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Minnesota Travelling: Photo Moments From the South to the North
I set my alarm for 3:15 a.m. as usual. I'm used to getting up that early for my job. Got up, showered, carried my stuff to the car and headed to my daughter's house. She was supposed to be ready to go by 6 a.m.
All ready? Got roller blades, clothes, camera, phone, computer, charging cords, passwords for pages online, cash, my GPS, some bottled water in a large cooler and some packaged snackies for eating in the car.
Suns Up and Off We Go
Highway 35 is our major highway. It runs north and south, from Two Harbors to the Iowa Border. The rest of your trip to the Canadian Border takes you on Highway 61, which above Duluth is referred to as the North Shore Drive. The north shore of Lake Superior, one of the five great lakes.
For our trip, we intended to drive to Duluth and stay at Motel 6 on Duluth's West End. Duluth is divided into several sections. I'm not very familiar with Duluth, but I know that grand parents were from both ends of Duluth. My father's family was from the West End, and my mother's family from Lakeside. My parents were part of that generation that had no moss under their feet and they moved from house to house.
So, to say where any of us kids are from, most of them are from Duluth, one is from New Jersey and one from Mankato. My parents moved 42 times before they had the empty nest syndrome.
You are correct. That is a ridiculous amount.
But, at any rate, we wanted to journey to this side of the state and do some exploring and hiking and rollerblading. Our goal, was to visit as many waterfalls as we could manage to find.
We have seen this sign many times, usually around Christmas when my brother has his annual Christmas party for the family.
We had no idea that there was a waterfall. It's actually a nice little park. There is a bathroom and a picnic area. There was a man fishing at the bottom of the falls. We did not ask him if he was catching any.
Apparently people swim there, since someone left their swimming suit laying next to the parking lot.
Jay Cooke Park
Jay Cooke Park has a large river system. We stopped there next.
Manifold Magic Cooking
I also tossed some frozen burritos in some tin foil and placed them on top of the engine in my car, just for fun.
It was funny, since I had teased my daughter when she talked about bringing along peanut butter and jelly and bread, that I was going to devise some way of cooking tator tot casserole under the hood of my car. So, when I got to her house, I sort of mentioned having burritos cooking. She, of course, heard me but, did not question me about it.
But she was thinking about my comment.
The Random Photos That We Took
I will share the more scenic pictures of our trip through Minnesota, starting in the south by Lake Francis and continuing through the St. Paul area and continuing north.
We stayed three nights at Motel 6 in the west end of Duluth and we spent time driving up the North Shore Drive to Grand Marais. We were chased out of Grand Marais by foul weather and reached some flooding on the road by the Taconite Plant. It was a little unnerving, since shortly after her smart phone emitted a Flash Flood Warning, we did drive through a pocket of water on the road that was not evident until we were right in the midst of it. Luckily, we didn't get any water damage to my engine and were able to continue on.
About Those Burritoes
I had brought up the subject of burritos once or twice and my daughter had gotten that same look on her face each time. So, I opened my hood and pulled the two foil packages off of the motor.
I grinned at her. You have to have fun, right? "What are those?" she asked me. "Wait. Are those burritos. I was wondering what you were talking about."
We decided that, although they were hot and melted, we didn't really know if they were safe to eat. How many carbons and monoxides would have gotten into the food. We just didn't wish to become a statistic. I had a potato that I wrapped in the foil and placed back on the motor.
I didn't find that the potato cooked at all. Perhaps my motor did not reach 400 degrees. Do you suppose?
I think I took this picture because my mother said that the woman who lived here gave her piano lessons when she was a kid. Way back in the 1930's.
This was my first trip to Enger Tower. It's located up on the side of the hill in Duluth. You can see in all directions for miles. We took pictures from many angles. It's a long way down. I am desperately afraid of heights.
There were children running up and down the steps and climbing on the railing. Their parents were down below. My stomach was in knots just being that high.
North Shore Drive
The following are pictures taken along the North Shore drive. We bought caramels and fancy bottles of pop from Kendall's Fish Store and from the Great Lakes Candy Kitchen. Kendall's is located on the old highway off of 35 in Two Harbors. Their smoked fish is so good, but we didn't buy any this trip. We did buy caramels and root beer and a couple of other interesting pop flavors, like vanilla and creme soda and orange cream.
The caramels were chewy and yummy. Although the fish place just had a bowl of caramels for sale, we found the Great Lakes Candy Kitchen to have a full showroom full of different flavors and varieties of candy. The smell was pure heaven. I purchased some turtles and my daughter bought a bag of licorice for her husband. The caramels were delicious.
