Today: Martin Kubik, whose nonprofit Boundary Waters Advisory Committee is devoted to the trails of the lakes wilderness. The group is busy planning its spring maintenance work on the Powwow Trail, with projects by canoe, backpack — and cabin — in April and May.
I am reading two books: “Tomorrow’s House” by George Nelson and Henry Wright, published in 1945, and “Public Relations” (in Czech) by Denisa Hejlova. During World War II, new materials were introduced, manufacturing was really off and emphasis was on efficiency. The book about future house design reflects views and thinking of that period. Reading it is like opening a window into what people thought more than 70 years ago. Why public relations? I spend a lot of time proselytizing the BWCA backpacking trails. Being able to connect effectively with the hiking community, public and legislators is important, especially if your background is electrical engineering with only one English writing course in college and English as your second language.
As someone who grew up in communist Czechoslovakia, I do follow the political movement that mirrors what occurred in Eastern Europe after World War II. There was a lot of optimism and simplification. In the end it did not end up how many thought it would, and that’s is why my family and I immigrated to United States. But talking about that can be divisive, and so these days I follow national snow analysis maps by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for the Isabella/Powwow Trail area in the Boundary Waters. Discussing snow melt rates is much less controversial — with most people.
I listen to couple of local stations that play the music I grew up with as teenager in New York City and later in Minnesota. I did not know English, so for a long time I only remembered the tune, and only later learned the names of bands like the Doors, Yes, Moody Blues, etc. When I work on organizing, I listen to baroque. I discovered two Czech composers: Jan Krtitel and Jan Dismas Zelenkaboth, who are pretty incredible, and who I don’t remember when growing up.
I like to take photos whether it is people, landscapes, or in between. As time goes on, some takes rise notably above others. A phone has replaced a small documentation camera, but I take a 35-mm format digital camera on every trail clearing trip to capture the moments. Years ago I shot a moon rising in the east and at the same time sun setting in the west at dusk on the Powwow Trail that goes north and south. It was an incredible experience.
I also sew much of my camping gear. Currently: a Cuben Fiber (composite fabric) backpack. It allows me to make gear that is very functional and light. Most of my time is spent organizing volunteers to maintain hiking trails with the Boundary Waters Advisory Committee. Our focus project in reopening the 30-mile Powwow Trail loop during May. Volunteers cleared 25 miles in 2017-2018, so we are only five miles short of the goal. All that is done with hand saws. We recruited 80 volunteers and still need 20 more to make that happen this spring. I am excited to getting back on the trail and working with volunteers to “Open the Loop!” on the Powwow. Learn more at boundarywaterstrails.org.