Odds are you'll take any excuse to take a short reprieve when October arrives. The newness of the school year wore off, and by then, the hustle and bustle of work and activities mount knowing an even busier holiday season looms around the bend.
An autumn break to Rainy Lake offers a unique splendor you deserve to experience. Two particular weekends come to mind: October 5-6 and October 19-20.
Changing Leaves: October 5-6
Nothing symbolizes fall more than leaves changing color, and the backdrop of Voyageur National Park provides a particularly gorgeous setting. While partial change begins in late September, the park reaches its peak during the weekend. Grab a light jacket, get on the water, and watch the ablaze foliage shimmer its spectrum of crimson and amber.
It's the time of year where the air crispens and wildlife begin their Minnesota goodbyes. See them before they leave for winter.
Orionid Meteor Shower: October 19-20
Late in the month, the remnants of Hailey's Comet explode through the sky off of the belt of the Orion constellation. Bundle up a bit, as temperatures will hover around freezing, or better yet, cozy up next to a loved one under a blanket and fix your eyes on the midnight sky. There's no need to pack a telescope or binoculars. Your naked eye is more than enough to see these interstellar ice shards vaulting their way through the darkness.
Experts predict the peak of the shower to happen on Monday or Tuesday if you can extend your visit, and you should. The light of the moon often masks the full meteor display, but in 2019, the lunar calendar predicts a three-quarter moon going into a dark, new moon. Less light. More magic.
Forget Friday Night Lights for one week and see natural wonders up close. You may even witness a more spectacular set of lights, the Northern Lights. Use our predictor tool to see what Aurora Borealis is up to during your visit.
September will come and go quicker than you think. Plan your mini vacation before it’s too late. We can help.
They say "time flies when you're having fun." If the length of a day is equivalent to how much fun you can have then June 21 gives the most opportunity for fun! June 21, which is known as the Summer Solstice, is the first official day of Summer. In the Rainy Lake area of Northern Minnesota we consider Memorial Day the "unofficial" start of Summer, and some say Summer starts on fishing opener. That's because we want to stretch the summer season out to pack in as many activities as we can to make up for the long winter days when dark hours exceed the light ones. According to the MN DNR timetable we will enjoy just over 16 hours of daylight on June 21 which is almost twice as much daylight as the shortest day of the year in December. How will you spend the gift of more daylight time?
At last word, the ice in the Little Fork River had pushed north to White's Bridge just outside of Littlefork. That means it will push into the Rainy River very soon, and the Big Fork River will do the same. When the Forks break out, water clarity in Rainy River drops and there will be debris and ice floes to dodge. That usually means a bit less fishing pressure for a few days.
Meanwhile, ramps on the Rainy have been busy and word is the walleye fishing is very good. This spring, it is a catch-and-release extended walleye season on Rainy River, but you can still keep some fish.
Northern Pike, crappie and smallmouth bass seasons are open continuous on our border waters. On Rainy River, all northern pike between 30 and 40 inches must be released immediately. You can keep a total of three and one can be over 40 inches. You can keep 10 crappie and 6 smallmouth bass.
It's worth checking out the forest at this time of year too, the forestry roads are generally open and wildlife is stirring. If you listen, you can hear grouse drumming to attract a mate. Songbirds are arriving from the south as are all sorts of waterfowl.
Birders will have improved access this summer. the Polar Polers Ski Club has started construction on a boardwalk over the wetland at the head of their Tilson Creek Trail system. That will provide access to several miles of trails through quite a bit of varied habitat. The likelihood of spotting wildlife is pretty good, especially at this time when the trees have not yet filled out creating dense cover.
Another option for getting out into nature is to check on the waterfalls, where spring runoff is thundering through with a roar, and providing great photo opportunities. I suggest hiking around the hundreds of yards long cascades on the Big Fork at Big Falls, or checking the narrow restriction of Vermilion Falls just south of Crane Lake. Both have great trails and adequate parking areas.
This post was brought to you by Rainy Lake Guide Association.