Outwoods, being a strictly volunteer, non-profit organization, is a vehicle for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and allies (GLBTA) community and their friends in Minnesota and adjacent states to publicize quality, enjoyable, non-competitive, outdoor recreational activities. Outwoods is solely a subscription-based organization.
The best way to learn about Outwoods and meet other people is to come on a trip. However, there is no person or committee that plans activities; trips happen when individuals submit their listings to the newsletter. The one principle underlying all Outwoods activities is volunteerism: the success of the club depends on the willingness of people to organize activities.
We depend on newsletter subscriptions (membership) to pay for the newsletter itself, the web site, Pride Booths, Parade Entries and much more.
A partial list of previous Outwoods activities includes kayaking, hiking, biking, mountain biking, kite flying, canoeing, in-line skating (aka rollerblading), ice skating, phenology walks, bird watching at Hawk Ridge, backpacking on the Superior Hiking trail and Isle Royale, downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, summer camping, winter camping, rock climbing, snow tubing, sledding, and orienteering.
We have taken one day tours on the Minnesota North Shore of Lake Superior with Superior Coastal Sports (formerly Cascade Kayaks). Tours have included the Pigeon River, which is the shared US/Canada border, Split Rock Lighthouse State Park to see the lighthouse from lakeside, and Tettegouche State Park for the sea caves and grand view of Shovel Point.
There have also been day trips, one week and two weeks trips in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Yes, with kayaks! Portaging is sport by itself. In past years members also attended half-day white water kayaking courses from the UMD Kayak and Canoe Institute. This was a brief introductory course taught on the St Louis River inside Jay Cooke State Park.
Some Outwooders are also members of the Inland Sea Kayakers, a chapter of the Minnesota Canoe Association, which both sponsor weekly Wednesday Night Rendezvous on Lake Calhoun from late May until late September, as well as many local river and Lake Superior trips.
Trip report by Steve
On May 16, 1998 Outwoods hosted a bike trip to one of our favorite trails, the Red Cedar trail in Menominee Wisconsin. This is one of the most pleasant trails as it is a very flat crushed limestone path with a rushing river to one side and alternating lowland vistas on the other. It was one of the early trips in the year, however, we have been very fortunate with weather this year and the day was perfect for biking.
The ride consisted of 6 riders. The group consisted of some "old timers" like me and some "newbies" to Outwoods. We tended to chat as we biked; this did tend to make the day go a bit faster than some of us would have liked. The end of the trail was a railway bridge over the Red Cedar River and this is where we stopped to rest and snack. We sat on a sand bar, skipped stones and enjoyed the outdoors. The trail extends now all the way to Chippewa Falls, but that will be another ride.
Biking back the anticipation of the stop at the Creamery made us rush a bit. Downsville boasts a fine café and is the halfway point in the trail so true to a time honored Outwoods tradition we stopped for deserts. I personally have a picture of a group in the same room from 1993. Sated we spent the last leg of the ride watching for birds. We saw a flock of Pelicans, a Bald Eagle, and a Red Tailed Hawk. We were not experts in birding as some other members are so we named the birds we could and just enjoyed the rest.
This, as with other rides, left me planning the next time I could lead another group on another of my favorite routes. A great time was had by all. I for one left feeling as if I had just made some new friends.
We managed the holy trinity of mountain biking:
Though I make it sound scary and dangerous, it was a nice ride and the single tracks through the wooded areas were beautiful, as well as great fun.
You need not be a fantastic technical rider to enjoy mountain biking. A mountain bike, helmet, sense of adventure and good health insurance are all it takes. ...Oops, I wasn't supposed to say the part about insurance...
Note to all you other phenologists out there: Kelly can identify flora and fauna while flying past it.
So, have you been wondering, "What the heck is phenology anyway"?
FINALLY here is your answer!! Phenology is the study of changes in the seasons.
When you see Outwoods hosting a phenology walk it is to watch flowers, shrubs, trees, birds and other animals as they change during the year. We usually do these walks in the spring, since that is the time when so much happens in such a short period of time. Week by week nature unfolds right before your eyes.
So check out a spring phenology walk with Outwoods in April or May. Or our fall phenology walks to watch nature prepare for the long cold winter. All it takes is someone willing to lead the trip!!
Please note: We often do hikes in the fall to help some area parks harvest prairie seeds for future use in the park. The focus isn't necessarily on phenology, but it is a beautiful time of year to enjoy the outdoors.
A few words about having a WARM and SAFE winter camping adventure:
Outwoods events attract the best people. This was once again proven true at the 6th Annual Outwoods Hunt held July 31 at Como Park. Thirty-seven enthusiastic individuals showed up on a beautiful Saturday afternoon to participate in this unique scavenger hunt.
The object was to solve as many of the 20 rhyming clues as possible within the two-hour time limit. In order to discover the answers, hunters needed to take part in some out-of-the-ordinary activities: counting the bees painted on a large mural in the conservatory, questioning the lifeguard at the swimming pool, and inspecting both the men's and women's bathrooms near the playground. A favorite clue directed teams to a bench at Seal Island where they were to "Wait patiently and you will see the answer fits you to a 'T'". Observant hunters noticed that the answer was written on the back of a T-shirt worn by a man (a friend of the hunt master) who walked back and forth in this area.
Despite the devious nature of the hunt, ALL teams performed admirably. Two teams tied for top honors with remarkable scores of 16 correct answers each.
Once again the organizer was impressed by the friendliness, good humor, and sportsmanship displayed by all those who took part. He is proud to belong to a group that attracts such high quality people.
If you missed the hunt and would like to try your hand at solving one of the riddles, see if you can unravel this clue the next time you visit Como Park:
hsiT luce aws naket rof a drie, tBu hhciw erid saw ti - uoy cieedd; fI a iotr vgae ti a ytr, owH amny ciettsk hulods yeth ybu?