I purchased this sheepskin hat directly from the hands of the old man himself: Howard Joynes, founder of Joynes Ben Franklin up in Grand Marais, MN. It cost me $76—a pretty penny back in 1996… It’s the warmest hat I’ve ever worn, or seen on anyone, and that includes those atop the heads of explorers … More Changed my life
In the current economic pinch it seemed crazy to drive a 2,932-pound Prius 18 miles round-trip just so I could ski a few miles in circles. The Piedmont ski trails currently have the best classic ski conditions around, however, and my family relationships don’t do well when exercise and time outdoors are curtailed. The day … More Working through the anxiety
It’s always enough just to discover that the cabin hasn’t burned down, or isn’t occupied by another party. Getting there and entering the old shack, which to the best of my knowledge dates to around 1922, is a victory in and of itself. I wrote about this place in my book extensively, and never tire of … More The Pigeon Lives!
This past week I made the annual pilgrimage to this abandoned shack that lies astride the Canadian border. The newbie on the trip brought along one of those fancy Garmin GPS things. Preferring zero connectivity and an apparent affinity for buttons over zippers, this made me uncomfortable. I must admit that change can be good, however, … More 48 degrees north!
60 degrees below zero. February 2, 1996. The temperature zoomed all the way up to -36° by afternoon. What a day! On this very memorable day I scaled Eagle Mountain, the highest point in Minnesota. To mark the occasion, and also to lend a little support to a letter I recently sent, I’m sharing a … More 20th anniversary of a great day
It was at about this time that I concluded my month-long epic voyage by backpack and train 19 years ago. I climbed aboard Amtrak’s “Southwest Chief” one last time in sunny Albuquerque, following a one-hour layover that I maximized like an escaped convict soon to be returned to “the hole.” Soon I would return to … More Chasing the Light During the Dark Times
Like most people, our tendency will naturally be to hole up for an extended period of time this time of year, and have less and less contact with our neighbors or even fellow humans in general. Our house, being rather small, cramped, and frequently untidy, will often feel like a less than ideal place to … More Tapping a Renewable Resource in Your Neighborhood
I I am not against a little bribery once in a while. Today it was just what the doctor ordered. T’was a lazy day, and all of else felt like laying around. I didn’t have the energy to pour into a go big or go home event for our family adventure this week (minimum of … More Bribery. Not Just for Warlords Anymore
The craziest thing happened today, and I couldn’t let the irony pass me by. I borrowed my neighbor’s cross country skis, designed for racing, because I wanted to see what a little more speed would be like. Barely anybody was on the Lester Park ski trails late in the day, and I pretty much had … More Encouraged by being the butt of the joke
We’ve rounded the bend and are into the second half of winter. Temperatures are moderating. Daily highs in the teens and twenties will become more common. We are also seeing more of our old pal the sun, which is well into its march toward the spring equinox. Unfortunately, many among us have allowed persistent wind … More A Prescription for Winter Malaise