[NOTE: If you don’t want all this mushy stuff, and want to jump right to the technical details about us, go here.]
All things Winter: Lure of the North officially began operations in the fall of 2011, though we have been sharing our passion for traditional winter travel, crafts and culture for years before that. We are a little company made up family and a handful of seasonal helpers based out of our remote wilderness basecamp outside of Espanola, ON. We are passionate about all aspects of traditional winter camping, wilderness travel and northern culture. Our desire for good quality winter clothing and equipment has led us to now produce much of this ourselves, which has led to a related passion for crafting and constant gear improvements. Nearly all aspects of our company are run by Dave and Kielyn. We like to think that’s pretty great for our customers because when you call or write, you get to talk directly to the person who will be joining you on trip/ leading your workshop/ or crafting your custom goods for you. It also means that we can cater custom trips to meet your group’s desires, or travel to your location for a custom workshop or presentation. The downside of course is that we get extremely busy at times. During the winter tripping season, don’t be surprised if you can’t get a response from us for a week at a time (Hint: place your winter orders well in advance!), but know that we will get back to you eventually and answer every email.
Other passions: Our primary passion might be traditional winter travel, but we love just about any activity that gets us outside. That’s why you might see the occasional rock climbing or canoeing album sneak into our photos section of the site! In the summer we have guided canoe trips from 4 – 17 days in length on the Spanish River near Sudbury, as well as the Missinaibi and Bloodvein Rivers further afield. We’re happy to organize and lead custom flat- or white-water canoe trips of any length during the spring, summer or fall months.
Our Team: A Family Affair
Dave is a natural born leader. He is calm, level headed and can always find the silver lining. His smile is permanent and is a sucker for type II fun. He is known to have a gentle, quiet demeanor but is always ready to dive into meaningful conversation. Dave is the spear head for expedition logistic and pace setting. He seems to never tire and will always pick up more weight for the team if needed. You can always count on Dave to be there to lead you safely down a class IV rapid, through a tight creek or a tough portage. He’ll be there tromping the deepest snow for everyone to follow with more ease and confidence. [Dave’s note: Kie wrote this, and is too kind by far!]
Kielyn is the photographer, camp chef and mother hen. She see’s the group with a broad view and makes sure everyone is being utilized in their best way possible. She strives to make people laugh and isn’t afraid to be the brunt of the joke. She loves to push herself and others to find their new limits and does not shy away from getting through a tough section on the trail. You’ll often see her at the back of the pack making sure everyone sticks together and no one is left behind.
Mike Marrone (Dave’s brother!)
Mike is the reason you’re able to navigate our website! Dave and Kie tend to take credit for it’s awesomeness but in truth, Mike is the reason why all of the complicated things about it go smoothly. We do all the day to day posting and editing, but when the site hits the fan, Mike is there to get his hands dirty. He’s a professional web developer (not to mention BJJ butt-kicker), so fixing our errors in the evening is probably the last thing he’d like to do. Mike is one of most generous people we know and wants nothing in return. Thank you Mike for being such a great advisor and friend.
Sandy Masin (Kie’s mom!)
Sandy has been making our anoraks, saw sheathes and wood carriers now since 2012 and does an incredible job. When Kie was young Sandy would make dolls and matching dresses for Kie (before she realized that Kie was more of a shorts and tee-shirts kind of gal). So when Sandy decided to quit her day-job and become our full time seamstress she’s never looked back. We couldn’t do a better job that she does. Her attention to detail means that every anorak is perfectly imperfect and is hand made with love from a mother’s heart. We work her hard to keep up with orders and I’m not sure we ask for a better person for the job. Thank you so much Sandy for being an integral part of our team!!
Bonnie Marrone (Dave’s mom!)
Bonnie has been our logistical co-ordinator since the beginning! She is the calm, level-headed voice behind the phone that all of our participants’ loved ones can get in contact with when we are out adventuring in the woods. But behind that calm soothing voice comes some very important organizational skills, resourcefulness, researching skill and persistence! We’ve put her to the test a few times now from dealing with train delays, family members calling with tough news from home and radio interviews. We couldn’t ask for a better representative for us while we’re out having fun! We know it’s tough and trying work at times and we have to give a big thanks to her for being there at the other end of the phone exactly when we need her!
Mathew Masin (Kie’s brother!)
Mat is not only there on most Explorer’s Club Expeditions, but when he’s not on trip with us he’s behind the scenes with indispensable help. Whether it’s making sandwiches, shopping for food, sorting chocolate bars or getting our participants to and from the airport, he’ll drop his hat to help us. While we are still adjusting to our off-grid remote basecamp, Mat has been there as a place to crash our bums and our stuff in this transition period of our lives and business. Thank you Mat for being such a great brother, brother-in-law, travel companion and rock!
Bob and Linda Kuhl (Local Heros!)
Bob and Linda are our closest neighbors. 8 kilometres away, they are tucked off Hwy 6. in a beautiful home on the lake they built themselves. Their story started much like ours: with a dream to move off-grid and live simply. 20 years later they met us and couldn’t help but think of themselves when they saw us. They have been instrumental in our adjustments here at our basecamp. From parking our vehicle and trailer in the winter, to late night shuttles with their snowmobile when ours broke down, welding our broken sled, hosting us for the night, feeding us when we’re hungry and even turning their place into a lodge for our expedition members! The first two years of our off-grid living has certainly been a manageable adjustment with these two as support. They have recently decided to move closer to family down south and they will be sorely missed. But we do hope that we can return the hospitality of having them and their family come and stay with us any time. Thank you Bob and Linda so much for your love and support.
Sarah is spending the spring and summer with us helping us prepare for this coming fall and winter. She is entering her third year at Laurentian University in the Outdoor Adventure Leadership program. Sarah loves to craft including knitting sweaters, hats and scarves for her family and friends, weaving dream catchers from natural materials and more. She has a survival background spending most summers growing up as a student of survival and teaching these skills to youth.
Winona is staying with us for the whole summer prepping us for the coming season. She is going to school this coming fall at Fleming College for their Adventure Tourism program. Winona has been on two expeditions with LOTN including our Trans-Temagami Explorer’s Club expedition in 2016 which crossed the 128 km expanse of the wilderness area. She is passionate about connecting with Mother Nature, respecting the traditional ways of those before us and would like to help teach others to do the same.
Katie joined the Lure team in the fall of 2011. We first met Katie in early 2011 when she participated in one of our moccasin-making workshops. She was a very keen student and helped pioneer for us the all-leather, wrap-around style moccasin which has now become one of our standard offerings. Katie fell in love with our “make-it and use-it” philosophy and has now worn her hand-made moccasins to the top of Ontario and on the inaugural Missinaibi Headwaters Expedition! Katie was a great asset to our team for many years, and we look forward to seeing where she will take her skills and passion in the future!