Hook and Bullet Club

We have lucked out this winter with the snow conditions. My wife Mary and I decided to get back into snowmobiling and it looks like we picked the perfect year to do it.
Trail conditions have been great for each ride we’ve taken so far.
There was one trail, however, that wasn’t quite ready to be ridden on yet. There is a portage that connects Twin Lakes and the North Arm of Burntside Lake.
This isn’t on a main route but it’s a pretty ride through the woods. We saw tracks going that way and decided to give the trail a try.
We didn’t get far before we ran into Scott Olson who was finishing turning three sleds around.
“I have a hand saw but there’s too many trees down,” said Olson.
We moved our machines off the side of the trail so Olson and his family could pass.
Now it was our turn to go back from where we came. Both of our sleds are long tracks and there really wasn’t a lot of room to negotiate.


Busy Ely is Linda Fryer’s lasting legacy

by Tom Coombe
Echo editor
Winter’s grip on the Ely area was extraordinarily clear last Saturday.
Snow was piled high and a step outside during the morning brought the greeting of subzero temperatures. Weather forecasts that morning proved to be accurate, with the coming days bringing both another onslaught of snow, followed by a return to the deep freeze and even a wind-chill warning or two.
A drive around town offered further evidence.
Covid and Omicron be damned, both locals and visitors were getting out and about. Frozen lakes were the destination for some as the trout opener ushered in the start of another local tradition.
Snowmobiles, and pickups or suburbans hauling snowmobiles, could be seen at gas stations.
People were also out and about in advance of youth basketball and hockey games, skiing on area trails, and those in Ely for dogsled excursions.


Hook and Bullet Club by Nick Wognum

Our goal was to put on 150 miles over the weekend on snowmobiles.
With the amount of snow we have now, getting to ride in mid-January is a bonus and one to be taken advantage of.
Three sleds took off Saturday morning for our first ride of the year with me leading the way, my wife Mary next and daughter Megan the caboose.
We had decided that the first ride should be an easy one so we picked heading down the Taconite and going to Babbitt.
There was Saturday traffic on the trails, we counted over 40 sleds in roughly 45 mile round trip. Most were in groups of two to four.
After not riding for the past couple of winters, I had to quickly remember to hold up two fingers to let oncoming riders know how many sleds were behind me.
On top of that I had mounted radio communicators in my and Mary’s helmet so we could talk to each other while riding.
“Sledders coming,” I would say.
“Yup, thanks,” she would respond.


Hook and Bullet Club

Mary and I traveled south last weekend for two reasons. We went to Treasure Island for an ATV Minnesota meeting and then went to the Cities for a pair of high school hockey games.
The Legislative Summit is an annual event held to pitch policy and funding proposals. The Prospector ATV Club sent a couple of pitches up to bat.
The first was to change the law to allow ATVs on state highways that run through cities and towns. Ely isn’t the only place where you can’t drive your ATV on the main drag.
There are cities throughout the state where this is a problem and it’s one that can be fixed. This would help businesses located on those roads as well as people trying to get to them.
While fairly well received, the policy change wasn’t given a top rating, mainly because of the difficulty in getting it passed in St. Paul. Still, there’s hope.


Hook and Bullet Club

Do you feel like we were robbed of a holiday, specifically New Year’s? With the day off falling on a Saturday, many people didn’t get to enjoy a three day weekend.
Add in temperatures that were below zero during the day and colder than I want to know at night made the weekend feel like a lost cause. I huddled in my garage and got to work cleaning up for winter, a month late.
There were still plenty of deer hunting items to be put away, most of them had been tossed in the garage at the end of muzzleloader season.
Evan stopped over to visit at one point and we chatted about snowmobiling for awhile. Mary and I are getting back into the sport after taking two years off.
We have some great family memories of pulling into a gas station with five machines as our whole family would be out for a ride.
Those machines ended up with a lot of miles on them as we traversed around northeast Minnesota. I wouldn’t trade those days or those memories for anything.


Hook and Bullet Club

A phone call on Christmas Eve was a shocker. To find out Greg Mosher had suddenly passed away sent chills up my spine and tears down my cheeks. To lose someone who was 58 blew me away.
Greg Mosher was just a great guy. My good fortune was to be able to see him most mornings when I stopped at Blomberg’s on my way to work. Even if he was working in the back room he’d come out to chat and most of the time we talked about the Prospector ATV Club.
Greg was a great behind-the-scenes guy who helped to make a lot of things happen. He was a wiz on Facebook and was always posting things to the Prospector page from an upcoming ride to our club Christmas party. When I would fall behind on getting something done, there was Greg prompting me with friendly reminders.


Hook and Bullet Club - The key to the outdoors…

Evan and I had a plan on Saturday to go to the shack and wrap things up.
Muzzleloader season had ended the weekend before and despite seeing 30 deer over two days, Camp Cholesterol ended the season without venison.
We drove back to the shack to pick up a wheeler and take down a deer stand.
At the shack we ran into a snafu right away. Evan put the key in the door lock and it snapped off. Now this wouldn’t have been as big of a problem if the key to the wheeler wasn’t inside the shack.
Digging around in the truck I found my Leatherman, a multi-tool that can really save the day. On Saturday it did for us as well. Evan was able to get the door to open and we retrieved the wheeler key.
That’s when our key problems continued. The wheeler key didn’t break off but it wouldn’t go in either. We weighed our options which included pulling/pushing the wheeler up to the truck and that didn’t sound like fun.


The story of the Old Koschak Farm

by Val Beale
Photos by Jim Beaty
The Old Koschak Farm, on Hwy. 88 at the east end of Shagawa Lake is a DNR Wildlife Management Area that has lovely trails and varied terrain. There is a mixture of tree cover, areas of grassland and a couple of ponds that were once used for fish rearing. My husband and I have spent many happy hours walking the dog and watching the seasons change. As we walked we wondered who the Koschaks were, and what sort of farm it was. Over the past couple of months we, with the help of Ely Winton Historical Society and local contacts, have been able to find answers to some of the questions.


Arts, But More Crafts…

I have dabbled in many art genres, and I will outwardly admit I am not an artistic genius in any of the areas in which I have dabbled.
Our mom always supported us in learning how to sew or pick up any type of crafting or needlecraft. After she passed away, we divvied up what we found in her sewing room. It brought tears to my eyes that she had many different crafts that were still in the original unopened packaging she bought from Leeward’s, Frank’s Nursery and Crafts, Ben Franklin, Frank’s Variety Store, Woolworth’s, Gibson’s and Pamida.
Part of the sadness I felt for Mom was she had so many interests, but as she would always say, “There is just never enough time to do that things we would like to do.”
I have stitched projects in crewel, cross-stitching, embroidery, needlepoint, and candle wicking. Some of these I learned in Home Economics class with Miss Shar Sivertsen. We practiced the different types of stitching on scrap pieces of fabric.


Window into Yesterday - These Old Houses

Compared to some other Minnesota towns Ely is, at 133 years old, not so very old. It does have a number of buildings that are 100 years old or more—downtown business buildings, churches, schools, and houses. Some of been remodeled so much they no longer look as they did originally, but here are four that have been kept much the same: the Jacob Pete house, the Skala house, the Gust Maki house, and the Samuel Knox house (in Winton). We call them by the names of the original owners.


Subscribe to RSS - Columnists