Monday, August 29, 2016

We called it "Vacation"

After the Wright family reunion, we headed to the capital North Shore of Lake Superior. Growing up in Minnesota, one looks forward to viewing fall foliage along this marvelous coastline of the largest of the Great Lakes. Our departure of Minnesota was in July so we got to enjoy the glorious summer wildflowers instead.



We reserved early and camped at Gooseberry Falls State Park between Two Harbors and Grand Marais.  Hiking trails abound in the area and we hiked parts of the most famous the Gitchi Gami and C.J. Ramstad/North Shore State Trails.

The first we hike parts of the 270-mile-long Superior Trail.  A part of the trail connects to the campgrounds and follows the Gooseberry River. The day warmed nicely and we found a family enjoying jumping from the rocks into the cool waters of the fast moving water, floating down stream to a place to climb out, and drying in the sun until warm enough to do it again.  This part of the trail snakes along the river and its beautiful waterfalls and pools among the basalt makes the area a summer favorite.  We hiked over seven miles and got home warm and tired.

The next day, we visited the Splitrock Lighthouse.  Built in 1910 before the north shore highway existed, this lighthouse was home to three lighthouse attendants and their families.  Before the highway, supplies were brought to shore on the beach 127 feet below the lighthouse.  A special rail tram system was designed to bring items up to the lighthouse. A staircase has been built beside the rails and part of the adventure is to climb the 174 steps back to the lighthouse.  After touring the lighthouse, we hiked down to the beach. This reminded us of the 1267 steps on the Red Trail at Bushkill Falls in PA.  


Our friend and coworker from Tamarac NWR, Emily was completing her summer volunteering in Superior National forest and learning about sustainable farming.  We invited her over for dinner and a short hike.  After sharing a wonderful meal, we watched a beautiful sunset from the bridges crossing the Gooseberry river.

Our final outing in the area was Betty's Pie in two harbors.  Trip Advisor will confirm our belief that the pies were Yummy!  I had blueberry crumble and Kathy dove into Carmel apple delight.  We wished we had room for more so we took another piece home for breakfast the next day.  It didn't last that long.  

We ended our time in Minnesota by buying two new tires in Duluth for the RV at Discount Tire, our go-to tire shop. They had a much easier time getting them off than our first tire purchase in Houston over a year ago.  It's nice finding a nationwide business who can keep up with rotations and maintenance no matter where we travel.  Discount Tire isn't everywhere but they've been where we need them.  

The day got late so we crossed into Wisconsin separately and spent the night in the Walmart parking lot in Superior.  Quiet except for the trains, it was a small step in our Great Lakes journey toward the east coast.