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Canoeing and Hiking in Minnesota's Boundary Waters

Program Number: 4852RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/27/2014 - 8/2/2014;
Duration: 6 nights
Location: Ely, Minnesota
Price starting at: $828.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Water Sports; Walking/Hiking Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 16; 6 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Fat; Low Salt; Gluten Free    

In the exceptional beauty of Northern Minnesota’s sparkling lakes and majestic forests, dip your canoe paddle into the calm water of a pristine lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. On another day, lace up your hiking boots and explore glacier-sculpted trails winding between the lakes. On this outdoor adventure, identify plants and wildflowers unique to this northern region and, depending on the week, watch for pipsissewa and wild blueberry. Enjoy trailside lunches on foot and shore lunches by canoe.




Highlights

• Experienced instructors teach safe canoeing and hiking techniques to small groups of beginner to advanced students.
• Presentations on natural history topics complement outdoor field trips, as does a visit to the International Wolf Center.
• Enjoy an evening paddle amid the haunting call of the loon; another evening explore the quaint town of Ely and happen upon a live outdoor music performance.



Activity Particulars

Hiking up to five miles a day over uneven terrain. Canoeing up to five hours a day.




Date Specific Information

7-27-2014

Ely`s Blueberry Art Festival coincides with this program. This three-day event in Whiteside Park, July 25-27, 2014, features 300 exhibitors of original art, handcraft items and ethnic foods, plus a variety of musical entertainment.



Coordinated by Vermilion Community College.




Ely

The Superior National Forest, stretching 150 miles along the U.S.-Canada border, encompasses a variety of wildlife and terrain, including the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Ely is the area’s quaint but bustling gateway.



Accommodations
Rustic lakeshore cabins. Private cabins (one bath) for double-occupancy participants; up to three single-occupancy bedrooms share cabin with single bath.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Bill Tefft

Bill Tefft is a birding expert who has more than 20 years of experience teaching Road Scholar participants of all skill levels about field identification of birds, including raptors. He is an area naturalist with a vast knowledge of the region and looks forward to introducing the birds of northern Minnesota to any Road Scholar participant with an interest in learning and seeing. Now retired, he has taught the Raptor Ecology and Ecology of Northern Birds courses at Vermilion Community College.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Outdoor Learning Center
  Ely, MN 6 nights
 Outdoor Learning Center
Type: Cabin
  Description: This facility was formerly a family-run resort. Located on US Forest Service land, it now accommodates participants enrolled in educational programs.
  Contact info: 13884 Rocky Ridge Road
Ely, MN 55731 USA
phone: 218-365-4613
  Room amenities: The small cabins and apartment are furnished simply. Each has a living room, a kitchenette (stove/oven, sink, refrigerator, but no dishes), a bathroom (sink, toilet, shower) and one to three single or double occupancy bedrooms. The apartment has a bathtub/shower combination.
  Facility amenities: Quaint cabins are within 100 feet of the lake. Site features short walking trail, canoes, and a beach.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Bathroom: In six cabins the bathroom is shared by up to two participants while in the other two cabins and the apartment, it may be shared by up to three participants (or four in Intergenerational programs). One bathroom has a bathtub while the others have showers.
  Additional nights prior: Approximately $45 per person. Please call 218-235-2164 to make arrangements and find out current price.
  Check in time: 3:30 PM
  Additional nights after: Approximately $45 per person. Please call 218-235-2164 to make arrangements and find out current price.
  Check out time: 9:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Plan to arrive at the Outdoor Learning Center between 3:30 PM and 5:00 PM. You will be staying at Outdoor Learning Center that night.
  End of Program:
The program ends after a continental breakfast, with check-out by 9:00 AM. You will be staying at Outdoor Learning Center the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Participants must also sign an informed consent form to participate. There is a Supplemental Questions Form to indicate additional food and lodging requests, experience level, and to sign up for the Duluth-Ely Road Scholar at Vermilion shuttle.
  Parking availability:
Parking is free at the site.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Ely, MN
  Nearest city or town:  Ely, MN
  Nearest highway: Highway 169
  Nearest airport:  Duluth, MN (DLH)
  From End of Program
  Location: Ely, MN
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Ely

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Vermilion Duluth-Ely Road Scholar Shuttle
phone: 218-235-2164
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$40
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

2 1/4 hours 

   

The shuttle runs only once, leaving the Duluth International Airport at 1:30 PM on Sunday, and arriving to the program site at approximately 4:00 PM.

