Thursday, September 17, 2009

Minnesota's North Shore-September 7-14, 2009

Labor Day has always been a significant day for us.  Facing the beginning of a new school year, it was always a busy day tinged with excitement and some angst. Last year, as we entered retirement, we decided to start a new tradition to celebrate our ability to "write our own curriculum." A trip to the North Shore was our choice to start our new chapter. Last week, to continue the tradition, we headed north on Labor Day for our second annual camping trip to Temperance River State Park.  We made our reservations for this year's campsite last September to ensure we would have a spot overlooking Lake Superior.  We couldn't wait for our first morning to enjoy that cup of coffee while looking out over the lake.

Paul was the first one to point out that the kids were piling into those classrooms back in our old lives.

Although the vastness of the horizon can't be captured through the camera lens, take a look at the view from our chairs.

We could have spent the whole week in the campsite, but we had an agenda to follow!  Paul had checked this book out of the library and used it to make a list of places to explore during our stay.

The book served as an excellent framework for us as we scoured the North Shore from Split Rock up the coast almost to Grand Portage.

We started with a hike out to Shovel Point in Tettagouche State Park.

The choice of the name for the point is quite obvious!

This easy hike provides beautiful views of the lake.

I fell in love with the Mountain Ash trees growing in their natural habitat. They looked so much happier than the ones we see in suburban yards!
We explored Iona's Beach Scientific Natural Area and listened to the shingle rocks "tinkle" as the waves washed them onto the shore.

We climbed down to Crystal Cove and walked the deserted beach.

Another day found us at Paradise Beach.  Paul loves to search the North Shore for agates and thomsonite.

George, the wooden egret, faithfully waited for us every day back at the campsite.

We visited Last Chance Gallery in Lutsen and enjoyed a visit with the owner and resident metal sculptor, Tom Christiansen.  Back at the campground that evening, we enjoyed our dinner

while we listened to Tom host the jazz program on WTIP, North Shore Community Radio.

We ate a picnic lunch on Two Fish House Beach

and visited a local tourist trap or two.

We spent a day biking on the Gitchi-Gami Trail.  The weather continued to cooperate.

We visited the site of Father Baraga's cross

and hiked Artists' Point in Grand Marais.

We also ventured away from the lake and drove inland to hike to the top of Eagle Mountain, the highest point in Minnesota, located in the BWCA

and Superior National Forest.  The hike was seven miles round trip and the trail required one to watch carefully for rocks and roots.

There were several small lakes along the way.

The trail became steeper as we neared our destination.

The view over the vast forest made the work well worth the effort.

  What a fantastic place to eat lunch on a Friday afternoon!

We also hiked around Eighteen Lake near Isabella, Minnesota

and drove on  a pretty rough road

to take a look at a designated trout lake with a politically incorrect name.  It was beautiful and we were the only ones (humans) there.

Paul threw a few casts on the shoreline below our campsite.

Although we never ate in a restaurant all week, we enjoyed great meals.

And because of the warm weather, we were able to enjoy our campfires.

Our only regret of the week was that my brother Al, who was supposed to join us, had to cancel his plans because of his work schedule.

As we watched the sunrise on our last morning, we decided next year the tradition continues.  We confirmed our reservations for next September as soon as we got back home.  Get out your calendar, Al.  Let's start making plans!!!


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Wow - gorgeous pics! Looks like an awesome trip. That's too bad that Al wasn't able to join you. :(

I have never been up to the North Shore. Kind of pathetic that I've been on the other side of the world, but haven't seen much of the beauty in my own state!

Marlys said...

Lisa, You may not remember, but we did take you kids on a camping trip to the North Shore Drive! I know you were around 3 years old so I can understand why you don't remember! The pictures were awesome, Paul & Barb! With 4 of the kids in tow, we didn't take many hiking expeditions, but the views you captured are beautiful! I can understand why you are booked for next year! Weather has been awesome, not?

Andrew Slade said...

What a great, classic North Shore vacation. Way to go! How fun to get all the way in to Eighteen Lake.

I just climbed Eagle Mountain yesterday, so I feel like I'm following in your footsteps. Never heard of Two Fishhouse Beach, however. Some secrets are meant to be kept.

Andrew Slade said...

Oh, and I also visited Twin Points and Ionas Beach yesterday. Truly, I am not stalking!