In a few days our musher, Erik Simula, will begin an extraordinary journey. He will take off in a birch bark canoe to head across the Minnesota Arrowhead, following a route that probably hasn’t been paddled in a birch bark canoe for a very long time.
Those of you who have met Erik already know that he is an interesting person, with a long history of wilderness adventuring. He created a mushing program this winter at Bearskin that is quite unlike the usual dog sledding experience. A mushing trip with Erik is not just a ride, it is an education. Day after day our guests would return from mushing in total awe of all that they had experienced on their dogsled trip into the BWCA wilderness with Erik.
If you Google the name “Erik Simula,” you’ll soon find that what Erik is truly renowned for is his skill and artistry as one of the few remaining birch bark canoe builders. Each summer he demonstrates this art at the Grand Portage Historical Center. Over the years hundreds of tourists have watched Erik at work building canoes.
The journey he is about to begin is a life dream for Erik. He will start at the Pigeon River, then head down Lake Superior to the St. Louis River in Duluth. Anyone familiar with Lake Superior will realize that this could be a very dangerous portion of his trip. If you are traveling along Highway 61 this spring, watch for him.
At the St. Louis River, he will begin working his way across Minnesota in much the same way fur traders and voyageurs traveled, heading across the Savanna Portage towards Grand Rapids to attend his daughter’s high school graduation. Then he’ll continue upriver to Lake Winnibigoshish, up to the border lakes and eventually, after a 1000 mile trip, arrive back for the Rendezvous in Grand Portage in August.
Erik will keep a journal of his journey on this blog: http://arrowheadjourney.wordpress.com/
Follow along. It should be a fascinating trip.