What I did on my summer vacation

This seems like the first day of school.

Summer vacation is over. Meteorological summer ends today. Labor Day is right around the corner. The end of the State Fair is in sight.

So with a quiet weather day I feel like the kid who has to tell the class what I did on my summer vacation. Let’s see if I can sneak some weather science in.

The Weather Lab moved north last week. We entered the Boundary Waters on Sunday August 23rd to bright sunshine and 79 degrees east of Ely on Lake One. We made it to Hudson Lake on Day 1, about 10 miles in. On Monday we reached our destination of Insula Lake about 15 miles east of the Lake One entry point.

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The Huttner’s at base camp on an island campsite on Lake Insula in the BWCAW.

We battled a headwind much of the first two days, but the sunny skies and warm weather was perfect. Frank at Kawishiwi Outfitters on Lake One set us up with some really nice lightweight kevlar canoes that made the trip easier. We still packed way too much gear though. Live and learn.

Lake Insula is a destination and base camp lake in the BWCAW. It is about 3 by 5 miles, with 45 miles of shoreline and over a hundred islands. After a cool summer up north, I was surprised to find lake water temperatures very swimmable. I would estimate the surface water temperatures to be about 68 degrees.

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Luke takes in the view of Lake Insula.

We camped on an amazing island about 2 acres in size. The front of the campsite (Insula #12) is ledge rock and sand that slopes south into the lake. This created an amazing microclimate within camp. In the shade near the fireplace, the thermometer read a comfy 73 degrees one sunny afternoon. On the dark rocks cooking in the afternoon sun near the lake, I measured 88 degrees! That’s a 15 degree temperature difference in about 30 feet. The rocks absorb and reradiate the solar energy to create a “sauna” effect on warm sunny days.

After 5 magnificent days we headed back to Lake One and drove to the North Shore.

We spent Friday in Grand Marais. It was cool and rainy with temperatures in the 50s.

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Folks enjoying the Bay at Grand Marais on a cool August day.

We headed home Saturday, and stopped at Stony Point near Knife River. A steady northeast wind had generated some 4 foot swells which were breaking on the point there. About half a dozen surfers in dry suits were there braving the chilly water and enjoying the waves. Not exactly the North Shore of Hawaii, but Minnesota’s North Shore will have to do in August. The surfers actually got some pretty good rides.

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Surfers getting rides on Stony Point near Knife River.

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Wave breaking on rocks kicks up spray behind Luke on Lake Superior Saturday.

It’s great to get away and see more of this great region we call home. Okay, now back to work. I’ll have to think of something that’s actually weather related for the blog this afternoon!


  • Tiffany

    Sounds like a fun summer vacation….I myself cant wait to check out stony point didnt even know you could surf in minnesota