Archive | August, 2009

The Boundary Waters

Mark Cahill is a friend of mine from suburban Chicago high school. The last time I saw him was many years ago in Lawrence, Kansas, where his then-girlfriend danced on the bar at an underage watering hole and got us kicked out. He recently got back from a canoe trip in the Boundary Waters and kindly wrote the following for Cold Splinters. Enjoy.

Just before Duluth, MN it was time that we switched drivers so that I could finally catch a couple Zzz’s. We left Chicago about seven hours earlier and it was a short drive along the Northern Edge of Lake Superior to the Ranger’s Station near Grand Marais, MN, where our permits lay waiting. I hopped in the front seat and shuffled around until I masterfully lodged my head in between the window and my seat belt. I had just fallen asleep listening to JJ Cale’s “Travelin’ Light” and was suddenly woken by a hard slam on the brakes. I popped up and about twenty feet in front of the car was a big fat, “Welcome to the Boundary Waters, Boys!” Somewhere in between that rush of thinking you’re flying into Lake Superior and being groggy from sleep, I realized that we stopped for my very first sighting of a Grey Wolf. I don’t know why, but I nodded at the beautiful little guy as he slowly retreated into the woods. Perhaps it was because I knew we were there.

After grabbing our permits from the Ranger’s Station, we turned North in Grand Marais and headed up the Gunflint Trail in Superior National Forest. Roughly forty-five minutes later and about a mile from the Canadian Border, we reached our departure point, Round Lake. There is a small Canoe Outfitter (Tuscorora) at the edge of the Lake, and as it turns out a friendly face – The owner’s sister lives in my hometown! After some friendly banter about water levels and fishing hotspots/depths we loaded up our canoe and pushed off. A quick half mile paddle across the Lake and we reached our first portage. It was a doozy at 142 Rods, and about half-way through we saw the sign! Entry Point #51. Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

We took the Frost River Loop through the BWCAW, a fairly tough route that features a narrow winding river mid-way through. Lots of portages to hike and lots of beaver dams to hop; Gorgeous Lakes and good boulder diving; Leaches and pesky mosquitoes; Common Loon and Bald Eagle; Bull Moose and Black Bear…It was perfect!

A few days later I perched myself on a boulder and unsheathed my travel sketchbook from it’s waterproofing. Flipping through the worn pages, it occurred to me just what the glaciers had carved into our continent during the last Ice Age. Maybe by accident, or maybe because my bowling name is ‘Iceman,’ I’ve tended to live near distinctive landscapes created by those large glacial movements from so long ago: From Hills in Kansas, Moraines in Wisconsin, to those Great Lakes. I pulled out my favorite Techliner Drafting pen and scratched in a new page, then headed back to the camp fire with some old friends hoping to hear my new friend – the Grey Wolf – howl, “Good Night!”

MP3: JJ Cale – Travelin’ Light

August 18, 2009 | Uncategorized | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }

I See The Want To In Your Eyes

Youtube: Conway Twitty – I See The Want To In Your Eyes

MP3: Conway Twitty – I See The Want To In Your Eyes

August 17, 2009 | Uncategorized | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }

Wayne Levin

(Thx Born To Be Nervous)

MP3: Atlas Sound w/ Noah Lennox – Walkabout

August 17, 2009 | Art/Photography | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }

The Rise And Fall Of The Great Lakes

Must watch:

In this short documentary from conservationist Bill Mason, he illustrates that although the Great Lakes have had their ups and downs, nothing has been harder to take than what humans have done to them lately. In the film, a lone canoeist lives through the changes of geological history, through Ice Age and flood, only to find himself in the end trapped in a sea of scum.

August 17, 2009 | Uncategorized | Continue Reading | Comments { 3 }

Obama At The Grand Canyon


August 17, 2009 | Politics | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }


Cold Splinters is heading on down to Argentina tomorrow. I’ll be back on August 16th, so until then, have a damn good time doing whatever it is y’all do.

MP3: Ada Falcon – La Ultima Copa

August 7, 2009 | Uncategorized | Continue Reading | Comments { 3 }

Red Rocks Wilderness Act

Southern Utah Wilderness Aliance:

America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act was re-introduced in the 111th Congress on April 2, 2009 with 105 original cosponsors in the House and 15 original cosponsors in the Senate.

America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act seeks to serve the public interest by permanently protecting more than 9 million acres of wilderness-quality land in Utah. The proposal, based on an exhaustive field inventory conducted by citizen volunteers, was first introduced in Congress by former Utah Representative Wayne Owens in 1989. Representative Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) assumed the role of House sponsor in 1993 and Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) introduced the Senate version in 1997.

With the addition in July of new cosponsor Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), the bill broke the record for the most Senate cosponsors since it was introduced in that chamber 12 years ago. We now have 21 senators cosponsoring S. 799, America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, in addition to the bill’s original sponsor Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL).

If your representative or senators are not on the current list of cosponsors, please ask them to cosponsor America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act.

August 6, 2009 | Politics | Continue Reading | Comments { 0 }

Antiquities Act

The Antiquities Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by Teddy Roosevelt in 1906. It gives our president the authority to restrict the use of public land owned by the federal government by executive order and bypass the Congress. The aim is to protect important federally owned sites by prohibiting its excavation and destruction. The land is designated as a National Monument and although the land will receive less funding and protection, the process is much quicker than going through Congress to establish a National Park. There are National Monuments that eventually turn into National Parks though, like Arches in Utah, which was designated a National Monument in 1929 and then a National Park in 1971.

The Antiquities Act was first used to designate Devil’s Tower National Monument (pictured above) in Wyoming and has been used over a hundred times since. Grand-Staircase Escalante National Monument (post below) in Utah was dedicated by Bill Clinton in 1996 during the height of the presidential election. The Utah congressional delegation and state governor were notified only 24 hours in advance that the ceremony for Grand-Staircase would not be held in their own state, but at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. That November, Clinton won Arizona by a margin of 2.2%, and lost Utah to Republican Bob Dole by 21.1%.*

For much more info about the Antiquities Act click here and here. For a list of U.S. National Monuments click here.

August 5, 2009 | Politics | Continue Reading | Comments { 2 }

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Backpacking southern Utah’s Grand Escalante National Monument, 2009

Wish I was there.

August 5, 2009 | Art/Photography, Camping | Continue Reading | Comments { 1 }

Stainless Steel Carabiner Mug


Don’t do this.

(Via The Goat.)

August 4, 2009 | Uncategorized | Continue Reading | Comments { 4 }