Gold Mine Camp occupies a secluded spot along the Vermillion River, deep in Minnesota's Superior National Forest. It's an ideal spot for truly getting away from it all. There's no cell phone service, and about the only sound you'll hear is the casting of a reel or the call of an eagle circling overhead.
Walleye, bass, and northern pike fill the 49-mile-long river, which connects Lake Vermillion and Crane Lake. The river is slow moving and tranquil, in keeping with the pace of things at camp. In addition to the abundant fishing, there are a number of hiking trails that wind through the forest. It's not uncommon to see wildlife such as moose and deer roasting marshmallows over an open fire.
After a day on the river or trails, guests retreat to lakeside log cabins located near a handful of barbecue grills and a cleaning house for preparing the day's catch. Some of the two- and three-bedroom cabins can accommodate as many as eight guests, and all of them are outfitted with a full kitchen.
Elbow Lake Lodge is a year round event center and get a way. From weddings, corporate retreats and family reunions as well as family vacations. We have a seasonal restaurant and bar. Protected marina with gas and bait. The natural sand beach is perfect for swimming!
After the lodge's two award-winning golf courses close in late October, skiers and boarders ride on natural snow at Giants Ridge for the winter, with snowmakers enlisted to outsource Mother Nature's surplus work. Warmer weather excursions in nearby Superior National Forest include more than 1,500 miles of canoe routes in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area wilderness, as well as hiking and biking among old-growth boreal forests.About an hour's drive south in Duluth lies Glensheen, a 39-room Jacobean Revival mansion whose original 1908 interior remains largely intact, offering an imitable glimpse into early 20th-century midwestern culture. Down the shoreline, belly-flopping river otters and black-crowned night herons entertain at the Great Lakes Aquarium, which hosts 15 exhibits' worth of amphibians, birds, aquatic animals, and sofas that have sprouted fins.
Located in the heart of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, Piragis Northwoods Company outfits excursioneers with all the necessities for embarking into the wily wilderness of northern Minnesota. Before outfitting adventurers, experienced outdoorsmen assist in planning routes and campsites to meet outdoorsy goals and wolf-man-sighting desires. Campers then rent accoutrements such as lightweight Kevlar canoes ($30+/day), solo or tandem kayaks ($30+/day), and Kevlar paddles ($6/day). Alternatively, woodspeople can be fully outfitted with canoes, paddles, packed food, tent and tarp, packs, witch repellent, sleeping bags, and a plethora of other gear ($100/person/day).
The pristine quality of the remote trails and clearings winding through the Superior National Forest gives new meaning to the word white. There are no people, no cars, and no buildings towering overhead to mar the scene, framed only by majestic cedar groves. The frosty trail and snow-heavy branches whoosh silently past—the only sounds you hear are the rhythmic mushing of the alaskan huskies in front of you and the almost synchronized beating of your own heart. After a meal cooked over a campfire, your trip might end with some hot-tub time, a fireside chat in a private lake house, or listening to the dogs' nighttime chorus of "Hungry Like the Wolf" as they bed down outside a cozy, heated yurt.
It was the vision of husband-and-wife team Peter McClelland and Chris Hegenbarth to create such experiences for beginning and advanced sledders of all ages. They founded White Wilderness Sled Dog Adventures to share their love of outdoor activities in general—including camping and fishing—and of sled dogs in particular. As a seasoned guide and cofounder of the Ely Area Mushing Association, McClelland is dedicated to the welfare of sled dogs everywhere. Hegenbarth handles the details, including the baking of the cookies that accompany each sled driver on his or her journey. In the National Geographic book The 100 Best Vacations to Enrich Your Life, author Pam Grout says McClelland and Hegenbarth "don't just sell you a dogsled trip—they adopt you for a few days," making sure guests are warm and well fed.
The couple has gathered together some of the most experienced dog drivers in the north woods, including licensed EMT Erik Danielson and nine-year dogsledding veteran Theo Theobald, who prides herself on seeing more moose than traffic lights in any given month. The company is one of the few sled-dog trip providers that trains its dogs year-round; staffers spend off-season months teaching the dogs to run through an obstacle course and playing hours of Twister to improve their agility.