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After heading out to shovel snow for the unknown number of times, our minds start thinking of warm temperatures and quiet lakes. We might even miss the low buzz of a million mosquitos as our fingers and toes thaw. Then again, maybe not that but you understand where I am coming from. Even though we enjoy the north country and all it gives us in the winter, our minds do wander to that sand beach campsite on Clove Lake. Or the island on Little Saganaga. Or the clear quiet evening on Esther Lake. Yes, summer can come none too soon.

Let’s get out that pile of maps and start planning. Most of you reading this know that you need reservations if you are entering the BWCAW between May and September. Each entry point has a quota and restrictions in terms of number of boats and number of people. Instead of listing all of the regulations and costs, here is the link to the reservation site. If you are going on a well travelled route, you should make your reservations early. In fact, you can start making them today (January 25th), at 9:00 a.m. central time.

I want to point out a few things that sometimes get confusing. First of all, you can designate where you want to pick up your permit. There are many issuing stations throughout Cook County, Stone Harbor being one. Secondly, the permits need to be picked up during business hours. (In the summer, Stone Harbor, is open from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday and 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sundays.)  Also, you can designate the Forest Service office in Grand Marais or Tofte as your pick up point but then you must pick it up there. Their hours are not as attractive as many of the shops, so plan accordingly. And be aware that at all locations you need to watch a Forest Service movie that takes about 30 minutes, so give yourself time.

One last point: if your trip includes paddling into Quetico, read up on their regulations. Anglers, in particular, should know that lead tackle or barbed hooks are not allowed.

There you go with some thoughts. Meanwhile, enjoy these winter evenings and plan, plan, plan. Personally, I think that is almost as much fun as the trip. I said almost.

Here we are in January. The snows have come and the temperatures have dipped. It has gotten a little chilly, even for those of us on the North Shore. Fortunately, living near the lake has it advantages. When it is -20 in the Gunflint Trail, we still have a balmy -5. Talk about the tropics! And with that balmy weather, who can even think of snow sports? Heck, the ice will be out soon, sort of. Well in a moth or two or four, but who’s keeping track?

To get us through this cold weather our thoughts turn to…..drum roll….paddle sports.

Paddle sports? In January? Well you are correct. And why are we talking paddle sports now? I am letting you in a little secret: Now is the time to buy. We happen to have some old inventory we want to move so we can get some new models into our warehouse.

Let’s start with fishing kayaks. This is where you see lots of changes every year but unless you need the absolute latest designs, now is the time to buy at 40% off. We are running low in these but we still have some Wilderness System Rides, Threshers, Commanders and A.TA.K.s in stock.

And if you are buying a boat, you need paddles. There too, we have some great buys. We have Cannon paddles at 40% off also. Why are they discounted? Because they are older models. Do you see a pattern here?

We still have a few Bomber Gear dry and semi-dry water sportswear items left. Why are they discounted? Bet you think it is because they are older models? Well no. This was a high quality paddle accessory company that closed their doors a while back, so get the gear while you can.

We also have Bending Branches paddles at a discount for a very limited time. And why would you buy Bending Branches paddles? Well, besides the fact that they are very high quality, they are from right down the road in Osceola, Wisconsin. How cool is that?

So, while you are reading all of you paddling magazines, getting ready for the thaw, stock up at great prices. Call us at the store for specifics. You will also find some pricing on our eCommerce site…you should be watching that anyway for other great gear.

That is all I have for now. I think I will look out my office window at the wide open lake. Do you know that the East Bay seldom freezes over? Maybe with some of this great dry suit gear, I could go out and paddle around some. Or, maybe get another cup of coffee and watch the sea smoke on the horizon.

By Jack Stone

Over the past few years, Stone Harbor has been on the cutting edge in terms of
backcountry skiing with our offering of the Altai HOK ski. Over this time, I have talked to many about the skis, reciting what I heard from the company, web sites and employees who have used them.

This year as I was ordering more, Nils, the owner of Altai, asked me an embarrassing question. He asked how I like his skis myself. I sort of stuttered a bit and admitted that I have never used them.

Wow, what an admission. I knew they were very well received by customers and staff alike but I have been so involved in other stuff I had not been on them. Finally, on Christmas Eve, this changed.

Jack is a HOK convert!

The first thing I noticed was that it would have been a lot easier to adjust the length of the bindings in the comfort of my house or garage. Snow is cold on the fingers when doing this on the trail. Fortunately, they are easily adjusted and attaching the skis to your boots is a snap.

