Monday, August 23, 2010

We're back!

I've been away, paddling in Quetico Park in Ontario, Canada, but now I'm back in town. Quetico Park is a huge protected wilderness area of lakes, rivers, bogs and pine forests in the central part of the continent, just north and adjacent to the Boundary Waters (northern MN).We (Mark & Margaret) spent 9 days paddling a big loop of about 165 miles, with 42 portages. The portages are trails that connect adjacent bodies of water, and on these portage routes the canoe and equipment are carried; on our trip the portages varied from about a mile to as short as the width of a beaver dam.

Much of the trip was spent paddling the historic routes of the Voyageurs, the fur traders who transported goods across the continent on water routes. The canoe routes and portage trails in the Quetico wilderness have been used for literally thousands of years by the original inhabitants of the north woods, and appear almost unchanged today.

Mosquitoes were an issue, thus long sleeves, hats, and long pants. DEET was used liberally. I will resist the temptation to go on a rant about mosquitoes.

For us, our annual canoe trips are a great break from our normal working lives; we try to plan a new trip each summer. For Margaret in particular, this was a big trip since it occurred 11 months after back surgery to replace her L5/S1 lumbar disk with an artificial disk. Margaret was paddling 7-9 hours per day, and shouldering a 50 lb. pack on the portage trails with no problems.

Back in the shop:
I'm back in the shop part time now, getting ready to roll full time in mid-September. There's already a steady stream of skis arriving for service, and I'm getting things ready for the arrival of new skis from Atomic, Madshus, and Rossignol. It's an exciting time at Ultratune, even if the snow won't arrive for a couple more months.

Keep an eye out for more frequent posts here. After a great trip to rejuvenate the spirit, I'm back with a big smile and ready to roll into the ski season.

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