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North-Shore-Water-Festival-Grand-Marais-MN-kayaks

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!

 

Four-things-you-need-to-know-about-nemo-losi-3p-tent

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.

Partridge-Falls-MN-My-Kid-is-a-Great-Dad

Partidge-Falls-Minnesota-after-storms-2016

Bluebells-Partridge-Falls-MN-2016

A while back I posted a picture on Facebook that I took of my son and grandson standing stream side just above Partridge Falls. It was a special moment for me to watch the two of them in a reflective moment. Beautiful river, beautiful day. And it capped off a wonderful North Shore visit.

Several days ago, I revisited Partridge Falls. The water was roaring after a lot of spring storms. I never did get to the base of the falls. The trail leading down was quite wet and even if I had scrambled down, the water level was so high I would not have been able to get good footing for a picture. While I was walking above the falls, I was reminded of that wonderful summer day when I was out with the guys.

Today as we celebrate Father’s Day, I am thinking of what great parents all of my children have become. And Partridge Falls reminds me why I love the northland and why I enjoy sharing the area with them. Of course, it also reminds me how much I miss my kids and grandkids when I am separated by so many miles. But I always have my memories of special days like that one.

For all of you reading this, cherish moments like this and have a Happy Father’s Day.

 

Picture of Josh working on the Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply e-commerce site.

Is that computer mouse now permanently attached to Josh’s hand?

In June of 2010 we opened the doors of Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply. Our mission has been to bring high quality gear and adventures to the residents of Cook County and the many visitors that come to our area throughout the year. Since 2010, many of you have asked whether you could buy gear from us from the comfort of your home. We have accommodated many of you on an individual basis but have not wanted to jump into the wonderful world of eCommerce until we had our product mix and expertise to a point where we were comfortable.

That day has finally arrived. For the past few months, two of our employees have been locked in a back room preparing the the launch of our new eCommerce site. We have been adding many, many of the products we have in our store to this site and will be continually updating it as we go along. We hope we have all the kinks out of the system and with the expertise and diligence of Josh and Jackson, we are confident we are ready to go. We ask your patience if you encounter some early glitches but we are confident that you will find our site easy to navigate and shop. We hope that you will think of us for all you outdoor gear needs in the future and are excited to be able to take care of those needs not only when you visit our store but year around from the confines of your living room.

Want to check it out for yourself? Simply click on the Shop button on our web site–it takes you right to the Stone Harbor eCommerce site.

Picture of Jackson looking at a picture of the Grand Marais Water Festival on his computer

Jackson dreams of the Big Lake from his computer.

I must caution you however, that we cannot offer to send you a guide to take you kayaking or fishing on your local lake or stream. You will still need to visit us at our store in Grand Marais. But who knows? With today’s technology, maybe we can offer that in the future. Meanwhile, enjoy looking through our site. Let us know what you think. Sign up for our loyalty program to earn points on your purchases. And don’t forget to continue to come and see us in Grand Marais. We do not want to lose that personal contact with each and every one of you.

Jack Stone

May 2016

Picture of two women in inflatable sumo wrestler suits with Lake Superior in the background.Why did the sumo wrestler, deer hunter, and summer camper get into the same fishing boat? Why to get to Fisherman’s Picnic of course!

It’s that time of year here in Grand Marais! The Grand Marais Lions have once again put together a collection of wonderful activities for July 29 through August 2. The town is pulling out all the stops for this weekend and the music, food and fun will be flowing from every corner!

And in Stone Harbor’s corner is Sumo Wrestling for Charity! Stop on by the store Thursday, Friday and Saturday to take on your friends in inflatable sumo wrestling suits. Wrestling bouts are starting at 10 am and running until 5 pm. Aspiring sumo wrestlers must be 10 years of age or older.

The beneficiaries of all this inflated fun are the Coldwater Foundation of Grand Marais and Forkhorn Youth Summer Camps of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association. A $5 per person donation is requested for 5 rounds of glory. Larger donations are of course welcome.