Off to the trail. It started out with a slight incline and all went well. I got to the the intersection of the forest service road and the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT for us locals) and I was off. My first impression was admittedly underwhelmed. I kind of scratched my head and asked, “is this all there is?” I then got very distracted by some wonderful scenery. A winter wonderland. Snow shrouded trees. Quiet–only the sound of the skis. Then I realized I had relaxed and I was no longer fighting the skis, the trail, the ups and downs. The longer I skied, the further I went, I found myself, to steal a cliché, one with the skis. And since I am at it, one with the trail and one with the moment.

I left the SHT and returned to the forest service road I had started on. The experience was one that I will not soon forget and one I am looking forward to repeating later this week with my grandkids. Now I know what everyone has been raving about.

If you are in the area, stop in a rent some of these. Be forewarned, many who rent these skis come back and purchase a set of their own. But have no fear, we will deduct your rental from your purchase price.

By Jack Stone

Our ski season seemed to be getting off to a slow start. We had a warm October and November. We started wondering if we put our boats away too soon. Our new Salomon skis and boots came in and we were wondering if we were ever going to see snow. Then it came, only to melt away and break our hearts once again. However, in the past couple of days the snows have come again and all indications are that it is going to continue to come down and our temps are going to continue to go down.

So you may ask, what can Stone Harbor do for you this winter. Let’s start by mentioning that we have all the base layers and ski clothing you will ever need. But you already knew that. Our clothes and accessories selection is as good as any you will find anywhere. And remember that even if you are not coming to see us soon, you can buy from our on-line store. Don’t see what you want? Give us a call. There is a good chance we can help you from our store stock.

If you are coming to town, remember we have a great selection of rental skis and snowshoes. You can reserve the equipment by going to our web site. We have skis for the groomed trails and a limited number of skis for back country. You have your own skis? We have a great selection of waxes, scrapers, irons and other accessories.

You don’t know how to get to a great ski trail? We have developed a Cook County map that shows all the ski areas, snowshoe and snowmobile trails. It even show the dog-friendly trails in case you want to try some skijoring. And we have those harnesses for rent also.

I almost forgot (well, maybe not)– we have a good selection of new ski packages for sale. Skis and boots by Salomon and Madshus. Back country skis by Altai and Sporten that are a combination ski and snowshoes. And speaking of snowshoes, we have MSR and Crescent Moon equipment for sale also.

So come on in and see us. We have you covered for your next winter adventure.

by Colleen Kleve

As yet another winter season approaches, many of us do an inventory of our clothing. We diligently label our clothing as “everyday apparel,” “workout wear” and “winter gear.” This has been the case all our lives–all the way back to the snowmobile suits and boots pulled out of storage when we were six years old. And this segregation of clothing means our desire to be fashionable has been sacrificed by the need to be warm.

skhoop-down-skirt-north-shore-mn-apparelWell, I am happy to report the trend in outdoor wear is morphing so that no such sacrifice is required! Many things have forced the big names in outdoor wear to look closer at the demands of today’s consumer. Some of the key drivers are words we didn’t carry in our daily vocabulary just a decade ago. Millennial, Athleisure, and Social Media are three major drivers for designers these days. Throw in a new generation who gravitate toward minimalistic lifestyles and environmentally consciousness, and it scores a win for all of us in outdoor apparel.

Many of our vendors now coordinate their lines in a lifestyle approach to outdoor wear. You can create ensembles from their entire lines, instilling the mix and match method to wardrobes for the outdoors. Most pieces now easily transition from a day of skiing or winter hiking into a night watching a Wild game while cozied up to the fire – the very definition of Athleisure. Athleisure is a style driven by the Millennials and adopted by nearly all of us.

Stone Harbor has a fresh new look in store for this winter season. We are very pleased with the inventory and how it adopts the new style of outdoor wear while still holding on to tradition. From our Marmot Scree pants to our Skhoop down mini-skirts and everything in between, we can fit your outdoor/lifestyle apparel needs. Let us help you find that new go-to piece you can’t live without.


Fashion Notes

In the top photo, Susan is wearing an Orange Mini Down Skhoop SkirtPrana Ashley LeggingsRoyal Robbins Essential Tencel Sun CoverKrimson Klover Top it Off SweaterPistil Jensen Hat, and Bogs Sidney Wool Women’s Lightweight Rain Boots.

In the bottom photo, Susan has on a Black Skhoop Reversible Down Skirt,  Krimson Klover TightsPrana Cedric SweaterIbex woolly Top, Pistil Channing Hat, Ahnu Sugar Peak Insulated Boot.

