Monday, June 27, 2011

Duluth (part 2) - A Drive Along the North Shore

Roger here...  Before our visit to Duluth, Minnesota, my impression was that it was a cold, industrial place.  How wrong I was.   It is beautiful in the summer (probably in the winter, too) and one of the most pristine cities I have ever encountered -- so many outdoor activities to do in this amazing setting.  We like it so much here that we are doing two days' worth of driving tomorrow, just so we can stay one more day.  

Our days have been spent watching the river traffic, wandering around the entertainment area by the lake,  touring the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center, walking the dogs along the seemingly endless lake-side beach, and viewing the huge "Lakers" or "Salties" as they glide under the aerial bridge, to the accompaniment of the cheering crowds enjoying food and beverage on the elevated decks of the riverside pubs.  We have been able to enjoy all this without even getting in the car -- all walking distance from our campsite.  

We did, however, get in the car yesterday.  I was told not to miss the scenic drive along the north shore of Lake Superior on highway 61.  We drove 24 miles to Two Harbors, and then traveled an additional 13 to Gooseberry Falls State Park.  Bandido went with us.  Chaplin does not like car travel, and he seems to be less tolerant of uncomfortable things than he used to be.  We continue to be concerned about him.  (Better that he enjoy a nap in the motor home than watching him pant in the back seat of the car.  We felt badly leaving him behind, even though we knew he was happier.)

Moving on....  The drive to Two Harbors was so pretty.  Mile after mile of lake views, jutting tree-covered peninsulas and rocky ledges.

I thought Bandido needed an adventure, so I encouraged him to walk along the top of a rock fence.  (He was on a leash that I was firmly holding.  I was also holding his collar - no danger of falling.)  

Our stop at Two Harbors was brief.  It is a quaint little town that boasts a well-maintained lighthouse.  We did not stop at the lighthouse, because we wanted to spend our time hiking at the state park further down the road.

The drive continued to be scenic.  We passed through tunnels chiseled through the rock.  

Acres and acres of purple, white and pink lupines lined the roadway.

Sue and Jim urged us not to miss Gooseberry Falls State Park.  Thanks to them we discovered a magnificent place that we did not know existed.  After spending some time searching for a place to park, the three of us (including Bandido) leisurely walked along the trails that surrounded the three water falls (upper, middle, lower).  By the way, Bandido was great on his leash among the crowds of people -- no lunging, lots of friendly petting.

All the trails, bridges, and retaining walls were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression.  On our travels we have discovered endless public works projects that gave people work during those tough times, and which we continue to enjoy decades later.

Due to the huge local rainfalls, the waterfalls were turbulent and spectacular.  Enjoy the photos:

Below the three falls, a gentle walkway meandered along the river on its way to Lake Superior.  We followed it for a while. 

 We did not see any beaver, but we certainly saw evidence of their presence:

Eventually, hunger trumped any further wanderings down the trail.  It was lunch time and we needed food.  Back we traveled to Two Harbors, where we spotted a Culver's with outdoor seating.  Bandido was able to join us.

In a completely unrelated matter...  we took the dogs on a long walk on the beach this morning.  Walking Chaplin is like walking a butterfly, so Dianne typically walks him.  Bandido, on the other hand, is like walking a bull.  He needs a firm presence on the other side of the leash, so I typically walk him.  Since there were a lot of small kids on the beach, we kept both dogs on leashes.  At one point, Chaplin started his mule routine where he refuses to walk unless it is where he wants to go.  I offered to switch dogs.  Dianne accepted. 

 Within a minute, when Dianne's attention was focused elsewhere, Bandido went into a full run while on his expandable leash. When he reached the end of his leash Dianne was sent air-borne and eventually landed face-first in the sand.  (SPLAT!!  -- D.)  My first reaction was to laugh -- probably a mistake, but Dianne was laughing, too.  Bandido's first reaction was to run back to Dianne and climb on her back so she could not get back up while licking her face at the same time.  Too bad we didn't have the camera.  So funny!

Tomorrow we travel to Munising, Michigan in the Upper Peninsula for an eight-night stay on the banks of Lake Superior.  

The pet picture of the day showcases Bandido as he contemplates life while gazing across the vastness of Lake Superior.


Mike and Terri said...

Oh no, Dianne, we hope you're okay after Bandido's little romp.

Those lupines and falls are just gorgeous!

Shirley said...

We seem to be traveling just ahead of you. We thought the falls were amazing. Now we are at Beraga State Park. It is not so amazing. Heading to Marquette tomorrow for the holiday weekend. I really enjoy your blog, keep up the good work!