Time manages to sneak by without people noticing. Some days I am very aware of how slowly my world is moving, and other days I realize months have passed with the bat of an eye. It seems like just the other day I went moose-hunting, but in reality it has been months. Before I let time escape again, I’m going to catch up on some of my summer highlights. Then I can start fresh with stories from my next short adventure out west…back to my favorite city in a week!
Sometime after my first trip to Grand Marais, my friend and I went back up there for another quick weekend. We rented an adorable tiny-house overlooking Lake Superior (through Airbnb of course), and managed to make a fire! This was quite an accomplishment because neither my friend nor I have ever built one ourselves before, which we realized with a conversation that happened in the car an hour away from where we would be building one. Even though we built a huge fire a caveman would have been in awe over, it wasn’t enough to keep the monster mosquitos from attempting to eat us alive. The mosquitos in Grand Marais are no joke, and are relentless – chasing us into the house for the night. We enjoyed conversation and laying under the skylight in the loft bed, testing our constellation knowledge.
After our peaceful evening and sleep, we spent the morning sipping coffee on the deck. Eventually we made our way into the city and explored “Artist’s Point,” or a tombolo, which is a point of land where a sand spit connects the mainland to an island offshore (according to the sign by the trail). My friend and I walked the edges of small cliffs, coffee in hand, testing our balance with Lake Superior a few lengths below us. Eventually we checked out the lighthouse, local shopping, and grabbed a bite to eat. I seriously love everything about Grand Marais – except the mosquitos and how cold it gets…..everything else though! Another super cool thing about this little port town, is that they see moose on a regular basis, sometimes strolling through town.
My friend and I really, really wanted to see a Minnesota moose, so we hit the hot spot for moose sightings: the Gunflint Trail. Now, all this time of hearing about this trail, I legitimately thought it was a hiking trail between Canada and Grand Marais. It’s not. It’s actually a scenic byway that used to be a trail, but it does have a few hiking trails branching off of it. One of which is named “Moose Viewing Trail.” Did we stop there because we were almost certain we would see a moose there? In the words of the Northern Minnesotans, “you betcha!” Did we see a moose there? No. Sadly not. We drove the entire trail, ending up 4 miles away from Canada, without seeing a moose. We did see a bear cub, an eerie abandoned car in the woods, and at least one hundred freshly hatched toads, and still had a spectacular time driving through the woods of the north.
On the way back to Duluth/Superior, we stopped by Iona’s Beach, the pink beach of Lake Superior. This beach is made up entirely of pink rocks that make a bell-like tinkling sound when the waves lift them up. This beach isn’t far from the Black Beach of Silver Bay, where the sand is actually a dark grey color – another cool beach to check out. I’m surprised the North Shore of Lake Superior hasn’t been added to the list of “totally Instagramable destinations.” The port cities are beautiful, the beaches are diverse and scenic, and the landscape is so unique. I can’t wait until I retire there for a summer to write my book (in 20 years).
My most recent trip was exploring a small part of the South Shore of Lake Superior. A couple girlfriends and I took off to Bayfield, Wisconsin for a nice, sunny Sunday-funday. We traveled to Cornucopia, WI first for shopping and fish-dip (which tasted way better than it sounds). Cornucopia is a teeny unincorporated town with a cool harbor full of boats, stores, and a fishery. There are even some very old fishing boats on display by the beach, great for boat-nerds! After we ate our fill of crackers and fish on the beach (and after Lake Superior hit us with a wave), we headed to Bayfield. Bayfield is the South Shore’s equivalent to Grand Marais. It’s a really cute and small port city with some shopping and dining. The highlight of Bayfield is that it is the “gateway to the Apostle Islands,” a series of islands famous for their cliffs and sea caves. We didn’t explore the islands since we took the trip on a whim, but I’ve been to Madeline Island once and absolutely loved it.
The South Shore of Lake Superior is very different from the North Shore. The beaches are sandy and grassy, although there are some steep cliffs in parts. I have yet to explore the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, but I hear it’s absolutely worth the trip.
I have one more post before I’m all caught up from this fun and busy summer. Fall is proving to be just as exciting, although a few of my adventure buddies are headed out for their next job assignments. I’m still unsure of how long I’ll be “Up North”/home, but I’ll continue to make the best of the time I have here.