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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, October 24, 2010

Back from Itasca county and points well north (Hey metro a-holes! Keep out unless you have cash..!)

Melinda and I headed north this weekend so she could help her sister with some work related stuff which opened the door for me on Saturday to make a run up into St. Louis county for a little R and R coupled with some grouse hunting. I made it out of Grand Rapids by 8:30am and headed up 65 with the intentions of jogging my way over to 53 and Orr, MN where I could grab 23 over to the head of the Echo Trail. I figured once I was on the Echo, I would pick and choose fire roads and trails in the Superior National Forest side of the line (as opposed to the BWCA which is off limits to hunting).

Well, the Echo turned out to be a joke. Thanks to the State of MN and St. Louis county, that "trail" has been improved to the point every Lexus driving moron from Eden Prairie or Minnetonka can now make it from Ely over to Buyck with only a little dust on the paint. I was appalled at the number of SUV's being driven by orange vest clad urbanites pulling at least one ATV behind. Every hear of using your feet? Or better yet, SLOW DOWN and enjoy the beauty of what was once beautiful wilderness woods before a dozer and slasher took the bumps out for your cute little leased ride. I observed THREE different groups pulled off to the side eating or drinking something and blatantly threw some type of garbage on the road. Two of the SUV's were sporting "Lexus of Wayzata" license plate frames and the third had a Sears Imports frame. Really? You guys are not hunters or sportsmen. Not even close. Any idea why the locals smile, take your money, then laugh at you the minute you turn your back? Who is the idiot here? Do you wonder why landowners won't let you step foot on their property unless you shell out a Benjamin or two but they will let a guy and his kid who roll up in a rusted out scratched up 15 year old pickup in for the sheer courtesy of asking for permission? One group is a stereotype (self-created), the other is not. That landowner knows the local will treat the land with respect. The other thinks throwing enough money around cures all. Do all the native northerners a favor. Keep driving 5 hours one way up and bring lots of cash. We are going to take it and laugh your ass all the way to our bank.

Anyhow, back to the good part of the trip...kind of.


A shot of Meander Lake about half way over to Ely from Orr, MN on the Echo Trail.


I avoided Ely as I was pretty mad with what I had seen on the Echo in terms bad behavior, driving, littering, and just general disrespect so I looped around back to MN 1 (which every Minnesotan should drive once in their life from Lake Superior over to the North Dakota border at Oslo, MN). A few miles west of Ely I had these two bald eagles flying an escort for me between the thick forest on the side of the road.

Just before getting back to highway 53, I came across a road kill deer the ravens and eagles were feeding on. I parked the truck about a half mile away and began making my way through the woods to where I would have a clean view of the birds. It was quite a site as the mature eagles would try to chase off the ravens and the juvenile eagles. Well, I finally got all set and was ready to start shooting when here comes a nice new white Chevy Suburban and slams on the brakes right next to the carcass. Thank you Village Chevrolet. Yup, there went my photo op. So the nice young couple all decked out in their Eddie Bauer and The North Face gear, get out, stand in the middle of the road, and chat about how cool that was to see 6 eagles in one spot. Yeah, freaking great. About that time I walked out of the pine thicket I was concealed in and start walking back to my truck. It scared the crap out of them and I'm glad I did. While toting the D200 and 50-500 mounted on the tripod, I was fighting the urge to give them the one finger salute the whole time I was walking away from them. **DO THE ANIMALS A FAVOR AND OBSERVE FROM A DISTANCE!!!**

I was frustrated beyond belief at this point and wanted to just go back to Rapids and call the day a loss. Once I got to 53 I figured I would take CR22 over to 73 and head back through Chisholm and Hibbing. Sometimes God takes pity on me and throws me a bone for effort I guess. Just as shootable light was running out, I came across another roadkill which had one lonely eagle keeping an eye on it. This guy was nice enough to allow me to get a few shots after backing well off as not to disturb him. These birds are stressed anyhow and certainly don't need to be hassled by some goof wanting to get a closer look. From the blood on his beak, I'm guessing he had already been working on the carcass at some point. So, for a few minutes, free of SUV driving idiots, all was right in the world. Just the sound of the wind rustling the pines, the smell of leaves under my feet, and the most majestic of all Minnesota raptors in my viewfinder. It all was OK again.





David Drufke said...

When did you open up your comments to us non-blogspot users? I can finally leave comments! Nice bird.

Dann Cianca said...

Fantastic eagle shots, Bill!

OSNW3 said...

A lot of times I feel that way about the FIBs that roll into WI. (Illinois folk) And I am sure that's how the Yoopers feel when I roll into the UP. I understand both views, I guess. Respect.

Bob Conzemius said...

I've seen locals dump trash on the road, too, so it's not just limited to the city folks.

mnwxchaser said...

I totally agree Bob. I have seen it also. BUT...for a group who is coming up to that area for the sole purpose of being in the outdoors, you would think their behavior would be more in line with preservation than destruction.

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