Saturday, September 21, 2013

Time for a Trail Ride

I love traveling, but I love coming home too.

Fall is the perfect time to trail ride.
Cooler temps, no bugs,& Rocky, ready to go.

Apollo is doing great & even leading across the boardwalk.

 I love the view between Rocky's ears.

I'm not the only one thirsty after the ride!

My riding partner.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Porcupines & Pictured Rocks

Finally heading back toward home, 
we drove through the upper pennisula of Michigan.

A really neat place to stop is Porcupine Mountain State Park.
The park is designated as a wilderness
 and has over 31,000 acres of old growth northern forest.

No visit to the "Porkies" is complete until you see the Lake of the Clouds.
On our stop, it truly was in the clouds.

Our final stop was Pictures Rocks National Lakeshore.
Its a 15 mile stretch of colorful sandstone cliffs
 towering over the southern shore of Lake Superior.

This is Sable Falls tumbling over the sandstone on its way to Lake Superior.

  The beaches are delightful with all the water sculpted rocks.

 That concludes a great vacation Up North!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Voyageurs National Park

We continued north through the Minnesota Boundary Waters
until we found Voyageurs National Park.

Unlike most of the other national parks,
most of the park is made up of water.
The park has more than 344 square miles of water and
consists of Rainy, Kabetogama, Namakan, Sand Point & many other smaller lakes.

We stayed on the shores of Lake Kabetogama.

And camped at the Arrowhead Lodge & Resort.

The deer were quite bold and came near our campsite every night.

This leopard Frog is right at home in Voyageurs.

 Although most of the park is accessed via boat,
there are 3 visitor centers in the park.
We drove to two of them and also hiked the Blind Ash Bay Trail.

To get a real feel for the watery park,
we hired the owner of Arrowhead Lodge to take us on a boat tour of the park.
One of the places he took us was Ellsworth Gardens,
a rock garden on an island created by the original owner
 consisting of rock walls & stone statues that he
 built without the use of power tools or equipment.

You have to marvel at how he moved the large rocks.

The sunset over Lake Kabetogama was beautiful.

 Voyageurs was a magical place.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Superior's North Shore

After visiting Isle Royale, we explored the north shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota.
Our first stop was Grand Portage National Monument.

The monument consists of a replica of Fort Charlotte,
the trading post at Lake Superior near the 8.15 mile portage from the Pigeon River.

The monument is well worth a visit.
There are re-enactors and buildings as they were in the late 1700's.
 The north shore is characterized by rocky bluffs & cobblestone beaches.
There are plenty of hiking trails & skiing hills.
These are just a few of the many waterfalls that make up Cascade Falls.
Grand Marais harbor

Lots of fresh fish.
 View of Grand Marais from the Gunflint Trail.

A Minnesota chipmunk.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Isle Royale National Park

Continuing my quest to see all the national parks,
we added Isle Royale to the list on this trip.

Isle Royale is an island in Lake Superior accessible only by boat or seaplane.
Consequently, it s one of the least visited national parks.

We took a 2 hour boat trip to get to the island.

The island is 45 miles long & 9 miles wide and the only means of travel is by foot.
It is a popular place to backpack.

 Visitors are allowed to eat as many berries as they want.
Blueberies, raspberries & these yummy tart-sweet thimbleberries were all ripe for picking.

We only had a day to explore the west end of the island, called Windigo,
so we listened to a ranger's talk, walked a nature trail and checked out the backpackers' cabins .
 Moose & wolves are both present on the island.
Moose probably swam from the Canadian mainland 15 miles away.
Wolves crossed the frozen lake in the exceptionally cold winter of 1948-1949.
We didn't see either of them, but I did see this interesting caterpillar.

We also watched a floatplane arrive and drop off backpackers.

We  enjoyed our day at Isle Royale.
Maybe someday we can return for a longer stay.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Finding Treasure

The area near Thunder Bay is also known for its amethyst mines.
Several mines allow visitors to stop by and collect specimens.

So being a rockhound, I had to stop.
 The mine is basically a big dynamited hole in the ground and for no charge,
 you are allowed to pick through the piles of excavated rocks to find the purple gemstones.
The Blue Points mine didn't disappoint.
I figured we'd be lucky to find one or two pretty rocks.
There was a slight drizzle while we were there, which emphasized the colored crystals
and they were everywhere.
 Twenty dollars bought you a bucket of treasure!

It was great fun!


Oh Canada!

Before we headed north to Canada,
 we watched boats go through the locks at Sault Ste Marie.

The Algoma Spirit barge in the lock

The barge after the water level is dropped.
It can now continue down the Saint Lawrence Seaway.

 We followed the Circle the Lake tour around Lake Superior.

  This is Chippewa Falls, the halfway point on the Trans-Canada highway.

We visited the town of Wawa, Ontario  and saw the Big Goose.

We also saw the Gitchee Goomees statues.
 (The Chippewa Indians called Lake Superior, Kitchi-gummi meaning "great water".)

 We checked out the hometown of Winnie-the-Pooh author, A. A. Milne.

There are lots of beautiful sights along Lake Superior.
This is Aguasabon River Gorge, the waterfall is hidden to the left.

We stopped at many beachside pullouts.
I found the beaches fascinating being made up of tiny red, pink & black pebbles.

Near Thunder Bay, we visited the Terry Fox Memorial.
Terry Fox was a Canadian athlete who, after losing a leg to cancer,
 embarked on a cross-Canada run to raise awareness of cancer & a cure.
He ran 3339 miles before ending his run at the memorial site,
 forced from his quest by the illness that ultimately ended his life.

We camped near White Lake and listened to the call of the loons.
Canada is truly beautiful and full of natural wonders.