Crossing back into the United States at Grand Portage, Minnesota we had the nicest US Board Patrol agent we’ve ever had coming home. Unfortunately, the weather was still grey and foggy and being married to a photographer there were some grumbly noises about flat light now that there were actually more open views of Lake Superior. Oh well, that seems to be our lot on this trip.
Our first stop continuing on Superior Scenic RT 61 was at Judge C.R. Magney State Park where we wanted to hike the Devil’s Kettle Falls trail.
After our lovely walk, a Sunday Brunch at the Naniboujou Lodge was definitely on our day’s schedule. Planned and built as an exclusive private club, Naniboujou had the misfortune of opening in July of 1929, followed by the disastrous October stock market crash that Fall. Foreclosure came in 1935. Now privately owned, and open to the public we highly recommend Sunday Brunch….best bacon I ever had!!
Completely stuffed, but happy, we continued south to the Cascade River State Park where we would camp for the night. After using most of our leveling blocks 😦 we walked back the Cascade River Trail enjoying the waterfalls flowing down the gorge.
We stopped briefly at Tettegouche State Park where at the visitor center there is an excellent display of different kinds of scat, so you too can know what wild animal left their “calling card” for you.
The Split Rock Lighthouse was an especially fun stop. An advantage to cool grey weather is using the kitchens wood burning oven is not uncomfortable. Ed was delighted to find the “lightkeeper’s wife” was just taking her ginger bread cake out and yes, he could certainly have a taste 🙂
The Silver Creek Tunnel (about 5 miles north of Two Harbors) was completed in 1994 and we stopped to walk the section of RT 61 that the tunnel replaced. Taking 3 years to complete, 500,000 cubic yards of rock had to be blasted and removed to accommodate this 1,344 foot long pass through Silver Creek Cliff.
Leaving Minnesota at Duluth, we agreed this drive along Lake Superior was very different than our drive in Canada. Geared towards tourists, there were many more scenic overlooks and because of the large number of waterfalls many places to stop and take a walk or a full-blown hike. Even though the weather wasn’t the best, and we moved along pretty quickly, we enjoyed ourselves.
Next up, of course, was Wisconsin and we stopped for the night at Amnicon Falls State Park where first thing in the morning we took the short walk to enjoy the falls.
Taking US 2 to RT 13 to continue our Lake Superior tour, we stopped in Cornucopia at Marine Harbor.
At the small store at Halvorson Fisheries, we bought some of their brown sugar smoked whitefish and a small container of smoked whitefish dip. Whitefish (Lake Whitefish) is a/the major fish coming out of Lake Superior. It’s in all the restaurants and shops and being very mild in flavor, very popular. The gentleman we chatted with in Halvorson’s told us “It don’t get any better than that dip, and the fish…I eat it 3, 4 times a week!” After our own taste tests… the dip, with crackers… not bad; the smoked, with crackers… not bad; battered & fried with tartar sauce… not bad…; as chowder….good…..BUT…if given a choice, Cod is better. 🙂
We have been in Wisconsin a couple of times over the years and really loved the south/west/central area. Our favorite is the coulee area. Water erosion has cut deep, steep-sided valleys with relatively flat and narrow ridges. Heavily farmed with mostly corn, soybeans, hay and alfalfa. Fields flowing over the rolling curves, highs and lows of the landscape, it is unlike almost anywhere we’ve ever been. It’s incredibly beautiful. Unfortunately, every time we’ve been here the light has been just flat and photographs just don’t do it justice, but that’s ok, we will be back again.
Weather, i.e. the light, has been a big issue this whole adventure. That being said, the Minnesota Lake Superior Circle route is lovely. The Wisconsin Coulee Area is almost magical and we recommend all of this for your MVL (Must Visit List)….just try to do it when the Sun is shining 🙂