Friday, February 27, 2009

Rolf Hugenvik, Poplar Lake Summer Home- 1925-2009

Ina Hugenvik- Rolf Hugenvik (Huggie) was born in 1925 and served in the Army during WWII. While stationed in the Philippines, he saw a picture in a Sunday news magazine of a northern lake with blue sky and pointy evergreen trees. He wrote his mother that he would like to have a cabin some day on a lake like that. Fast forward to 1948: His parents happened to know Doc Remple’s wife and somehow made it to the Gunflint Trail to visit her. Doc showed Huggie the lots he had for sale, completely wooded over with downed trees, brush and raspberry bushes but with plenty of those pointy trees as well as a big pine or two. Huggie could see there was an island in front of the lot and possibly a view to the east and so he thought this would be a good location, if he could get it cleared enough to erect a simple shack for hunting and fishing. Later Remple sent a note that a professor from Iowa was interested in buying some land but Huggie and his mother, Dora, had first choice. Dora sent the money, $800.00 for 200 feet of shoreline at $4.00 a foot. A lot of money in 1948. His sister, Ninnia, bought the adjoining lot to the west for, I think, $5.00 a foot because it was lower and closer to the water. The professor from Iowa (Keitha Herron’s father) bought a different lot west of the Huggenvik spot.

The rest is known history. The following year, with no experience in building anything except a car, Huggie started clearing space enough to erect a simple 16’ x 30’ cabin, buying supplies wherever he could get them, carrying them through the woods on his back or rowing them over in Remple’s boat. He had minimal tools - hammer, handsaw, drawknife, but no ladder. He eventually made a ladder out of small logs. A friend, Al Anderson, from Northfield, helped occasionally and Dora came up to cook. Eventually the mosquitoes were so bad that Huggie sent her home.

The following year he built a similar cabin for his sister Ninnia, on the lot she and Bob, her husband, had purchased. The cabin was furnished with leftovers from home, stuff that was no longer needed or wanted at his parent’s house, or he built emergency items such as a bed, shelves, a booth for eating by the big window looking into the woods. An oil drum-like stove provided heat and a two burner white gas stove was used for cooking. No refrigerator. No running water unless you consider running to the lake with a bucket to be that convenient. Bath time? Go jump in the lake.

Sixty years later, after many additions, renovations, changes, additional small buildings and more land behind the original lot, Huggie decided his quilt (his term for the cabin and site) was finished and turned over the responsibility for it to his four children who had been co-owners for many years.

Huggie was diagnosed with glimo blastome, an inoperable, incurable brain tumor in July of 2008 and died at his Green Valley home January 26, 2009.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

New Ski Trail Association Formed on Gunflint Trail

Grand Marais, MN – Boundary Country Trekking, Gunflint Trail area residents, and several members of the Twin Cities-based North Star Ski Touring Club (NSSTC) have joined together to form the Banadad Trail Association (BTA). According to Karen Monsen, the association’s new president and NSSTC member, “the purpose of the association is to maintain and enhance the Banadad Ski Trail, preserve the history of the forest and the trail, and promote the appreciation and care of wilderness lands”.

The new association will manage the 46-kilometer Banadad Ski Trail system that includes the Banadad Trail (the BWCAW’s longest tracked trail), the Lace Lake Trail, the Tim Knopp Trail, and the Tall Pines and Seppala Trails. The trail system is centrally located along the 200-kilometer Gunflint Nordic Trail system.

The organization’s founding meeting was held February 14 on the Gunflint Trail to adopt by-laws and elect a Board of Directors. In addition to President Monsen, the board includes Vice President Linda Bosma of Minneapolis, Treasurer Karla Miller of Duluth, and Secretary Barb Bottger of Hungry Jack Lake. Elected as at-large board members were Jim Morrison of Poplar Lake, Wayne Monsen of Stillwater, Tom Rice of Shoreview, Mel Peterson of St. Paul, Peter Spink of Poplar Lake and Minneapolis, John Bottger of Hungry Jack Lake, and Anne Rykken of St. Paul.

Following the meeting, the board met and selected Ted Young of Boundary Country Trekking to continue to serve as the trail maintenance manager. Board members were also assigned responsibility for incorporating the new association as a non-profit organization.

Until a permanent mailing address and e-mail account are established, the Banadad Trail Association can be reached by e-mail at

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Gunflint Winter Tracks Festival-2009

Gunflint Trail, MN-The Gunflint Trail presents the fifth annual Winter Tracks, a festival to celebrate winter. This year’s event is scheduled from February 26 March 1, at a variety of locations along northeastern Minnesota’s Gunflint Trail. The members of the Gunflint Trail Association invite everyone to “Come on up and play like we do!”

"We have a well-rounded festival with great opportunities for all ages to experience wintertime fun on the Trail. More and more families are discovering the classic outdoor fun of winter recreation and activities in the northwoods. Go to to view and download our brochure to plan your itinerary,” says Barb Gecas, an
event organizer and co-owner of Heston’s Lodge.

In addition to all the Winter Tracks favorites such as the Mini Winter Olympics, broomball games, snowshoeing, free skiing on the Gunflint Trail Nordic Ski Trail System, snowmobile Radar Run and Poker Run, ice fishing, dog sled rides, indoor traditional crafts and wilderness demonstrations, the Mongolian Firepot Dinner, and, of course, the Snow Boot Ball, there are some exciting new additions to the Winter Tracks events.

Saturday on Gunflint Lake a Ski Kiting demonstration will be conducted by kiter Darren McChristie from Thunder Bay, Ontario. Other new event are the Bearskin Wilderness Pursuit Ski Race ( with sprints and kids’ races on Friday, freestyle on Saturday, and classic on Sunday. At the Gunflint Conference Center on Saturday storyteller Rose Arrowsmith Decoux, Artist and Author Kelly Dupre, and Kite boarding Instructor Darren McChristie will be featured.

Other new activities include a Wolf Howling Night Hike and a Boreal Birding Hike at Gunflint Lodge, a Snow Sculpture Competition at Heston’s Lodge on Saturday, and Sleigh Rides at Okontoe throughout the festival.

On Friday evening, the popular radio show The Road House, will broadcast live from Trail Center, courtesy of WTIP 90.7 and 91.7 FM. Enjoy dinner while you listen, then stay for a story telling session.

On Saturday night, everyone is invited to the Snow Boot Ball and Festival Banquet at Gunflint Lodge. Enjoy dinner and dancing with the Trail’s End Band, a local favorite.

The festival is open to the public, and many of the events are free. Register at your host lodge or at Trail Center to receive your festival button.

To learn more about the Gunflint Trail, and to find lodging, visit us
at or call

For Winter Tracks information, visit or call

Labels: ,

Monday, February 09, 2009

Gunflint B&B offers Art in the Woods

This past weekend Poplar Creek Guesthouse B&B sponsored art classes by noted Cloquet, Minnesota painter and art instructor Sue Pavlato. Six Duluth women attended the Saturday morning session held at the Little Ollie Cabin while in the afternoon five women from Brainerd receive art instruction at the Tall Pine Yurt. After the art class in the yurt, Pavlato stated, “this is a first for me, Art in a Yurt!” The painting subject at both sessions was a lone skier skiing alongside of a creek.

When not painting the women along with other guest got in some great skiing of their own on the Banadad and Lace Lake Trails.

After the success of this past weekend classes, Pavlato has agreed to scheduled art classes for the weekend of April 24 at Poplar Creek Guesthouse B&B.