Wednesday 12 and Thursday 13 June
Minneapolis and St Paul
Mary Ashley was attending a conference in Minneapolis and we'd agreed to meet up after it and spend a fee days exploring. Minnesota would be a new state for me. I drove up on the Wednesday evening and the plan was to spend Thursday exploring Minneapolis and St Paul while Mary Ashley was at the last day of her conference.
While waiting for my car to be repaired - see my blog for more on that - I had a chance to look around Minneapolis. For a big US city it was petty nice, especially down by the Mississippi. The side opposite from downtown was particularly cool having a mix of old industrial buildings and green open spaces. After my car was repaired I headed over to St. Paul. It had a quite different feel to Minneapolis and seemed to die a lot more once working hours were over. That said I still had an enjoyable couple of hours wondering around.
Friday 14 June
Duluth and Gooseberry Falls
Next day Mary Ashley and I drove up to Duluth on the shore of Lake Superior. We got lunch and then had a little walk around the Canal Park area. Was a nice area with a three lighthouses and a cool lift bridge. I also invested in a guidebook for the rest of the coast which certainly made it a lot easier to come up with some ideas of where to go. We next headed up the coast. We had a little detour to an Amish furniture shop which we found while trying to get on the scenic highway before getting to Gooseberry Falls State Park. This was roadside but was still pretty cool and set the tone for many of the state parks - waterfalls often near the shoreline. By the time we'd finished there time was getting on we headed to our "primitive" campsite. I'm not sure I'd call multiple drop toilets, trash cans, drinking water and picnic tables primitive but apparently someone does!
Saturday 15 June
Saturday we headed further up the cost from or campsite. First up was a stop for coffee and then we had a brief stop at Taconite Harbour. I liked it, even finding the big industrial building attractive in a wierd way. Next up was Temperance River State Park - more waterfalls, more shoreline but as I'm rather a fan of waterfalls I wasn't complaining. On the way further up the coast we had a quick stop at a pullout at Cutface Creek which was basically just a beach. We also stopped at Chippewa City which is now nothing more than a church but which was thriving in the late 19th century.
Devil's Kettle and Grand Portage
Arriving at the state park where the Devil's Kettle was we discovered the path down to the kettle involved rather a lot of steps but Mary Ashley still decided to do it despite knowing she'd probably find it uncomfortable. Apparently it is currently unknown where the bottom of the sink hole leads to but other than that it was just waterfalls. About five o'clock we arrived at Grand Portage National Monument. Unfortunately this coincided with it closing so we headed on to the Canadian border. There was a store just short of the border, most of whom customers appeared to be Canadian. Other than that it was a pretty normal tourist store.
Right on the border was Grand Portage State Park. Mary Ashley's leg was hurting her so I walked to the waterfall by myself. Was definitely the best waterfall I'd seen on the trip. The river was also the border so I' be now drive to both the Mexican and Canadian borders and stood on the edge of the river that is the border. We then headed back to the campsite stopping for dinner on the way at a fish restaurant. Didn't look much from the outside but it served really good good and was in a petty cool place as it was right on the small harbour.
Sunday 16 June
Tettegouche and Split Rock
The plan for the next day was to go climbing but car problems stopped that happening. After a few photos where we'd intended to climb we started heading back to Minneapolis. We stopped of on the way at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park which had an attractive lighthouse. It was in a very cool place on top of a cliff and looked quite different to a lot of lighthouses - probably because it was built quite late compared to a lot of lighthouses. All in all it made for one of the nicest lighthouses I've visited and I've been to a few!
Well that was pretty much it for the exciting stuff. There's more in my blog about the car bits but long story short I got back a day later than planned with a temporarily fixed car.
Copyright Daniel Money 2013