Web Master Note: Let’s talk about those boots in the top picture for a minute. You can’t see them and you really should see them because they rock! But hey, they didn’t fit in the picture. So if you didn’t already click on the link for the boots, use this link to get a look at them for yourself: awesome black see-them-for-yourself boots.

 

 

by Jackson Nickolay

The winter season is nearly upon us, which has us here at Stone Harbor all excited. It won’t be long now before our pastimes can return to skiing, snowshoeing, skijoring, sledding and all the other awesome winter snow activities that are available to us up here in the Northwoods of Minnesota.

Of course, with this great winter fun comes the cold and the ever present struggle to stay warm. After all, nothing spoils a good cross country ski trip more than to start shivering a mile in.

Which is why we’re also excited about our run of Terramar baselayers for the winter season. If you’re seeking the solution to winter cold, look no further than Terramar–they have some of the best insulating layers you can find. They start with this awesome ClimaSense proprietary fabric formulated to adapt to your body’s changing needs for heat and breathability. Then they add Intelliscent technology with antimicrobial properties, which cuts down stink on the molecular level. And they top it off with reflex 3-dimensional stretch fabric for a comfortable fit. Terramar gets you out in the cold doing what you love.

But hey, don’t take our word for it. Swing by the store and try some on for yourself. Or check out our stock of Terramar items online. You won’t regret it.

Happy exploring!

terramar-base-layers-on-sale-grand-marais-shop-online

 

 

by Joshua Joswiak

Anyone who’s worn a down jacket knows that feeling of being trapped in a giant marshmallow. While that is a cozy feeling when insulation is a top priority, limited range of motion can be problematic for certain winter activities. Looking for the best of both worlds? Allow me to introduce Mountain Hardwear’s revolutionary new StretchDownTM Jacket.

Picture of Josh easily lifting a canoe while wearing the Mountain Hardware Stretchdown Jacket The Technology

The StretchDown Jacket’s key feature is of course its stretchiness. Believe me when I tell you, this jacket gives the wearer an absolutely unparalleled range of motion. Mountain Hardwear achieved this by using a state-of-the-art stretch-welded construction technique. Essentially replacing conventional stitching between the down panels with stretch-welded seams. Not only does this construction process make this down jacket unbelievably stretchy, it turns out that it also traps more warmth than standard stitch-construction.

Remember what I said about having the best of both worlds? This stretchy jacket still gives you that cozy down feel. Inside the stretch-welded down channels you’ll find 750-fill Q-Shield© DOWN. This water repellent infused down provides excellent insulation, and will even maintain its loft and insulating properties when wet.

The Beauty

The beauty of the StretchDown Jacket is in its versatility. Like many down jackets, it is a great choice for around town, hitting the slopes, or even shoveling the driveway. Unlike conventional stitch-constructed down jackets, it’s the perfect choice for activities that demand mobility. From chopping wood, to rock climbing, cross-country skiing, and ice climbing, the StretchDown Jacket is built for it all.

Finally, a down jacket that doesn’t hinder movement, and is perfect for any highly mobile sport. Well done Mountain Hardware.

 


Webmaster Note: This might be your day to buy a lottery ticket. Not only can you get the brand new StretchDown Jacket in our store or at shop.stoneharborws.com, it’s also 25% off through Monday, September 12th. Check it out here.

 

by Jackson Nickolay

This past weekend, we here at Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply put on one of our favorite events of the year: the North Shore Water Festival. The Water Festival is a chance for anyone who wants to get out on the water whether it be in a kayak, a canoe or a stand up paddle board to go out and do just that.

We had so much fun this year! Thanks to our epic team of Stone Harbor guides—Mitch, Kalyn, Saeward, Sean, James, Mike and Keegan—we were able to get pretty much everyone out on the water and enjoying themselves.

North-Shore-SUP-yoga-Lake-SuperiorAmanda Weberg, AIS Coordinator for the DNR, was telling people about invasive aquatics, while Simone Strand  and Laurel Wilson from Northwoods Volunteer Connection talked about volunteering on natural resource projects. And Jodi Tervo Roberts of E3 Twin Ports, LLC gave presentations on the health benefits of outdoor fitness.

So many of our reps came this year too, which made the whole event super fun. Katie Vinohradsky showed up with Wilderness Systems Kayaks and Boardworks SUPs. And did you see the motor she put on a fishing kayak? Ask James, our fishing guide, what he thinks about it. Dave Larsen from Astral & Hurricane Kayaks hung out with us both days. Sven Hoaglund was there and showed off some of the fantastic hammocks from Eagles Nest Outfitters (ENO). Paul Gerten came out to the party too and showed off some great Nemo gear, as well as some exciting new paddle boards from Jobe. We also had Rick Thompson join us and he was such an active part of the festival. He demonstrated and talked about his Eddyline Kayaks as well as the stand up paddle boards from Pau Hana all day long, even offering one-on-one kayak instruction.

