This past week we took a road trip up the Minnesota North Shore. This time we didn’t stop at the border and went all the way to Thunder Bay. This was my first visit to Thunder Bay in about fifteen years.
Snake Pit Falls
As is our normal routine we made our first stop at Amnicon Falls State Park. I was surprised to find the water levels in the Amnicon River at a high level. Typically at this time of year they are much lower. Swimming was prohibited in the park because of the high water levels. This shot was taken at the top of Snake Pit Falls.
Wisconsin Point Lighthouse
Our second stop was Wisconsin Point. This was my second visit to Wisconsin Point this summer. The wind was really kicking up and it was difficult to stand on the breakwater in the strong winds. The water in the bay was really churned up and was a brown color. In this shot of the Wisconsin Point Lighthouse you can see movement in the grass from the strong winds.
We then went on to Gooseberry Falls State Park. The water levels were really low along the North Shore. This was a little surprising given the high water at Amnicon Falls. The place was packed with visitors. I would have liked to get some photos of the falls with the lower water levels but it was impossible to take a photo without getting at least a half dozen people in it. This is why I rarely visit the North Shore from mid June until after Labor Day.
Split Rock Lighthouse
We then drove up to Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. I thought we would have to purchase a park sticker but you can visit the lighthouse without a sticker so we saved a little money. It was really windy at the lighthouse and it was difficult to hear the tour guide with the wind blowing. This photo was taken on an earlier trip. Too many folks on the tour to get good photos this trip.
After leaving the lighthouse we encountered some rain squalls on our drive to Grand Marais. There were several rainbows along the lake. One of them lasted from Split Rock to just south of Grand Marais. I’ve never seen a rainbow last this long.
We stopped briefly at Cascade Falls State Park. The water levels were low but I find that Cascade Falls is more impressive with less water flowing over the falls. With less water the falls is framed by the black rock surrounding the falling water.
Grand Marais Harbor Lighthouse
I was able to spend a couple of days shooting in Grand Marais. The sunset was very interesting with a rain squall in the background and a rainbow dropping through the clouds. The sunrise was less spectacular with almost no clouds around. This is a shot of the harbor light with interesting cloud formations in the background.
High Falls of the Pigeon River
Later in the morning we headed for Grand Portage State Park to photograph High Falls on the Pigeon River. The sun was out by the time we reached the falls. It was a beautiful day and I managed a few photographs of the falls with a rainbow appearing and disappearing at the base of the falls.
At Thunder Bay we stopped at Kakabeka Falls. There was not a lot of water coming over the falls. In fact it was extremely dry in the Thunder Bay area. I was also photographing in bright sunlight so the conditions were not the best. You have to pay to visit the park and we had quite a time making our payment at the automated ticket machine. Apparently we don’t get out enough.
Fort William Historical Park was on our agenda for the afternoon. We were too late for some of the events but did walk around the park. I have to say that our previous visit when our son was about seven years old was a lot more fun since many of the activities are geared to kids. This is a shot of the fur stores.
We drove around Thunder Bay in the evening. I can’t say that I was all that impressed. They are working on the waterfront and when that is done it should be spectacular to visit. We stopped at International Friendship Gardens where I snapped this photo of a friendly Blue-winged Teal.
The next morning we headed back down to the border. Our first stop was at Grand Portage National Monument in Grand Portage. There is a nice visitors center and a restored fort on the waterfront. Normally when I stop the fort is closed for the season. This time the fort was open and, as luck would have it, Rendezvous Days and a Traditional Pow Wow were going to be starting the next day. About half the participants had already arrived by Thursday so we were able to wander around the encampment talking to folks. This is a shot of one of voyageur’s daughters entering the Kitchen at the fort.
We then headed back to Grand Marais so my wife and her sisters could tours the shops and I could take some photos of the harbor. I was lucky enough to catch the schooner Hjørdis sailing into the harbor. Also in the harbor were lots of Inuksuks. This was a particularly impressive one. We finished off the visit with a lunch at Sven and Ole’s.