Minnesota! (May 2022)

When we were younger, we moved around quite a bit, mostly for school or work or because of changes in family circumstances.  Didn’t think too much about doing so – just went with the wanderlust and all that.  Even in Portland, Oregon, where we managed to settle for almost 20 years, we lived in two different houses.  So, when talk turned to moving yet again – primarily for family reasons – it didn’t seem like doing so would be all that hard.  Well, it was and it wasn’t.

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Tettegouche Lakes Loop (Minnesota) 09-Jun-2017

Lake Superior North Shore Minnesota

Our second to last day on the North Shore suffered less than optimal weather, necessitating excessive sitting around, so we decided to do a longer, more involved hike on our last day to compensate for such sloth.  The rest of the family decided that sloth, or perhaps golf (?), worked better for them and that we were on our own for this romp in the woods. After consulting Andrew Slade’s Hiking the North Shore guidebook (2014 edition), we settled on the Tettegouche Lakes Loop (his Hike #24) because it seemed to offer some wide views interspersed with close-ups of lakes.  At 10 miles of hiking and 900 feet of elevation gain (depending on how you measure it), plus a scramble up the “Drainpipe,” it seemed like a great way to further fritter away our golden years.

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Isle Royale National Park 07-Jun-2017

Lake Superior North Shore Minnesota

Since we’d all journeyed way up to the North Shore, almost everyone agreed that we needed to behoove ourselves of this opportunity for a daytrip to Isle Royale National Park. The park is only accessible by boat and we lucked-out in that the transportation boat, the Seahunter III, was starting its season the week we would be visiting.  The Seahunter III is a 65-foot twin diesel vessel that provides passenger service between Grand Portage, Minnesota and Windigo, Michigan, the park headquarters on the southwest end of the island.  There was some trepidation about riding a small boat across a large lake but conditions on our day of travel were sunny, clear, and glass smooth.

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Superior Gondola Hikes (Minnesota) 06-Jun-2017

Lake Superior North Shore Minnesota

To honor the 73rd anniversary of D-Day, we decided to squeeze two short, but different, hikes into one day: a gondola-facilitated hike around Mystery Mountain on the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT)  (Hike #35 in Andrew Slade’s Hiking the North Shore guidebook (2014 edition)) and another on the SHT to big views from the summit of Carlton Peak (Hike #32 in his guidebook).  For the first hike, I think we just wanted the novelty of a gondola ride to the top of Moose Mountain.  For the second hike, it seemed essential to soak in the views being offered to us by the run of clear, sunny, cloudless weather we were experiencing here on the North Shore (unlike the rain and snow we’d be enduring if we were back home).

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Eagle Mountain (Minnesota) 05-June-2017

Lake Superior North Shore Minnesota

Eagle Mountain, at 2,301 feet, is the highest point in Minnesota.  We first hiked it in July of 2001, as part of our quest to reach all of the high points in the United States [we’ve got six left; unfortunately, these six are among the hardest of the lot].  We remembered the trail to the summit as pretty straightforward and therefore likely suitable for a family-style hike.  The lure of a high point was even sufficient to draw one of our typically non-hiking members out on to the trail. So six of us found our way to the Eagle Mountain trailhead (not far from Lutsen, Minnesota) and set out on our summit bid.  Since our first hike here lo those many years ago, the popularity of this high point seems to have increased, and the trail is now a well-worn and obvious path through the woods.

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Knife River Trail (Minnesota) 04-Jun-2017

Lake Superior North Shore Minnesota

Having hiked on the North Shore only once before years ago, we wanted to squeeze in a short “familiarization” hike between our departure from Superior, Wisconsin and our meet-up with the family in Lutsen, Minnesota.  We needed a personal sense of trail and (more importantly) flying, biting, sucking insect conditions.  Getting a feeling for local conditions and practices seems (to us at least) the basis for safer and more enjoyable hikes when we’re away from home.  So we put some more money into the local economy with a purchase of Andrew Slade’s Hiking the North Shore guidebook (2014 edition) and selected from its pages a short out-and-back hike along the Knife River (Hike #11), one of the largest rivers on the North Shore.

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A Week on the North Shore (Minnesota) 03-Jun-2017

Lake Superior North Shore Minnesota

Our family is scattered across the United States and follows different schedules and lifestyles, so arranging a get together involves solving numerous multi-body problems.  Our animating criterium was for a place where we could all be together but still have different things to do (because, inexplicably, we’re not all hikers).  A secondary criterium was for that place to be new and different (for most of us at least).

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