 

Ely

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Vermilion Ely-Duluth Road Scholar Shuttle
phone: 218-235-2164
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$40
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

2 1/4 hours 

   

The shuttle runs only once, leaving the program site at 8:15 AM on Saturday, and arriving to the Duluth International Airport by 10:30 AM.

 
Driving Directions
  An Overview There are several ways to reach Ely. Choose a route that meets your time constraints and desire for sightseeing. The driving times indicated are all approximate, depending upon traffic conditions, your driving speed, and the number of times you stop.
  Duluth (option 1) Quickest Route from Duluth (2 hours) Take Highway 53 North to Virginia. Just after passing Virginia exits, take Highway 169 to Ely.
  Duluth (option 2) Scenic Route from Duluth (2 1/2 hours) Head northeast on the Highway 61 "Expressway" along the shore of Lake Superior. Once you reach the northeast end of Two Harbors, take County Road 2 North to its intersection with Highway 1. Follow Highway 1 northwest into Ely (turn left onto Highway 1).
  Duluth (option 3) Most Scenic Route from Duluth (3 1/2 hours) Start out of Duluth on Highway 61 but take the immediate right-hand turn onto the "Scenic Northshore Drive". This road closely follows along the shore of the lake and ends at Two Harbors where it intersects Highway 61. Follow Highway 61 north until you reach its intersection (marked "Illgen City") with Highway 1. Follow Highway 1 northwest until you reach Ely.
  Minneapolis/St. Paul Quickest Route from Minneapolis/St. Paul (5 hours) Take I-35 north to the Cloquet exit where you will join up with Highway 33 North. Highway 33 will merge into Highway 53 North. Just after passing Virginia exits, take Highway 169 to Ely. You avoid Duluth with this route.
  Minneapolis/St. Paul (variation) The trip from Minneapolis/St. Paul can include any of the scenic routes from Duluth described above if I-35 is taken all the way to Duluth. This adds to the total trip time, which will then be over 5 hours. (Duluth is approximately 2 1/2 hours from Minneapolis/St. Paul.)
  Once in Ely Once in Ely, follow these instructions to get to the Outdoor Learning Center. Starting from the Ely Chamber of Commerce (a log building on the east end of town) travel northeast 3.5 miles on 169. You will pass the small town of Winton on your left. (From the green highway sign marking Winton, the Outdoor Learning Center driveway is 1.5 miles.) Due to sign set-back rules, the Outdoor Learning Center is not well marked, so watch your odometer. Across from the lefthand driveway is a small, green official roadsign. As you turn into the driveway, you will see a white sign announcing "Vermilion Outdoor Learning Center." If you reach a road sign that indicates "End 169" you have gone too far by about 1/3 of a mile.
  Supplemental Road Information A) I-35 is a standard Interstate. B) Highways 33 and 53 are divided 4-lane highways. C) Highway 169 is a 2-lane highway. D) Highway 61 is a divided 4-lane highway from Duluth to Two Harbors on the "Expressway"; beyond Two Harbors it is a 2-lane road. E) County Road 2 is a well-maintained 2-lane road. F) Highway 1 is a 2-lane road with many twists and turns, but it is very scenic; people sometimes occasionally see moose and other wildlife on this road.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival / Orientation
(Sunday, July 27)
   
 Afternoon: Plan to arrive to the Outdoor Learning Center between 3:30 PM and 5:00 PM.
 Dinner: Enjoy a hearty dinner, catered on site by a local establishment specializing in homemade pasta.
 Evening: Welcome and orientation with introductions is held in the classroom. Meet your instructors, review the schedule for the week, and spend some time getting to know your fellow participants.
   
Accommodations: Outdoor Learning Center
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Basic Canoeing Techniques / Tree Identification / Evening Presentation
(Monday, July 28)

Note: Today includes both hiking and canoeing. The shorter duration of each will provide a sense of what the longer trips will be like for each of the remaining days of the week.



   
 Breakfast: Enjoy a nourishing breakfast with the group at a local restaurant.
 Morning: On the ground, learn or review basic canoeing techniques, including points of safety. Once comfortable with the basics, head out onto Fall Lake, putting your skills to work. Small group size allows instructors ample time to help participants one-on-one.
 Lunch: Enjoy a lunch and comparing notes with your fellow learners.
 Afternoon: Learn tree identification, becoming familiar with common northern Minnesota trees. Learn about other indigenous plants. Take a short nature walk in the Superior National Forest, leaving right from our classroom door.
 Dinner: Enjoy a hearty dinner with the group at a local restaurant.
 Evening: Enjoy an optional evening paddle, some free time, or possibly a regional presenter.
   
