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Category Archives: Canal Park

Last Thursday we decided to take a walk around Downtown Duluth, Minnesota. It had been a while since our last visit and we wanted to see what was going on. Our first stop was to check out the Superior Street Construction. Duluth has decided it was time to replace Superior Street and update the utilities under the street. This is phase one of a three year project. Unfortunately in redesigning Superior Street the Duluth City Council had it’s head buried in the sand. Rather than rebuilding the street for the future they decided to build for the past. After all parking was the top priority of the businesses along the street even though there was plenty of unused parking in adjacent ramps. Having traveled extensively I was aware that the future of downtown’s is in walking streets and both in this country and Europe are many good examples of walking streets. Reykjavik, Iceland turns their main streets into walking streets during the summer months. Well Duluth is not know to be a forward looking community.

 

We then attempted to walk down to the harbor area through the sky walk. Unfortunately access to the harbor was blocked off. A severe spring storm damaged the waterfront a few weeks ago. There were already problems along the harbor as the seawall had been undercut and the land was falling into the harbor. The storm made matters worse. This happens to be the area where the Tall Ships dock when they come to Duluth. Probably no Tall Ships until the area is repaired. There were workmen in the area attempting to assess the damage.

While we were checking out the damage we noticed some unusual smoke coming from the Husky Energy oil refinery in Superior, Wisconsin. We figured there had been a minor accident and didn’t pay much attention.

 

We then had to take a circuitous route to The William A. Irvin because the harbor area is blocked off. This is an old ore ship that has been turned into a museum and offers tours during the summer. This area was already under repair because pier had been undercut by wave action. The $6.1 million Minnesota Slip seawall reconstruction project just resumed after a lengthy delay. Unfortunately the project failed to get the proper signatures and was closed down for six weeks. The plan is to drive new steel pilings then pour a new seawall. The delay has caused problems for the Vista Fleet tour boats one of which docks in back of the Irvin. If that wern’t enough the slip is contaminated and remediation is scheduled to take place this fall.

In addition the Blue Slip Bridge was undergoing painting and it was also closed.

This section of the seawall was breached in the April storm. Waves were above the seawall and sand still has not been removed. The waves were so high they touched the bottom of the Aerial Lift Bridge.

Canal Park remains a disaster zone. A sever October storm severely damaged the lakewalk. The April storm did even more damage. The pilot house used for the bike rentals is closed and will likely not open this summer and perhaps it will never reopen. Because of the damage to the lakewalk the city decided the rental bikes take up too much space in the remaining walk area. The bike path will have to be used for walkers and bikes because the boardwalk was destroyed in the October storm and experienced even more damage in the April storm. Current estimates are that it will take two years to repair the damage.

The city has not been able to assess the damage from the most recent storm because the boardwalk and surrounding area is still covered in ice from the latest storm.

After lunch we decided to take a walk over to Park Point to assess the damage to the beach area. As we started our walk we could see huge plums of smoke coming from the Husky Energy oil refinery in Superior. We decided that we had to drive over that way to get some meat at Superior Meats so we should check out what was going on at the same time. As it turns out there was a minor explosion which is what we saw in the morning but around noon there was a major explosion and fire. Fortunately no one was killed and only one person was seriously injured. Most of the workers were having lunch in blast shelters at the time of the explosion.

This shot is from the Blatnick Bridge.

A second shot from Superior.

A shot taken near the Superior Airport which is near the refinery. As were driving toward Superior Meats my wife complained about all of the traffic. She though there might be an evacuation of the area. I thought she was nuts it was just a busy time of day. When we reached Superior Meats the door was locked but there was no notice on the door. About that time my wife received a mandatory evacuation order on her phone. The all of the employees came running out of the store. We decided that maybe we shouldn’t be driving around through a toxic cloud.

Later in the day we drove up to Enger Park to check out the fire in Superior. It was getting late in the day and the fire was still spewing a toxic cloud of smoke. There were a number of people watching the fire. Apparently some of them had been evacuated from Superior because the kids wanted to know when they could go back home.

After that excitement we drove down to Park Point. We love to walk the Park Point beach but between the eroded shoreline on one side and the high ice wall on the other there wasn’t much to see so it was a short visit. It doesn’t appear that this storm cause much more damage along the shoreline. The October storm caused considerable damage. That along with the the high lake levels in Lake Superior had caused flooding in the basements of many Park Point homes. They have been running sump pumps to keep water out of their basements.

What started out as a nice walk through Duluth turned in to a disaster tour of the Twin Ports.

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When someone goes down to Canal Park to watch a ship come in and two ships come in and/or go out it is called a twofer. On this particular day the Michipicoten was coming in.

The Walter J. McCarthy, Jr. was on its way out of the harbor.

When we are in Duluth I like to walk down to Canal Park to watch the sunrise. On this particular morning I was setting up and heard a loud splash. A little while later I noticed that a couple of young men swimming out to Uncle Harvey’s Mausoleum. This the first time I had seen anyone on the Mausoleum at sunrise.

