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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.


Until 2017 there has been much speculation about the mystery of Devils Kettle.  Objects tossed in the hole (top left) never came out below the falls so the story was it was the Devil’s Kettle, things just disappeared into the netherworld. Last year, a hydrologist suggested the water going in be measured going in against the water coming out.  Come to find out, it was almost exactly the same. The water is not disappearing and the objects tossed in are being pulverized by the incredible force of the water pouring down into the kettle.


Below Devil’s Kettle.

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!!


From the brochure, “Probably the most memorable aspect of the lodge is the wondrously painted 30 x 80 foot dining room. Antoine Goufee, a French artist, painted Cree Indian designs over the walls and the twenty-foot-high domed ceiling (resembling the shape of a canoe). “

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.


Looking down the gorge at Cascade Falls State Park.


We walked a ways upstream encountering several more falls along the way.


Cascade Falls.

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 gravel and sand beach at Tettegouche State Park on Lake Superior.

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 🙂


Split Rock Lighthouse.


The flat strap of copper running up the side of the light is a grounding rod for lightning strikes.


This is the recipe card for the Ginger Bread Cake from the last keeper’s wife written in her hand.


The 3rd order bi-valve Fresnel lens in the light at Split Rock.

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.


The old original road passes to the left up the hill.  There was no room for error driving around the steep cliff before the tunnel was built in 1994.  Rocks were falling down and the cliff was washing out.

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.


Unlike most falls we have seen so far, there was little water in the river here due to a drought this summer. The bridge is a Horton bridge, Horton promoted his design, of a bow-strung truss as cheaper and stronger.  The roof was added by the CCC in 1939 then replaced in 1941 after snow collapsed it and then again in 1971 when vandals set it on fire.

Taking US 2 to RT 13 to continue our Lake Superior tour, we stopped in Cornucopia at Marine Harbor.


The locals really like to play at the playground at Cornucopia’s little park.


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. 🙂


Right behind Halvorson Fisheries in Marine Harbor, Cornucopia.

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.


Wisconsin Coulee crops.  It has been raining here and the crops and fields are very lush.


More coulee area farms.


Water swirling everywhere.  We are astonished at how much water there is in this part of the country.


We have joked to ourselves about how this is our Waterfall trip.  Here’s another one at Cross River along the North Coast Road in Minnesota. Notice the potholes worn in the rock by sand and gravel swirling around.


Local flora and fauna at Tettagouch State Park.


Keeper’s houses at the Split Rock Lighthouse. 


Just into Wisconsin, the Sun popped out for a couple of hours and then was gone for several days.  We had some horrific torrential rainstorms while we were in Wisconsin.  Just south of us one night, Madison got 15″ of rain in just a couple of hours.


We holed up in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin for a couple of days and we discovered Leinenhugel’s Brewery.  We took the tour even though the place was closed for repairs.  We could only see the bottling line which was pretty boring.  Ed did get to sample five of their brews plus some of Marti’s five. They all tasted exactly the same, like fizzy water… Ed’s preferred drink is Guinness.


After visiting a farmers market in Chippewa Falls we had yummy fresh veggies!  Walking back to our rig Ed saw this shadow on a wall. 


We saw this old-timey Texaco station somewhere in a small town in Wisconsin.


The bustling metropolis of Wonewoc, Wisconsin.  We have actually been to this little place three times on three separate trips.  The first time in 2006 Ed found and bought a lovely big wooden Century camera dating to about 1906.


The Sun is teasing us and later came out for a lovely couple of days.

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 🙂