Many Bearskin Lodge guests who read this blog also frequently follow Erik Simula’s Arrowhead Journey online. Erik created the winter mushing program at Bearskin Lodge, which was a huge success last winter, primarily because Erik is so articulate and interesting. Summer Bearskin guests may have met Erik in his role as a Grand Portage National Monument park ranger, demonstrating the skill of building birch bark canoes for hundreds of visitors every year.
Long story short, Erik and his dog Kitigan ran into a little adventure on the journey going through Duluth. Links to the Duluth News Tribune articles, as well as a variety of blogs commenting on the story, can be found at Arrowhead Journey.
We have two of Erik’s birch bark canoes at Bearskin now, one hanging in the Lodge so you can see its delicate construction and another that will be available for guests to paddle this summer. (But you’ll be paddling on the bay of East Bearskin, not on Lake Superior!)
Erik’s canoes are beautiful works of art. History has established that a birch bark canoe is a sturdy mode of transportation. But when you’re just standing in the lodge under Erik’s canoe, peering at the sections of bark held together with pine pitch over a wooden frame, not many of us would be inspired to think, “I feel a strong need to paddle this 13 foot chunk of seamed-together bark down the world’s biggest freshwater lake, then against the current on raging, rock-filled rivers for 1000 miles.”
Erik’s journey is amazing. For most of us, a little paddle around the East Bearskin Lake bay will be enough of an exciting birch bark canoe adventure.