MN North Shore – Autumn Journey – Day 2

Day 2 began exquisitely.  We made our way down to waters edge in Grand Marais for a sunrise shoot.  Nature cooperated nicely.  From there, we back-tracked a bit to Cascade River State Park for a beautiful morning hike up the river gorge among the picturesque cascades.  Next we got off the beaten path (Hwy 61) and made our way towards another destination (Hollow Rock Resort).  After checking in we were off on the Gunflint Trail  to drive a loop through the forest in search of Devilfish overlook.    We got closed, but missed a road and stumbled on a Red Fox – cute little bugger; then just continued on our way.  We decided to take another run at a sunset at Honey Moon Bluff that overlooks Hungry Jack Lake off the Gunflint Trail.  The second attempt yielded better results than the first.

Another full day on the MN North Shore.  Love this place.  There is a surprise around every corner.

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Minnesota North Shore – Cascade River State Park

Cascade River is the sixth park you will encounter while traveling the North Shore.  This park doesn’t have much of a presence right off the road; there is a wayside that looks out over Lake Superior, but the best parts are along the easy hiking trails opposite the lake.  These cascades are spectacular.  The River cascades over one ledge after another as it drops 900 feet in the last three miles as it makes its way to Lake Superior.  The volcanic canyon is home to many fragrant cedar trees and we even stumbled upon some lady slippers in bloom.  The 18 miles of hiking trails loop up around Lookout and Mouse mountains as well as parallel Lake Superior right along the beach (1.5 miles) where you will find seven picnic sites.  This park offers a variety of camping options which include several semi-modern drive-up, two group camps and five back pack-in sites.

I think this was by far our favorite park of the trip.  The cascades are just so beautiful as our you complete surroundings.  I definitely would like to make plans to return here in the Fall for the leaf color.  From Temperance River on up is my favorite stretch of the North Shore.  I stumbled upon the Trifecta:  Three Parks.  Three Trails.  Three Days.  This would be absolutely fantastic to do – especially along this stretch of the North Shore.

History

Years ago, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) had a camp at the Cascade River. The men in this camp worked on a variety of conservation projects. Today, you can see some of their handiwork on the trails that wind along the river. One enrollee told how they cut and moved the large pine logs from Cascade down to Gooseberry Falls State Park to finish buildings in that park. From the beginning, Cascade was thought of as a state park, but it wasn’t until 1957 that it was officially designated as such.

Here are my shots from my recent visit to Cascade River State Park.

The State Parks:  (1) Gooseberry Falls |(2) Split Rock Lighthouse | (3) Tettegouche | (5) Temperance River | (6) Cascade River | (7) Judge C.R. Magney | (8) Grand Portage

Minnesota North Shore – Gooseberry Falls State Park

Gooseberry Falls is the first state park you will encounter heading North from Duluth.  This “gateway to the North Shore” is situated 40 scenic miles North from Duluth along Hwy 61 and the beautiful Lake Superior shoreline.  Known primarily for its waterfalls, five in all, this park offers some tremendous views of the awesome power of water.  The 23 mile long Gooseberry River runs through the park with varying degrees of volume as it is highly dependent on rain water runoff.  The river was plump with water for our visit in July; we photographed all but Fifth Falls.  Other items of interest include Agate Beech and the 18 miles of hiking trails, of which 8 are mountain biking trails.  There is no shortage of things to see at this park.

History

The area known as Gooseberry Falls State Park is intricately tied to human use of Lake Superior. At different times, the Cree, the Dakotah, and the Ojibwe lived along the North Shore. As early as 1670, the Gooseberry River appeared on explorer maps. The river was either named after the French explorer Sieur des Groseilliers or after the Anishinabe Indian name, Shab-on-im-i-kan-i-sibi; when translated, both refer to gooseberries. In the 1870s, commercial and sport fishermen began to use this area.

By the 1890s, logging became the principle use of the land around the Gooseberry River. In 1900, the Nestor Logging Company built its headquarters at the river mouth and a railway was used to carry the pine to the lake for rafting to the sawmills. Because of fires and intensive logging pressures, the pine disappeared by the early 1920s.

With the rise of North Shore tourism in the 1920s, there was a concern that the highly scenic North Shore would be accessible only to the rich. As a result the Legislature authorized preservation of the area around Gooseberry Falls in 1933. The following year, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) began to develop the park. CCC crews built the park’s stone and log buildings and the 300-foot long “Castle in the Park” stone retaining wall. They also laid out the original campground, picnic grounds and trails. The area officially became Gooseberry Falls State Park in 1937. The CCC camps closed in 1941, but the park’s CCC legacy lives on. Designed with ties to the CCC, a new visitor center/wayside rest and Highway 61 bridge was opened in 1996. CCC camp photo albums: Camp life  This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.Buildings/historic site  This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.Legacy Self-guided Tour checklist & map  This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it..

The State Parks:  (1) Gooseberry Falls |(2) Split Rock Lighthouse | (3) Tettegouche | (5) Temperance River | (6) Cascade River | (7) Judge C.R. Magney | (8) Grand Portage

Creating a Backyard Oasis

Backyard view from deck
Backyard view from deck

Cyndie and I are on our second season of creation and construction of the backyard oasis.  This project has been extensive – lots of dirt and rock moved; all by hand.  No single master plan existed when we started.  There were many small plans that have come together on paper, in our minds and dreams.  Much work was completed last year and even more continues this year.  It is a labor of love creating a peaceful backyard oasis where you can relax over your lunch break, kick back after a long day at work or spend the better park of a Saturday lounging around listening to the stream, smelling the blooms and watching the wildlife.

As I post this and am looking at the pano-view above I see so many changes that happened yesterday immediately following the picture.  It is amazing what can be accomplished in a single day.  You cannot fully appreciate all that has transpired without seeing the before (coming soon), but I’ll take you around the space with a quick photo-tour.

Leaving the backdoor into the yard from the deck [completed last year]:

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Up the path towards the pond patio [completed last year]:

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The pond, stream and four waterfalls [completed last year]:

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Right side flower garden [completed last year]:

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Wiener Run (stairway to Wiener Trail) [completed last year]:

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Wiener Trail [completed last year]:

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Upper vegetable garden (carrots, spinach, dill, beans, cantaloupe, watermelon, dumpling squash, strawberries and blueberries  [new this year]:

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Hammock patio [new this year]:

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View from Hammock patio [main patio and pergola completed last year]:

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Left side flower garden [partially completed last year] and “the pit” (foreground).  The pit has functioned as our plant staging place, bin and potting container collection site and home of “chippy” which Audrey is hunting currently.  Still formulating a plan in my mind for the pit area:

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Backyard entrance – flower pallet  [new this year]:

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Lower vegetable garden [completed last year]:

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Side herb garden [new this year]:

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*All rock for walls were picked by hand and hauled by car and set to rest manually in the yard.  Good times 🙂