While you are waiting to flatten your friends in the ring, be sure to stop by our sidewalk sale for killer deals and to check out the store for 15% off savings on all sorts of great gear. And join Yvonne Caruthers and Jennifer Wildeson for cello and violin music from 1 to 3 pm on Saturday.

The log rollers and lumberjacks may be in the harbor but the sumo wrestlers are on the East Bay!

Coldwater Foundation logoCOLDWATER FOUNDATION

A small non-profit organization in northern Minnesota utilizing two experiential strategies: adventure education and service-learning to encourage people in the development of character and practice of Christian virtue.

FORKHORN YOUTH SUMMER CAMPSForkhorn Youth Summer Camp logo

The Minnesota Deer Hunters Association believes that educating hunters is key to perpetuating Minnesota’s outdoor heritage and that the best tool of wildlife and ecosystem education is instilling a greater appreciation for our natural resources in our children. MDHA’s method is Forkhorn Youth Summer Camps. Since 1985, thousands of youth have attended Forkhorn Camps. MDHA currently collaborates with seven facilities around the state to implement camp sessions for youth ages 11-17. MDHA’s Forkhorn camps have developed remarkably since their inception, but their aim remains the same: youth education.

North-Shore-Water-Festival-2015-Web-Site-Event

Summer is in full swing here on the Norwegian Riviera and Stone Harbor has been hopping! We have all sorts of crazy events, fantastic tours and oh yeah, a bunch of awesome gear for your summer adventures.

This weekend we are taking things up a notch with the North Shore Water Festival. It’s your chance try out the latest water toys and gear for free!

Paddle boards are a fantastic way to explore the lakes of Minnesota. We have boards from BIC SUP and Pau Hana Surf Supply in the Grand Marais Harbor. While you are there, check out SUP yoga! Stone Harbor is hosting certified yoga instructor Tara Gorman and her canine side kick Casey for free SUP yoga classes. Pre-register online to save your spot.

Cook County knows paddle sports, so a water festival isn’t complete without the newest canoes, fishing kayaks and touring kayaks from Eddyline, Wilderness Systems, Langford and Nova Craft. Stop at the East Bay behind Stone Harbor to take something out for a test paddle and talk to reps for the lowdown on their newest gear.

Want to trick out your new boat or find  your next camping gizmo? The Grand Marais Harbor has vendor exhibits from ENO hammocksSealskinz, Yakima Racks, Seattle Sports, Frost River, NEMO Equipment, Cascade Designs, CAMP CHOW, Outdoor ResearchWoolrich, KEEN and Granger’s.

Join us Saturday, July 18th from 9:30 to 4:00 and Sunday, July 19th from 10:30 to 3:30. And keep an eye on Stone Harbor’s Facebook page for updates and photos of the festivities!

Picture of Theodore Roosevelt seated on a horse. In the background there is a train car and several other men on horseback.

President Theodore Roosevelt at Yellowstone.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Presidents Day was set up to commemorate Washington’s birthday. When I was a kid…and maybe when you were a kid…there were two presidential holidays: one for Washington’s birthday on Feb 22 and another for Lincoln’s on February 12. In 1971 they combined the two for a holiday, even though they still have the birthdays separate in some states. It is now a day to commemorate all presidents.

So many presidents have done a bit for the outdoors and environment. Theodore Roosevelt established the first National Park: Yellowstone. And he formed the National Park System. LBJ, or more so Lady Bird Johnson, started a whole program to beautify America and clean up our roads. I remember as a kid driving to Colorado in the summer and seeing trash in all the ditches. Heck I remember dumping my ash tray out at a stop light (yes I was a pig). Lady Bird turned the whole country’s consciousness to beautifying our roadways. And Bill Clinton was great at establishing National Monuments.

So the question is, how to approach? My suggestion is a small history of the holiday, starting this year with Teddy Roosevelt. I can admit by bias here: he is one of my heroes. Next time we can point out someone else.

Picture of Jan on Hok skis looking down a small slope for more snow.

That’s Jan looking far and wide for snow to explore with her Altai Hok skis.

