About Erik Simula

Erik Simula.  Photo courtesy of Cameron Norman from "Superior Artisans/In Praise of Hands"

Erik Simula. Photo courtesy of Cameron Norman from "Superior Artisans: In Praise of Hands" http://buttermoonarts.org/

Erik Simula is a Duluth, Minnesota-born, Finnish-American artist specializing in building traditional birch bark canoes of the Lake Superior Ojibwe and Fur Trade forms.  Erik is a former seasonal park ranger and canoe builder at Grand Portage National Monument, and employed as an instructor at North House Folk School in Grand Marais, Minnesota, and as a wilderness guide and musher at Bearskin Lodge on the Gunflint Trail.  Erik lives in the bush, subsisting largely on harvesting wild rice, netting fish, hunting, and gathering.  Erik keeps a 10-dog team of Alaskan Huskies for hauling firewood, freight, and wilderness guiding.



  1. Cheers Cousin(?)
    I see you are having a great time and lots of fresh air!
    Which part of Finland did your parents/ancestors come from?
    Veikko Simula

  2. I wish you well Erik!
    My “hat” goes off to you!
    Ken Espersen

  3. What an adventure of a lifetime? Many people would think your crazy, but they have never paddle the north woods. I wish you good luck, smooth paddling and fair weather.


  4. Erik – great to see the news on the trip. Who would have thought it would lead to all of this? Maybe I can bring you some cigars at one of your stops in “civilization” along the route – lol…

    Till then, here is wishing you favorable winds and good paddling.
    Pat Cox

  5. Hey Erik, Aunt Elvi told me about your trip and I envy your spirit on this amazing journey. Knowing you, I know you’ll succeed and teach us all about dedication and “stick to it tivness”. It’s so heartening to see a “dreamer” make a dream come true.
    All our best wishes and love from the Landstrom half of the family.

  6. Erik,

    I have never met you but I now am interested in your journey. You met my husband (Robin) on Sunday, May 17, 2009 in Cloquet. He was on his way to church and saw you down by the water (he was late to have his picture taken with our Godson). Then later on during the day he was curious and jumped in his kayak to see how far you made it up the river. We wish you well.

    Karrie and Robin Osvold
    Cloquet, MN

  7. Good luck my friend! I wish you clear skies and calm winds and many great adventures along the way.

  8. Whoa, great trip. Can’t imagine the portages.

  9. Stay safe Erik. I learned so much from you –on believing in myself and abilities with my sled dogs.

    Thank you for being you.

    Have a safe trip and the Prairie Isle will be thinking positive thoughts for you.

  10. Erik,

    Been thinking of you these days. How quiet the
    birch bark is on the water. Such a natural vessel
    to travel in. Keep me posted on whereabouts so my lens can visit.


  11. […] I’m not done yet! According to his bio: Erik lives in the bush, subsisting largely on harvesting wild rice, netting fish, hunting, and […]

  12. Safe travels sweet man.

  13. Thank you, Erik! Your fully-realized dream to embark on this voyage, has now become a dream for *all* of us.

    Watching with great interest…!

  14. You will love Lake of the Clouds!! Good luck on the portage up to it!! I was there in the early 90’s and I’ll never forget it.

  15. Bon Voyage Erik!
    You are embarking on something that so many of us would like to experience. I will be imagining you along the way during my daydreams, that will bring a smile to the day. How rewarding for you and impressive for us to think of you in your hand built craft following the old route. If there is a way to meet you along the way I would love to know. Meanwhile, safe travels
    Jim Brandenburg

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