I took their picture then did a couple of panoramas from the same location.

There were some beautiful clouds in the sky over the harbor entrance.

As the sun rose the South Breakwater Light just glowed.

There were some great shots of the South Breakwater Inner Light which is privately owned.

Sunlight and water always make for some nice shots.

My wife and I frequently walk down to Canal Park in Duluth, Minnesota to watch the ships arrive. On this night we were able to catch two ships as they arrived about an hour apart. The first to arrive was the Baie Comeau flying the Canadian Flag.

Between ships we walked out to the North Breakwater Light. There have been a large number of Double-breasted Cormorants hanging around the harbor this year.

There was some nice light and clouds behind the North Breakwater Light.

We watched the Herbert C. Jackson approach the ship canal.

Throughout the evening there were some interesting lake/sky photos.

 

My wife always carries some peanuts when we go down to Canal Park in Duluth to watch the ships. Between ships she feeds the gulls peanuts. It’s great fun to watch them.

The Indiana Harbor arrived in Duluth while I was photographing the Sunrise.

I walked down to Canal Park to photograph the sunrise. This was the first time I caught the sunrise in a long time. Ran into another photographer I haven’t in a long time.

Managed to photograph some feathers that were on the North Breakwater Light.

We have had an urban cabin in Duluth since 2012 but had never attended Grandma’s Marathon. This year we decided to check it off of our bucket list. I walked through the finish area the day before the race to watch the workers putting up the stands and finish line.

That day they also had a spaghetti feed for anyone wanting to attend. After some effort I convinced my wife that we should attend. She was worried about the crowds but as it turned out most of the people attended later in the day so we just about had the place to ourselves.

As we were walking around I noticed some folks getting their picture taken with Grandma. I though it was a statue but when I went to get my photo taken it turned out to be a real grandma. She had been doing this for over 20 years.

We also waked through a health fair that was going on at the same time. My wife stopped by to purchase some Crapola. Turns out that it was very good. It is made at their world headquarters in Ely, Minnesota.

That evening I walked down to Canal Park to watch the start of the William A. Irvin 5k. I photographed the first wave of runners and decided that was the end of it. Turns out there were probably five more waves of runners to follow.

When I was looking for information about the race I noticed that the North Shore Scenic Railroad was running a trail up to the start of the race. It would wait for the start and then follow the runners along the course before returning to Duluth in time for you to see the finish of the race. Since we had never been to the race we thought this would be a great way to get an overall view of the race. Given the road clotures it would have been impossible to drive to various points along the race course. Here I am at 5am at the train station.

Turns out that the start of the race is staged at Sonju auto dealership just outside of Two Harbors.

 

I took most of my photos from the train. It was difficult to photograph from the train tracks because the weeds along the tracks were so high.

As promised the train followed the race course for quite a ways and we were able to watch the runners from a number of locations along the course. They had large water stations setup along the course. The train ride was very enjoyable with lots of local information provided as it steamed along the tracks. It had been over 20 years since we had last been on the train.

When we arrived back in Duluth we walked over near the finish line to watch runners come in. Runners from the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon were still coming in when we stationed ourselves along the course. I clearly had an incorrect view of the Marathon. I though everyone would be young and fit. Turns out all ages and body shapes were in the race. It was really inspiring to watch people finish the race.

It wasn’t long before the first racers from Grandma’s Marathon came along. Apparently the first two runners were running together but at the last water station one runner couldn’t find his special water bottle and he fell behind.

The Elite women were not far behind.

We found out the day of the race that the brother of one of our sons friends was running in the race. We were able to track his progress in the race on our phone so we stayed around to watch him head toward the finish line.

We then walked down the race course to the finish line to see what was happening. When we saw all of the racers bags lined up we were impressed at the organization the whole race must take.

We stopped and took some more pictures of the Menomonie runner so we could send them to his parents.

When we walked back our condo we went up to the skywalk system to watch the the racers come down Superior Street.

The next day when we walked down to Canal Park the cleanup was well underway.

It was cold and Dreary this weekend in Duluth. I decided to walk down to Canal Park and see if anything was going on. Not much happening. I was a little surprised at the number of people wandering around given how cold and dreary it was. The shipping season was just getting underway and there wasn’t much activity.

Uncle Harvey’s Mausoleum

Duluth Harbor Lighthouses

Padlocks

 

When we arrived back in Duluth after our trip along the North Shore we realized the Duluth Polar Bear Plunge was still taking place in Canal Park so we drove down to watch a bit of it. Canal Park was surreal. It was almost 60 degrees in mid February and the place looked like it does during the height of the summer tourist season. People were walking along the Lakewalk in shorts. There was no ice to be seen on the lake. In a normal year the only area of open water would be withing the area where the participants jump in. The rest of the lake would be frozen. The first photo is from an earlier Polar Bear Plunge.

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