Accommodations: Outdoor Learning Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Hiking Field Trip / Native Plants and Wildflowers / Tuesday Night Live
(Tuesday, July 29)

Note: Today's hike is over semi-rugged terrain, covering between three and four miles of trail offering some scenic overlooks.



   
 Breakfast: Enjoy breakfast with the group at a local restaurant.
 Morning: Leave for three-quarter day hiking field trip on the Secret-Blackstone Hiking Trail. See an area affected by the tremendous windstorm, which swept through the Boundary Waters Wilderness Area and the Superior National Forest on July 4, 1999. Learn about wilderness camping as you walk through a wilderness lakeside campsite.
 Lunch: Enjoy a sack lunch on the trail, possibly at one of several scenic overlooks along the trail.
 Afternoon: Continue hiking field trip. Total hike for the day is about five miles, over semi-rugged terrain. A lecture on the plants and wildflowers of northeastern Minnesota follows.
 Dinner: Choose a restaurant in Ely to enjoy a dinner on your own.
 Evening: It's Tuesday Night Live in Ely! Take in one of several performances by local musicians sharing a variety of musical styles. Tuesday is also Farmers Market and a night for shops to be open later, making it a perfect night for exploring the quaint town of Ely.
   
Accommodations: Outdoor Learning Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Canoeing Field Trip / Wolf Ecology
(Wednesday, July 30)

Note: The length of today's paddle is dependent upon the ability of group members, the weather, and what destination is chosen by the group.



   
 Breakfast: Enjoy breakfast with the group at a local restaurant.
 Morning: Leave for three-quarter day canoeing field trip in the Superior National Forest, or in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Destination will be selected with input from the group and direction from the instructors.
 Lunch: Beach the canoes and eat a lakeside picnic lunch.
 Afternoon: Continue canoeing field trip, enjoying more north woods scenery. Upon return to the OLC, participate in a classroom session on North Woods Animals.
 Dinner: Enjoy a hearty dinner with the group at a local restaurant.
 Evening: Study wolf ecology with someone from the International Wolf Center. Learn about prey, habits, habitats, and eating behavior.
   
Accommodations: Outdoor Learning Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Hiking Field Trip / Minnesota Animals / Evening Paddle
(Thursday, July 31)

Note: This is the most rugged of the two hikes. Depending upon route taken, it will be between four and six miles of hiking over rugged terrain through a variety of habitats, including a rocky, and now dry, lake bed.



   
 Breakfast: Enjoy breakfast with the group at a local restaurant.
 Morning: Leave for three-quarter day hiking field trip on the Bass Lake Hiking Trail. Enjoy the variations in scenery and habitat, as you hike this five mile trail which covers some topography that was at one point in time a lake bottom.
 Lunch: Eat a picnic lunch in the field. The lunch spot selected may be one of several scenic overlooks, or the rocky ledge by Dry Falls, a not so dry waterfall.
 Afternoon: Continue hiking field trip. The terrain of this hiking trail is semi-rugged (a bit more so than the previous hike) and it is helpful to most people to use a walking stick.
 Dinner: Enjoy a hearty dinner with the group at a local restaurant.
 Evening: Enjoy an evening paddle, possibly in the Boundary Waters Wilderness Area, accessed through Fall Lake.
   
Accommodations: Outdoor Learning Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Canoeing Field Trip / Free Time / Closing Ceremony
(Friday, August 1)

Note: Again, the level of difficulty of the canoe outing is dependent upon the skills of the group's members, weather conditions, and route chosen.



   
 Breakfast: Enjoy your breakfast with the group at a local restaurant.
 Morning: Leave for three-quarter day canoeing field trip in the Superior National Forest. Selection of actual destination varies, depending upon input of each program week's group. A popular destination is the Dead River, connecting Burntside Lake and Twin Lakes.
 Lunch: Beach the canoes and enjoy a lakeside sack lunch.
 Afternoon: Continue canoeing field trip. Upon return to the center, have some time to explore Ely on your own before dinner.
 Dinner: Enjoy a hearty dinner at a local restaurant, and with others in the group, recount your adventures of the week.
 Evening: Participate in the closing ceremonies around a lakeside campfire. Review what you have learned during the week, share stories, and enjoy the camaraderie with other participants and your instructors on this last night before departure.
   
