In the Bleak Midwinter

This week I went up to Elbow Lake where our cabin is. The snow was deep, fresh, clean, white, fluffy, and undisturbed. It stood about 18 inches tall on every horizontal surface. I went for a walk in the deafening silence and realized that 50 years ago this month I was on my first foray... Continue Reading →

The Big, Wide Red

I am excited to tell you that a story about our Red River paddling trip has just been published in the Minnesota Conservation Volunteer. This is a magazine published by the Minnesota DNR that seeks to preserve, protect, and publicize Minnesota's natural treasures. Check it out here: (pressing the blue letters should give you the... Continue Reading →

It’s just another day

It was a dark and stormy night, and a rainy and windy dawn. I loaded my boat with things I am taking home to Iowa, as it will take many trips to get everything to my car. Crossing the lake, I thought to myself, "It is really windy today! " but since I was heading... Continue Reading →

A new-style grain bin

Several times in the last few weeks I have found pieces of dog food in my boots when I put them on in the morning. I figured either I dropped a piece into my cuff accidentally or Monkey the dog was a messy eater. This morning I put on a boot in the dark and... Continue Reading →

Foggy Bottom

I play the organ for Sunday morning services at a little Lutheran church an hour away from my cabin. As the fall progresses and the days get shorter, my departures for the 8:30 service becomes more and more light-impaired. A week ago I got down to my boat in the early dawn and realized it... Continue Reading →

Outhouse update

Sorry to leave you in the lurch concerning the progress of my outhouse. I finished the hole after about 12 hours of digging, spaced over a couple weeks. At that point I hit bedrock and decided the pit was deep enough at four and a half feet. It is about three and a half feet... Continue Reading →

Post from the pit

People ask me "What have you been doing since you finished the first leg of your epic voyage?" I am sure they are expecting an answer about something equally stimulating, deep, and long-lasting. And they are right!I spend my days (when I'm not working for the forest service) digging a hole. Each morning I wake... Continue Reading →

Back in the saddle

My friends Matt and Tyler and I just finished paddling the Vermilion River in northern Minnesota. It was a lovely, peaceful river, with just enough rapids, falls, and portages to keep it interesting. We spent 5 days on the trip, but could have easily done it in 3. We were busy enjoying other things like... Continue Reading →

It’s a wrap!

We paddled 456 miles in 18 days, from Lake Traverse on the eastern border of South Dakota, to Pembina, North Dakota, on the Canadian border. ln the process we lost 2 shoes, one bandana, a bag of cords, a head net, and a flashlight. We gained a new perspective on the Red River as a... Continue Reading →


After another extremely windy day on the river, daughter Rachel picked us up in Pembina. We are happy to be finished, yet glad we did it I will write a more retrospective and introspective post when I have recovered.

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