We also had a great turnout for our stand up paddle board yoga classes. Our yoga master, Tara Gorman, led some terrific yoga classes on top of the Big EZ SUP from Pau Hana and Ann Papenfuss was always around to lead clinics on stand up paddle boarding and to take people who were interested out on the water for an introduction to the SUP.

Every year we do this, we get more and more excited about doing it again. It’s a lot of work and takes a lot of time and effort, but in return we have a great time with all you folks who come down to get out on the water and have some fun. Thank you all so much for making this festival such a special event. We’ll see you next year!

 

by Jackson Nickolay

A couple weeks ago I took the Nemo Losi 3p tent out to give it a run in the Superior National Forest. Despite the fact that we started late, it rained, and the bugs decided we looked like a tasty entree, we had a great time. And most of that had to do with the fact that we bought the Losi 3p along.

Here are my top four favorite things about Nemo’s Losi 3p tent:

Nemo-Losi-tent-interior1. All in one place.

The first thing of note about the Losi is it’s super compact stuff sack. The roll out design contains all required pieces of the Losi within one sack and rolls up to 23” x 7” and around five pounds for either stuffing in your pack or attaching to the pack exterior.

2. This tent sets up super fast!

I kid you not, it takes no more than five minutes to set up the Losi. The ease and speed with which this tent goes up is phenomenal. The innovative Jake’s feet “ball-and socket” snap in corners make getting the tent upright a breeze and the integrated snap points for the rain fly are easy to use and again make the process extremely streamlined. A couple stakes later and we are set. The Losi rain fly secures to eight stake points with the option for more ties, in case you get caught in a windstorm.

Nemo-Losi-interior-Pockets

3. A liveable space.

As I said, the bugs were out in full force that night, so we spent a good deal of time inside the Losi. The interior of the tent was spacious, even with Nemo’s gear loft in. There were four of us chillin’ in that tent for about three hours, playing games and hanging out and there was room to spare. We could have easily fit another three people in there, if we had needed to do so. The large vestibules and included storage pouches helped immensely with organization. Add the gear loft to that equation and we kept all of our gear safe and dry and still had a ton of open tent space.

4. Dry as a bone.

Halfway through the night, we got poured on. A huge rain system came through and just dumped on us. But the waterproof base on the Losi had our backs (literally). We weathered the storm without incident and were completely dry the next day.

Nemo’s Losi 3p tent really made the trip. It was an ideal hangout when the bugs were crazy; an effective shelter from the storm; took no more than five minutes to put up or take down; and a splendid time was had by all!

Want to see the setup in action? Check it out here. Yea, Stone Harbor has a YouTube channel. Keep checking back for more great video.

Nemo-Losi-Tent-Review

Cook-County-Recreational-Trail-MapBefore moving to Cook County about 10 years ago, I spent every long weekend and vacation I could spare in Cook County. The time of year did not matter. All that mattered was getting out of the big city and find some solitude.

I bought all the hiking books I could find and searched out trail maps. In recent years I spent a lot of time on the internet looking for more trails. As I was looking at the different maps, I realized I could find individual maps of the Superior Hiking Trail, Border Route Trail and others. I could go to the MN DNR site and print out individual maps; the same with the National Forest Service. There were maps of the county but they were mostly road maps or canoe maps. None of these showed which roads to get to the trail heads or where one trail is located in perspective with other trails.

When I opened Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply seven years ago, customers would ask us where to hike. We usually marked up a free map or the Cook County map, which again is a road map. We poured over canoe maps but roads were hard to find on those maps, so we had some trails marked but it was still difficult to show how to get to the trail heads. And to show the entire county, we had to sell a combination of several maps that were great for canoeing but not so good for hiking.

A few months ago I started working with Tony Kroska of the Bismarck Map Company out of Duluth. He listened to my tale of woe and came up with what I feel is the most comprehensive hiking map available for Cook County. We tried to list most of the hiking trails in the county.

Over the next couple of months we may find that we may have missed a couple of trails. If you have a favorite, or not so favorite trail that we missed, please let us know so we can add it next time. In the meantime, pick up a copy at either our store or eCommerce site. There are a number of retail stores in the county who are also carrying it so stop in at one of the local shops and ask for it. At $14.95 it is a heck of reference, if I do say so myself.

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