Don Shelby’s MN Memory

The retired WCCO-TV news anchor on canoe country

An illustration of Don Shelby.

illustration by michael hoeweler

“I love Minnesota canoe country. I gravitate to people who love it. So, I go north. Our memories of the water, the trees, and the quiet memorialize our nature experience. Some have immortalized that sense of place. Canoe country explorer and author Sigurd Olson did that for me. Each visit to Ely, I make lots of time to sit on the rocky shore of Burntside Lake, just steps from Sig’s beloved Listening Point cabin. But there is another place in Ely where Sig did most of his writing: a plain home with a detached writing cabin. I have sat quietly, alone in the writing shack—at his desk, by his old typewriter, smelling the still-lingering aroma of pipe smoke. One day, in January 1982, Sig left the shack to snowshoe a trail nearby. He never returned. But before he’d left his lovely world, he had typed his final ‘story.’ It is still there. It reads: ‘A New Adventure is coming up, and I’m sure it will be a good one.’”