half), getting settled, hosting the family Christmas, plus just the normal day to day chaos, it was time for a break again.  

But first, here are some images from the past few weeks.

Our horses having a pre-dinner snack.  I was trying to bribe one of them out further into the pasture for a silhouette shot but ended up with all 4 in group.

A fresh supply of lead-free raccoon and deer carcasses keep the bald eagle and other smaller birds well fed on the pond behind our house.  I get tired of getting calls from TRC and the DNR to pick up eagles which got hit by a car while feeding on road kill.  Back here the only threat is me taking a blurry photo from our deck.

The winter song birds have not been as plentiful as I had hoped.  We added a couple of suet feeders and a black oil sunflower feeder in hopes of attracting more.  We'll see.

Charlie, our main outside cat.  He is actually yawning in this photo.  He loves people.  Hates dogs and other cats.  Our dog is actually scared of him.

Crow landing fail on our pond by the carcass feeder.

Eagle butt print.

The deer are doing well.  We have a doe with triplets and another doe with twins which frequent our place.  Kind of a weird shot here with one deer facing me with the other looking away but the illusion of there only being 4 legs messes with your head.

My daughter shovels off a skating rink behind our home.

Back to the New Years Day hike.  The Silver Creek Cliff tunnel has always been our "gateway".  Once we hit this point, the fun starts.  After a later than planned start, the blue ice covering the cliff was a very welcome sight.

Once to Tettegouche, we took the short route to the falls since we arrived an hour later than originally planned.  The ice spikes were a wise choice as the trail is hard packed and extremely slippery.

Melinda checks out the scenery below the falls.

Heading back to the trailhead lot.

The bridge over the Baptism is still one of my favorites along the Superior Hiking Trail.

Pausing to look at the top of the falls from the bridge.

Another view from the top.

Looking down the Baptism River.

We may not have the snow pack we are used to in Minnesota this winter, but there are still a lot of opportunities to get out and live a little!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Before and After: A follow up to the 8.1.15 monster buck blog entry

For years I have been wanting to find a REALLY big whitetail buck in velvet then find that same buck during the rut to see what it would look like.  Well, I can check this quest off the list.

July 31st 2015.  Melinda and I decided to go a short summer hike just to see if we could spot any deer in a known hot spot. The vegetation was thick and bugs were even thicker.

Well, we found one.

Not many couples would consider "date night" wading around in near chest high burning weed just to get a shot of this.  But "why be normal?"

I knew this buck was going to be a monster come November.

...if could just hold on until then.

Fast forward to November 8 2015.  Found him!

I took a chance with a weather change coming in with an extended wet period in the forecast.  After seeing a few other bucks and with shooting light dwindling, I started to head back to my vehicle when I saw a large solitary buck moving quickly just inside the treeline of the same wood lot back in July.  I immediately recognized the shape of the rack as being the same buck.  He had some battle wounds and broken tines, but he was still as majestic as ever.

Just another shot for comparison.

A beautiful buck.  I'm sure this is his peak year as there is another buck up and coming who will try to knock him off his throne!

September 5 2015 Hiking at Mink Mountain, Kakabecca Falls & Finger Point Ontario Canada

My brother and sister in law offered for us to join them in Grand Marais, MN for the Labor Day weekend.  The catch was they wouldn't be able to drive over from Deer River until late Saturday so Melinda and I would have to head up on Friday night to secure the cabin they had rented.  That meant we would have pretty much all day Saturday to do whatever we wanted.  Being not much for hanging out in Grand Marais (too many $300 pairs of boots walking aroud which will never see a dirt path),  we scrambled to throw together a series of relatively short day hikes on the Canadian side of the Pigeon River.  A quick YouTube search and a message from Travis Novitsky and out plans fell into place.  We would hit the Mink Mountain trail system Saturday morning and Finger Point on the way back to Minnesota in the afternoon to meet up with Addie and Jeff.  Note I made no mention of Kekebecca Falls yet.

The drive as you clear Grand Marais gets a lot better as the scenery picks up and the traffic drops off.

Waiting in line to clear customs into Canada.  I'm not going to lie.  The Canadian border agents are very friendly.  The US border agents are jerks.  Coming back into to the US and feeling anything but welcomed back your own country is really sad.

Got to switch over to the km/h option on the car.

Finally at the Mink Mountain trail head.  It was hot this day (by my standards for hiking) as it as in the middle to upper 70's.

Ready to start going up!

OK.  I'm an idiot.  I packed the D300 with the Tokina 11-16 up to the top.  I had 6 CF cards with on the trip and as soon as I took the cam out of my pack, I realized all 6 cards were 600 feet below me in the car.  Soooo...

Have to make do with a couple of frame grabs from the Sony HXR-MC50U.  It was SO hazy out and pretty warm in the upper 70's.  We started to hike around to the Sturgeon Bay lookout but decided to grab a cut across trail and head back to the car.

We decided since the Mink hike didn't take as much time as we thought it would (only about 3 miles round trip) we would run up to Thunder Bay then west to Kakabeca Falls Provincial Park.  This place is beautiful but very well developed with easy trails but too much development for me.

Looking east downstream from the falls on the Kaministiquia River.

Looking north after walking over the bridge.

Probably the best view of the falls from the south side.  Supposedly the falls are 131ft tall.

Melinda and I

After heading back south towards the states, we stopped to hike Finger Point at sunset.  On the left side of the image you can see where the Pigeon River enters Lake Superior.

At the end of the trail is a very cool bench in the shape of Lake Superior with iron work art around it.

The views are spectacular.  Be forewarned this trail has a steep climb at the end with a lot of loose rocks.  Good hiking boots and poles are a good idea.

The land in the distance is the far eastern tip of Minnesota.

We hung around to watch the sun start to set but knowing we had about 1.75 miles back to our car on the rough trail, we thought it would be a good idea not cut it too close.  Besides, we were hot and food was a priority so off we went.  A simply spectacular day filled with many memory inspiring sights!  If you are thinking about doing any of these hike and would like some tips or more info, feel free to email me at bill@mnwxchaser.com

Saturday, August 1, 2015

MONSTER Minnesota Whitetail Buck in Velvet

What started out as a hike to kill some time on Friday evening sure ended up with a heck of of a reward!  Hard to really count as I'm not totally sure the spurs by the brow tines are 1" but this thing could have as many as 16 scoreable points.  The tip to tip credit doesn't look to be outstanding but still a heck of buck!  Sorry all the shots are a little blurry.  The light was REALLY bad (dark) and had to shoot ISO1600-3200 to get any type of decent shutter speed.

Look at all the mosquitoes on the side of his face!  Unreal.

This buck is in a semi-safe area and I doubt he would be hunted unless he moves out of the area.  I hope he is around during the rut as there will be some awesome photo ops I'm sure come November!