It’s the beginning of December and zero degrees. What do I do in such conditions? I get out and look for more snow, that’s what I do. I am so excited to get back on my Altai Hok skis that I may appear desperate.

I can’t wait for the workout of traversing hither and yon through the woods wth the traction of snowshoes and the glide of skis! Exploring by Hok is my favorite winter activity now. (My complete list of winter activities includes alpine and Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, fat biking and simply sitting in snow banks, so that’s a long list to choose from.)

The universal binding of the Hok allows me to use whatever footwear is best for the conditions on any day, whether that be my backpacking boots, or my mukluks, or even a big honking Baffin pack boot. The skis are wonderfully maneuverable because of their short length. And the metal edge helps with grip on icy terrain. The integrated climbing skin allows me to go up and the glide on the down side is controlled and so much more efficient than snowshoes!

Picture of Jan's Hok skis and her legs. Clearly the skis have taken center stage in this picture

Oh the places you can go with your Hok skis!

I am getting so caught up in the wonder of my Hok skis that I almost forgot to mention they make wonderful Christmas gifts! I recommend including a few accessories so the happy recipient can immediately put these beauties to use. First of all, add some trekking poles. I don’t always use poles, so my trekking poles can easily be collapsed and put in a pack. Then they are available if terrain dictates their need. Secondly, I like to use skin wax–it prevents the snow from slushing up and freezing on the bottom. Lastly, I use glide wax on the tip and tails to maintain that glorious glide on the down side. As long as your recipient has warm winter clothing and boota, that’s all that is needed for exploring by Hok.

Once we get more snow, I am getting out on my own Hok skis. Until then, you can find me looking skyward in hopeful anticipation. Let it snow!

Night-time picture of Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply in Grand Marais MN

Stone Harbor has come a long way since we first opened and there are a lot of people to thank for that.

There are some special people that I would like to thank as we come into the Thanksgiving season and as we have finished up our 5th summer in Grand Marais. Hardly a day goes by that someone does not come into the store and tell me how great it looks and how much they like the design and the way it is merchandised. So let’s start at the beginning.

When I decided to buy the property and remodel the store the first people I needed to track down were an architect and a designer. Tom Barbeau was the original architect of the store along with a local designer, Richard Olson, that he has worked with for years, so that is where I started. We pulled out the original plans of the store and added some area and finished off the back areas and third floor. They made some changes to the floor plan and we were on our way.

Next we needed a general contractor and Tom got me in touch with Arno Kahn of Builder’s Commonwealth of Duluth since they too worked on the building when it first went up. I was reluctant to use out of Cook County contractors for the work and came to an agreement that we would use Cook County labor in almost all instances. Our local labor force is as good as it gets and if I was going to live here and have a store here, it was imperative that we had “locals” doing the majority of the work.

While we were putting the store up we needed to put together a staff that was knowledgeable about the outdoors and the area and had a feel for what the consumer needed to enjoy our area. We quickly put together a staff that did a fabulous job of getting the store up and ready for our grand opening. Some of those same people are still here today. Others have moved on but we have always been able to find great people to take their place.

Social media was next. Kristin Walters set up our web site and Facebook originally and set the stage for what we have today. When Kristin left us we were so fortunate to bring in Ann Papenfuss of Apirlaät who picked up where Kristin left off and has made our web site and Facebook what it is today.

Next I looked around and even though I was extremely pleased with the talents of the staff in terms of merchandising, I felt we needed an outside touch so I brought in Colleen Kleve and Tracey Lundhagen of Double Vision to help put a professional touch on our displays and it too has paid off.

I mention all of this so that next time you come in the store you will know where the talent comes from. We go form the architect, designer, builders all the way to the staff, which of course is the most important asset I have. And on a personal note, two people who were most instrumental in the whole initial planning and implementation of the concept were Kristin Walters, my daughter and Eric Stone, my son who was my initial CFO.

So, if you are ever looking for help with your projects, do not hesitate to contact any of those I have mentioned above. Most of my local contractors do not have web sites or Facebooks but do not hesitate to call me when looking for recommendations.

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