Minnesota North Shore – The In-Between, Day 4

Day4This was finally the morning where there was no fog to speak of.  Although waking up at 4:30 a.m. while on vacation seems a bit crazy, sometimes it pays off.  The Grand Portage Trading Post (gas station) is not open at this hour.  You are stuck with the coffee in your room.  We made our way to Hollow Rock Resort for a sunrise shoot.  It is a very short distance from the casino.  It was a cool morning and the mosquitoes where a titch unruly, but manageable…at times.  Our Hallow Rock Point sunrise shaped up nicely – no fog, clouds on the horizon and beautiful color.

Grand Portage National Monument was next on the list.  There is some amazing history to learn about there.

The journey didn’t end here.  We ventured into Canada.  I have never been into Canada from this entry point and finally my curiosity was going to be over.  Not far in we spied a cheese sign and had to check it out.  Thunder Oak Cheese Farm was a nice little pit stop along our way and certainly filled the void during snack time, which happened to be at that very moment.

We made our way through the city of Thunder Bay on our way to find some Amethyst.  There are a few veins of the purple rock North and East of the city.  Amethyst Mine Panorama is where we ended up (B on the map above).    The mine is about 80 miles from Grand Portage, MN and 63 km from Thunder Bay, CA off of the 11/17 Trans Canadian Hwy.  How exciting this destination is – is directly related to how much you like Amethyst.  The mine tour is pretty minimal.  You exit the office and walk by some really big Amethyst rocks and then stand there overlooking a hole in the ground.  The gist of it is that there are two miners picking out the premium Amethyst.  What they don’t want (the not-so-premium stuff) they dump in an area where you can go and dig around yourself.  That is precisely what we did.  They have tools for digging and buckets to collect your treasure in.  When you are done with all of that, there is a washing station to scrub your gems clean to get a closer look at them.  Once you have decided what you cannot live without, it is a short trip to the office to pay $3.00/lb.  Cyndie found some really interesting specimens; for $12 we got to bring them back home.  *WARNING* — *BEWARE* — crazy Canadian blood-sucking vampire gnats abound in the treasure hunting area.  We suffered a bit of a casualty that beautiful July afternoon.  Cyndie was bit in the eyelid a few time – enough to make her one eye swell almost completely shut and there were also a couple of swollen welts on her neck.  There were a few eye patch and pirate jokes.  She was a trooper.  The gnats didn’t bother me, but the crazy Canadian blood-sucking vampire mosquitoes were all over me tapping me for much O Negative nectar.

Here are some shots from our visit to Amethyst Mine Panorama

We had a pleasant excursion into Canada.  We had planned to visit a couple of provincial parks, but didn’t make it there.  We made our way back to border crossing and then back to Two Harbors.  That was a long day (just shy of 3oo miles), but we saw a lot of beautiful country.

Here are my shots of the Minnesota North Shore – The in between, Day 4


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