There are lots of photo opportunities along the drive. At one spot, there is a tunnel but I was telling my daughter that the original road went around the edge of the cliff. We got out of the car and walked up the trail to where the road used to go.
It's All Beautiful
The rocks and trees and grasses and mosses all go together in this conglomeration of color.
There are a lot of scenic buildings. Some have been there as long as I can remember. In our moving around the state, my parents had moved their mobile home to a spot in Lutsen, across from Lockport Store.
There was a house across from the store that was there when I was a little girl, but it is gone now.
Initially, her thought was to hike the trail to the waterfall on the Baptism River. Well. The area is massive. You drive to a parking spot on the side of the hill and walk up a trail, through rocks and trees to the top of the hill. Some 3/4 of a mile, practically straight up. At least, to a beginning hiker, it seemed quite steep.
Once we reached the top, we were greeted by other hikers and stairs and bridges. The steps took us down to the top of the waterfall and we walked to a few decks where we were able to take pictures of people standing below us by the bottom of the falls and then, we were able to take photos of the top of the falls.
There was a bridge to walk across. It's a metal lattice looking passageway with crossbars for more support. Did I mention at any time that I am afraid of heights? Yes. I am afraid of heights.
My daughter is the daring one who took selfies of herself standing near the edge of the top of the waterfall. I had that terrible feeling while she was positioning herself. I didn't want her to become a statistic, so I tried not to say anything. It wasn't long and she was back with me on the trail.
There was two major waterfalls to go see. The tall one and the short one. The trail took us to the first one, and then, the trail continued to the short one. There was a catch. To see the shorter falls, you had to walk down 195 steps. Mind you, there were stretches between the sets of steps, so it was almost false advertising. It was many, many more than 195 footsteps.
Then... you had to go back the same way we got there, repeating all the steps up and down and across and through, etc.
So, 3/4 of a mile, plus 1/2 a mile, plus 195 steps plus, twice, then, back 1 1/4 miles. I have heard of uphill, both ways, carrying my brother before, but this was almost the same.
Grand Marais Gunflint Trail
I had to show my daughter where I lived in grade school. My house was located on the Gunflint Trail on the Devil's Track River, on Maple Hill, in Grand Marais.
The garage and the addition that my father built in the 1960's are still there, but the mobile home is just a metal skeleten still parked there. The moose horns that my father found in the woods next to the building, are still attached to the front of the garage.
The buildings are smaller than I remember them to be.
Racing the Storm
While we were wandering around in Grand Marais, a storm was brewing. It was a severe storm with flash flood warnings. We did manage to hit a deep pocket of water by the Taconite Plant, but we made it through with no car troubles.
We had to drive slower than normal because it was raining so hard.
We got back to Duluth and the next day we decided to go down to Canal Park and roller blade on their pathways. We were initially too cheap to pay the $3 for parking and drove back to Leif Erickson Park to park for free.
We donned our roller blades and made it about ten feet and realized that we weren't going to be able to start there, since the paths were cobblestone and there was dirt between the bricks which made it extremely hard to roller blade. So, we took some photos of the roses at Leif Erickson park and then, headed back down to Canal Park.
We roller bladed down the path, sharing the trail with other bladers, skateboarders, bicycle riders and bike cars. We apparently were so into our blading that we managed to skate all the way to Leif Erickson park. I think that it was 4 miles. Then we skated back to Canal Park.
We shopped for a bit, finding one more candy store with chocolate.
Leif Erickson Park
The park has a lot of varieties of roses. The last time Katie and I were in Duluth, I wanted to show her the Viking ship that was parked in the park. It was gone. Apparently, they have moved it to an inside building for renovation.
Shoreline on Lake Superior
Lake Superior's shoreline is composed of gravel. It washes up with the tide and if you are lucky you can find all sorts of rock treasures.
Mostly, it's round rocks polished smooth by the scraping back and forth of the waves. If you are in the right spot at the right time, you can find other treasures like agates, driftwood and Thompsonite.
It is truly a crafters dream come true to rock pick.
All in All
All in all, our trip was a happy and satisfying one. We looked for my grandparents graves in the cemetary - but were unsuccessful. We visited my uncle and his wife in Duluth, which was very pleasant. We stopped and chatted with the Tourist Info Booth woman.
We drove around Duluth for hours.
I guess our next trip up north should be later this fall, when the trees start to get their fall colors. It's truly beautiful to go up north and see the millions of leaves turn to shades of oranges, maroons, browns, tans, yellows.
Pencil me in for September/October Katie...