Saturday, August 20, 2011

Minnesota's North Shore

One trip we certainly wanted to take while staying in Duluth was the drive north along the shoreline of Lake Superior to the border of Canada. Along this route are eight state parks. In these parks, and in other locations along this route, are numerous rivers, falls and gorges. Our first stop was Gooseberry Falls. Gooseberry River is one of 20 major Minnesota rivers which can be found on the north shore drive. Gooseberry Falls is a series of falls tucked into the woodlands and lying between the river of its name and Lake Superior.
It was tempting to stay at these beautiful falls and explore them completely, but we had other falls to see. Our next stop was Split Rock State Park. In November of 1905 a big storm came up on Lake Superior with 65-mile-per-hour winds and 30-foot waves crashing along the cliffs of the lake. Numerous ships capsized or ran into the rocky cliffs that night, which prompted our government to authorize the building of a lighthouse at Split Rock. We took a guided tour of the lighthouse as well as the surrounding buildings.
Our next stop was Caribou Falls and from there we drove to Cross Falls.There was no hiking to those falls as they are at a handy wayside rest. It seemed to be a popular swimming spot.
 As we kept driving further north we started seeing less of towns and more forested areas and resorts. To get to Cascade Falls a strenuous hike was required, but it was fun discovering each cascading stream of water as we walked through the woods and over the river loop. Our final stop was at Grand Portage State Park. This is called "the walking place" by Native Americans because here it was necessary to hike nine miles inland from Lake Superior to their winter camps. The falls here were the most awesome of all we had seen during the day. And from this point we could gaze over the river into Canada. By now we had driven close to 150 miles. We were tired and ready to head home. Before doing that we stopped at the Grand Portage Lodge and Casino for an excellent fish supper. The lodge is on a Native American reservation.

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