Accommodations: Outdoor Learning Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Departure
(Saturday, August 2)
   
 Breakfast: Eat a continental breakfast at the Outdoor Learning Center.
 Morning: Be checked out of your cabin by 9:00 AM.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Ely, MN Bois Forte Heritage Center and Cultural Museum
Dedicated to telling the Bois Forte Ojibwe story, this award-winning museum depicts the history of these people through interpretive displays and artifacts. Learn about Ojibwe spirituality, ricing, bead work, and basketry. For additional information, visit 216.185.198.110/divisions/heritage_center.htm
  Dorothy Molter Museum
The Dorothy Molter Museum is a memorial to the legendary last resident of the BWCAW. Known as “the Root Beer Lady”, Dorothy died in 1986 after living most of her 79 years on Knife Lake. Canoeists often stopped at Molter's home to enjoy her famous homemade root beer. For additional information, visit www.canoecountry.com/dorothy
  Ely-Winton History Museum
Located on Ely's Vermilion Community College campus, this center shows the local history of the area’s logging and mining through artifacts, photographs and displays. For more information, call 218-365-3226.
  International Wolf Center
The International Wolf Center advances the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wild lands and the human role in their future. In addition to the award-winning exhibit, there are interpretive programs, two packs of live wolves, and an interactive children’s exhibit. For additional information, visit www.wolf.org
  Mesabi Trail
Located in northern Minnesota between the cities of Ely and Grand Rapids, the Mesabi Trail is a premier Minnesota bike trail winding through some of the state's prettiest regions. One of the longest paved trails in the United States, the trail passes through the communities of Nashwauk, Keewatin, Hibbing, Chisholm, Mountain Iron and Virginia. For additional information, visit www.mesabitrail.com
  More about Ely
As a gateway to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Ely is an ideal location for canoeing, hiking, mountain biking, and fishing. In addition to the multitude of outdoor opportunities, this quaint town also has many small gift shops and art galleries, particularly in photography. Visitors enjoy many activities year-round, including several annual festivals. For additional information, visit www.ely.org
  More about Northeastern Minnesota
The Iron Range is a region that is as scenic as it is historically significant. Visitors can enjoy colorful stories about the immigrants who mined and shaped the land. Explore a museum or discovery center, take a tour or participate in a festival. This region has a rich history, and numerous opportunities exist to learn more about it. For additional information, visit www.ironrange.org
  North American Bear Center
See live bears and explore interpretive exhibits at the North American Bear Center, the focus of which is to improve the understanding and appreciation of the North American Bear, their role in the ecosystem, and their relation to humans through education, research, and rehabilitation. For additional information, visit www.bear.org
  Sisu Heritage Homestead Tours
A 15-mile, three-hour guided circle tour in rural Embarrass will give you a glimpse of the how Finnish pioneers lived in northeastern Minnesota in the early 20th century. You’ll view handcrafted log farm structures that are examples of the distinctive construction techniques practiced for centuries in Finland and brought to this country by Finnish immigrants. Call for more information (218-984-2084).
  Soudan Underground Mine
This Minnesota State Park features Minnesota’s first and deepest underground iron mine. Guided tours take you 2,400 feet down and more than 100 years into the past to experience the working conditions of early iron ore miners. For additional information, visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/soudan_underground_mine/index.html
  Trezona Trail
Circling Miners Lake, this trail meanders through mining sites and a variety of habitats. Tucked around the edge of Miners Lake, it’s hard to believe that you are within the city limits of Ely on this four mile walking and biking trail. The surface is mostly paved.
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Root Beer Lady: The Dorothy Molter Story


Author: Bob Cary


Tales from Jackpine Bob


Author: Bob Cary


Ely Echoes: The Portages Grow Longer


Author: Bob Cary


Canoe Country Flora: Plants and Trees of the North Woods and Boundary Waters


Author: Mark Stensaas


Canoe Country Wildlife: A Field Guide to the Boundary Waters and Quetico


Author: Mark Stensaas


Lob Trees in the Wilderness


Author: Clifford Ahlgren and Isabel Ahlgren


Open Spaces


Author: Jim Dale Vickery


The Illustrated Voyaguer: Paintings and Companion Stories


Author: Howard Sivertson


Gunflint: Reflections of the Trail


Author: Justine Kerfoot


Wilderness Visionaries: Leopold, Thoreau, Muir, Olson, Murie, Service, Marshall, Rutstrum


Author: Jim Dale Vickery


Women of the Boundary Waters: Canoeing, Guiding, Mushing, and Surviving


Author: Justine Kerfoot




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