Our Love of Owls—A New Book by Stan Tekiela

We are excited to announce the publishing of Our Love of Owls, the newest book in the Our Love of Wildlife series, celebrating a selection of the most beloved animals in North America. Each book focuses on a specific type of animal and presents its fascinating lifestyle and most interesting behaviors through large, full-color photographs and informative (yet short) blocks of text. Beautiful and silent, owls have entranced bird-watchers throughout recorded history. Even the ancient Greeks celebrated owls as a sign of wisdom. The United States and Canada are home to 19 species—from the powerful Great Horned Owl to the tiny Elf Owl—but it is a rare delight to glimpse any of them. Acclaimed naturalist and wildlife photographer Stan Tekiela shares his up-close-and-personal images as he presents the amazing lives of these nocturnal predators. The owl is a symbol of knowledge and mystery. Anyone who appreciates the wonders of nature will treasure this spectacular collection of...

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Divide Lake: A Hike to One of Minnesota’s Highest Lakes

In today’s post, Katie Berg, author of North Shore Adventures: The Best Hiking, Biking, and Paddling from Duluth to Grand Portage, takes us on a short but beautiful hike around Divide Lake in the Superior National Forest. While this is a decidedly shorter hike, it’s appealing because the hike is so easy and you get to visit one of the highest lakes in Minnesota. At a whopping 1,938 feet in altitude, this hike goes around Divide Lake, the headwaters of the Manitou River. It hugs the shore with occasional dips into the forest. Take the trail away from the parking lot and the campground. It’s a flat and easy loop hike that is well paved and well maintained. Less than a mile in, you’ll find a short spur trail on your left that leads down to a campsite right next to the lake. There’s a picnic table, fire pit, and latrine,...

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A Visit to the Falls of Little Stony

Randall Sanger, author of the Waterfalls of Virginia and West Virginia, takes us on a trip to the Falls of Little Stony. I became aware of the Falls of Little Stony several years ago. With my dog Rocky along for the ride, I finally took the time to check out the Falls of Little Stony on a surprisingly warm January day. From the moment I saw the first waterfall, I wished I had visited much sooner. The trail gently descends on an old narrow-gauge railroad bed into a gorge full of rhododendron and hemlock, paralleling and crossing Little Stony Creek along the way. The waterfalls are all impressive, with each having a neat personality and characteristics that make it easy to spend the day photographing here. The ease and short duration of the trail make this a great hike for families with small children, and I’m looking forward to bringing my...

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Discovering the Beautiful Bagley Nature Area

The authors of Gentle Hikes of Minnesota’s North Shore invite you to discover the Bagley Nature Area, a beautiful wooded hike rich in maple and oak, featuring Rock Hill, Rock Pond, and Tischer Creek—all nestled amid 55 acres on the University of Minnesota Duluth’s campus. On this 1.6-mile hike, photo ops abound and range from the plethora of wildflowers in spring and the blazing colors of fall to the sweeping vistas from Rock Hill, including Lake Superior, Duluth Harbor, Park Point, portions of Wisconsin, and UMD campus. The trailhead begins near a metered parking area and kiosk map display. Enter the trail by the yellow gate and immediately experience the tranquility of Rock Pond, which borders the trail to the left. To the right is UMD’s Bagley Outdoor Classroom, which is committed to sustainability practices. Continue beside Rock Pond until you encounter a “T” intersection. Here, turn right and proceed up a slight incline,...

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Road Trippin’ Oconto County

Melinda Roberts, author of our upcoming book Little Wisconsin, reports from Oconto County, where she visited and researched the two little Wisconsin towns of Lena (Population 590) and Suring (Population 544). First stop is Lena and a trip to Kugel’s Cheese Mart. Lena was first known as “Maple Valley;” however, when the railroad came through, the name had to be changed because there was already another stop with that name. Kugel’s Cheese Mart has been in business since 1952. It was started by Bernice and George Kugel. The store was purchased by their son in 1973. In 2008 his son James (Bernice and George’s grandson) purchased the store. So Kugel’s Cheese Mart has been in the Kugel family for three generations. James’s brother, Bill, is the friendly face behind the counter. You’ll find Bill there most days and especially on the weekends, when, during summer months, they sell as much as 150 pounds of...

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A Visit to Gooseberry Falls State Park

Katie Berg, author of North Shore Adventures: The Best Hiking, Biking, and Paddling from Duluth to Grand Portage, invites us on a visit to  Gooseberry Falls. Katie guarantees it might well become one of your favorite hikes along the shore. If you’re looking for waterfalls, Gooseberry Falls State Park is going to be one of your favorite hikes along the shore. The Fifth Falls lollipop loop winds around the biggest falls along the edge of the Gooseberry River. To reach the trail, head past the visitor center, following the paved path towards the sound of the falls. When you first walk out of the visitor center towards the falls, the Middle Falls are usually your first glimpse of the river. People like to wade, hop, skip, and jump their way around Middle Falls. Depending on the time of year, the falls could be a cold blast from the spring melt or a friendly...

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The Eastern Spotted Skunk, an Unassuming Critter

Today, naturalist and wildlife photographer Stan Tekiela shares with us the fascinating world of the eastern spotted skunk. Some animals command more attention than others. Large, charismatic critters seem to grab all the headlines and attention, while small, unassuming animals go completely unnoticed. The eastern spotted skunk (Spilogale putorius) is one of those small animals you’ve never seen or perhaps even heard of. No doubt, most people are familiar with the striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis). This is the common skunk that is seen throughout the entire country and well up into Canada. In the western states, some may be familiar with the western spotted skunk. But the eastern spotted skunk remains a mystery to most people in the eastern half of the country. The spotted skunk is tiny. It’s a fraction of the size of the more familiar striped skunk. It weighs only 1-1.5 pounds compared to the hefty 10-12 pounds of the...

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North Shore Adventures from Duluth to Grand Portage

Katie Berg, author of North Shore Adventures, knows the best hiking, biking, and paddling from Duluth to Grand Portage. Minnesota’s North Shore is a paradise of trails, waterways, and scenic beauty. It’s meant to be explored. No one knows this better than local author and outdoors enthusiast Katie Berg. She has hiked, biked, and paddled her way through the entire region. Now, she’s sharing her secrets with you. If your idea of fun involves hiking boots, bicycles, or kayaks, then grab this guidebook and gear up! You’ll be introduced to more than 40 options for outdoor adventure. From pedaling one of the Midwest’s top-rated bike parks at Spirit Mountain to paddling along the shoreline of the Lake Superior Water Trail, you’ll experience the best that this unparalleled region has to offer. Each featured outing includes maps, full-color photographs, driving directions, and a detailed description, so you will know what to expect on every trip....

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