After months of limited mobility because of Covid, we broke away for three nights "Up Nord." That means either "at the lake" or on the north shore.
The north shore is the 145 mile coast of Lake Superior from Duluth to Grand Portage, MN, near the Canadian border. Superior is the largest body of freshwater in the world by surface area (two others are deeper). The Ojibwe name is gichi-gami, with which Longfellow and Gordon Lightfoot took liberties.
A series of state parks surround the north shore rivers on their way down to the lake. Temperance River is supposedly a pun from the fact that the river has no sand bar near its mouth. Seems a stretch to me.
Hiking up the mountain and away from the lake, we saw views of the water. Winter is rough here and ice storms damage many of the paper birch.
Classic bear scat on the trail, complete with berries. We never saw a bear and did not notice the precautions one sees out west, such as impregnable garbage cans.
The shoreline has a New England feel but is basically a straight line, without the many inlets of Maine. The shoreline is volcanic basalt holding the two coasts of the continent together as they attempt to drift apart. Very symbolic.
If you look carefully, you can discern a sea kayak in the middle of the picture. Superior's surface temperature ranges between 32 and 55 °F, so you have minutes to exit if you fall in.
Regulation of the border with Canada has gotten weird. Instead of guarding ourselves against infiltration (as the sign implies), the Canadians now (reasonably) disallow casual American crossings because of the U.S. failure to control Covid.
Next stop was Cascades State Park, whose name is less mysterious.
After the fur, timber, and iron mining trades took advantage of the region, Teddy Roosevelt stepped in to establish the Superior National Forest. Along with the shoreline highway of the 1920's, these attracted people like us. The highway, Route 61, is featured in a Bob Dylan song as he grew up in a nearby iron mining town.
We hiked portions of the Superior hiking trail, a 300-mile route from Duluth to the border, completed just in 2017. I had not known they had Appalachain-Trail-style lean-tos. Frankly, we would prefer a tent.
Spectacular burls on a spruce in Cascades state park. In a more remote location, this would be vulnerable to poaching as the finished wood is beautiful. Burls are usually caused by invading insects.
The color of Superior and the atmosphere over it was always changing. This is dusk from our cottage deck.