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Category Archives: Minnesota State Parks

Our second stop for the day was Tettegouche State Park where we hiked the Shovel Point Trail which runs along the lake. This tree is a popular photographic subject because the roots have grown around a large rock.

While we were checking the tree out this fellow came along the trail. He seemed to be licking the sap off of the branch.

There were a couple of rock climbers working the face.

Looking closely you can see the ice on the cliffs along the shore. This is what remains from a large northeaster from a week earlier. It created some spectacular ice formations along the cliffs.

 

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Normally we don’t drive up the North Shore of Lake Superior on a weekend because there are just too many people around. However, it was a beautiful day and we had been kicked out of our condo garage because it was being cleaned. We decided to get up early and beat the crowd. When we arrived at Gooseberry there were about 20 cars in the parking lot. We walked up to Upper Falls and took a few photos. I was a little surprised there wasn’t more water flowing in the river.

Tough taking waterfall photos in the bright sunlight. This is a shot of Middle Falls.

There was a spray coming off of Middle Falls and it was cold enough to produce an ice covering on some of the vegetation below the falls.

There were also quite a few fishermen below the lower falls. I didn’t see anyone catch anything.

When we returned to the car the parking lot was starting to fill up.

The weather was going to turn warm so we decided to hear up the North Shore from Duluth to hike to the high falls of the Baptism River. On the way up the sun came out making it a little warm for hiking. More photos from Tettegouche State Park can be found on my website.

After walking over to the falls for some photos we decided to cross the bridge over the Baptism River and photograph the top of the falls with the sun at our back.

By the time we were finished with our hike we were pooped. I think it was a combination of several days of skiing, a hilly trail, warm weather and difficult waking conditions.

After lunch we headed back to Duluth with a stop at Cascade River State Park.

It was late in the day when we arrived at Grand Portage State Park for our hike to High Falls. As I mentioned the previous few days had seen heavy rain so we were braced to get drenched from the mist coming off of the falls. We were not disappointed. It was difficult to photograph the falls because the lens kept getting covered in water droplets. This is a common problem at this location.

As we finished hiking the Split Rock River Loop Trail we could see some big waves down by the lake. We drove down for a closer look and did find some big waves crashing into the shore.

The last time we drove to Duluth, Minnesota there were 40-50 mph winds blowing so we decided to continue on up the North Shore and see if we could catch some big waves. The winds were blowing from the South East and  there were no big waves. We stopped at Gooseberry Falls to check out the conditions.

Upper Falls

Upper Falls

Middle Falls

At the time I thought we should have driven to Grand Marais, Minnesota but we didn’t have time. Paul Sundberg was able to capture the furry of the storm in the harbor.

We met up with a friend in Duluth before heading up the North Shore to Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. Our goal was to hike the five mile Split Rock River Loop Trail. When we arrived at the trailhead the trail looked to be in good shape. We debated taking our ice grippers and finally decided to take them along. Good thing we did because we we encountered ice on the trail at we crested the first hill. If we didn’t have the ice grippers we would not have been able to make the hike because the trail was very icy and steep. In some places a slip would have meant a long slide down the gorge into the River.

Split Rock falls was still iced up with just a little water flowing at the bottom of the falls.

We crossed over a small stream and made our way over the the main section of the Split Rock River. The River was still mainly ice but water was flowing in some places.

In a few places the rushing water was producing foam formations one of which looked like a volcano.

As we started the hike we noticed a sign indicating that the foot bridge over the Split Rock River was closed. Last spring when we hiked this trail the bridge looked like it wasn’t safe but we still used it. It looked like the park service had cut the bridge down because only the footings on either side of the river were still standing. We walked down the river a short distance before finding a snow bridge over the river. You can see a portion of the bridge in the background.

We were happy to make it over the river because returning on the same trail would have been difficult because of the ice conditions. There were still some icy conditions on the trail but it wasn’t nearly as bad as the hike up.

As we emerged from the forest we had a great view of Lake Superior. The wind was blowing at about 25 miles an hour out of the East and there were some nice waves hitting the shore. We decided to drive over to the Split Rock Lighthouse and check out the waves.

It was such a beautiful day we decided to continue on to Tettegouche State Park where we hiked out to Shovel Point. There was still enough ice on the trail that it made for some tricky going particularly when walking down the steps. As I mentioned in an earlier post there had been an ice storm but most of the ice was already gone. We had been at Tettegouche in 2011 after a fierce March storm deposited large amounts of ice along Shovel Point. I’ve included a few photos below for comparison.

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Shovel Point

Shovel Point 2011

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Schovel Point Steps

Shovel Point Steps 2011

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Gooseberry Falls State Park is a popular place for ice climbing but this is the first time I had seen any climbers. It looked to be an instructional session. This was taking place at the lower falls. The lower falls splits and this section was an ice wall and the other section was a waterfalls. More photos from Gooseberry Falls can be found on my website.

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