Lake Superior, June 2014

Northern Great Lakes Visitor's Center

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We took a trip in June this year to the South and North Shore of Lake Superior, and joining us was part of our family.  We had been wanting to get some of our family up to this area and share some of the wonderful places and things to do.  Our first stop was in the area of Ashland and Bayfield Wisconsin.  The photos above are of a mural that hangs in the Northern Great Lakes Visitor's Center in Ashland, Wisconsin.  The mural represents all of the people who have inhabited this area from the beginning all the way to modern times.

The two panoramic photos are of the mural in its entirety.  It was a bit difficult to get the photos necessary for the panoramic one on the left.



The canoe above is a representation of a birch-bark canoe.  I believe it is a full birch park, not just a display model, and I am not sure if it would float, but it does give you a good idea about the construction of them.  Birch-bark canoes were widely used for transportation of people and goods for many years across the Great Lakes.



Bayfield, Wisconsin

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The photos above are of Bayfield, Wisconsin.  They have many wonderful homes and buildings to look at, with some of the homes being bed and breakfast establishments.  I especially like the stone work in the storage buildings.  Their downtown is also a nice place to visit with a variety of shops and restaurants.



Bayfield Marina

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One of the places I really enjoy stopping by is the marina.  It is fun to watch the ferries load and unload as they go back an forth between the mainland and Madeline Island.  I also enjoy seeing the various kinds of boats that are moored in the marina as well.



Copper Falls State Park, Wisconsin

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We did get a break in the weather to do a little hiking around Copper Falls State Park in Wisconsin.  The photos above are of the Doughboys Trail.  The photos below are of the same area but in a panoramic display.



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Apostle Islands Grand Tour

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The company called Apostle Island Cruises offers several different cruises throughout the season.  The tour we took, shown in these photos, is the Grand Island Tour.  The tour starts in Bayfield, Wisconsin, and winds through the islands that make up the Apostle Islands.  The boat we took this tour is shown in the first picture.  It was a different boat from the one we took a few years previous.  The second and third photos of some quarry remains from either Basswood or Hermit Island.  I cannot remember which.  The fourth and the fifth are of Manitou island and the Fish Camp that remains on the island.  The last is of, I believe, Otter Island. 



Lighthouses

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Along the tour, you get a close up view of a couple of lighthouses.  The first one is of the lighthouse on Devil's Island.  That island is the last island before entering the waters of Lake Superior.  The boat does go out a bit as it circles the island for the return trip to Bayfield.  Devil's Island lighthouse is shown in the first four photos.  The last one is the lighthouse on Raspberry Island.  This one I believe is open to private tours of the lighthouse and its grounds, but you would have to visit the National Park website to verify that. 



Sea Caves

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One of the more impressive sites you get to see are of the Sea Caves located along the northern shore of Devil's Island.  We were there in the middle of June, 2014, and if you look closely in a few of the pictures, you will still see ice in some of the caves.

The panoramic photos of the tour, sea caves, and Raspberry Island Lighthouse are shown below.



Panoramic

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Madeline Island Ferry

Trip to Madeline Island

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I always enjoy the trips to and from Madeline Island on the ferry.  It is fun to see what types of vehicles are using the ferry, as well as watching the traffic on the water.  Although I have not been on very many large boats or ships, I still do take advantage of the time to explore what the vessel looks like, regardless of size. 



Return trip to Bayfield

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The return trip was a bit interesting this time as well.  While I was watching the ferry come in, I could tell from a distance that there was something large on the deck.  At first, I thought it was a large RV heading to the campground, but then I realized it was tour bus.  The real surprise was when it came back and reloaded for the return trip to the mainland.  I know that ferries are designed to handle all sorts of vehicles, but I always forget about the large trucks, small semis, and buses that need to use the ferries as well.



Madeline Island Hike

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The afternoon of the Apostle Island Grand Tour, we decided to go over to Madeline Island and explore the state park.  They have some very nice trails to hike, explore, and get a great view of the lake.  I would strongly recommend, if you are in the area to take some time and explore the local community on the island, as well as the lake shore drive and hiking trails.



Panoramic

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Lost Creek Adventures Kayaking

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We did something a little new this trip and took a kayaking tour.  We used the company Lost Creek Adventures and they provided us with very nice equipment, two very friendly and knowledgeable guides, and a wonderful morning of fun.  The photos look a little different because I did not use my camera on this excursion.  Mine was too big to fit in a water proof bag, so I used the camera Lisa brought along.  Yes, that is an eagle in the forth picture of this group.   



Jay Cooke State Park

The Swinging Bridge

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We only spent a few nights in Jay Cooke State Park, and did the tourist thing in Duluth, Minnesota, so we did not get a chance to explore may of the park's trails.  We did go out to the swinging bridge and the view was pretty spectacular as compared to years past.  The water was extremely high this year, due to the amount of rain fall, so the rapids were extremely active.

It is a bit difficult to read in the first picture with the sign, but apparently the water was so high in 2012, that the bridge was washed out.  So the one you see in the pictures is yet another replacement bridge.  Quite impressive the power of water.



National Kayak and Canoe Center

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This place is along the drive to Jay Cooke State Park, and in years past, I always wanted to stop and get photos, but never really took the opportunity.  Well this year, was the perfect time to stop.  With all of the high water, the rapids were really rolling here.  When we pulled into the closest parking lot to the dam and river to get photos, I noticed a sign that said National Kayak and Canoe Center.  I did not realize that they actually kayaked down this particular portion of the river, but according to their website, they do somewhere south of the dam.  Please visit the website for more information.    



Panoramic

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North Shore Scenic Railroad

Lester River Excursion

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This was the second time we traveled on the North Shore Scenic Railroad.  The last time was for the Two Harbors tour, but unfortunately, due to some bridge construction, the Lester River Excursion was the farthest the train was traveling this particular day.  It was still well worth it.  We started off in the more modern of the passenger cars and eventually moved back to the vintage car in the rear (on the way back it was in the front).  The card in the first photo gives you a bit of the history of this particular car.   



Views from the Train

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The scenery is actually more interesting than these few photos show, but it does reveal the variety of scenery that you will see on the tour.



Two Harbors, Minnesota

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We made several stops on our way from Jay Cooke State Park to Temperance River State Park in Minnesota.  The first of which was Two Harbors.  This is a favorite of ours and never really gets dull for us.  We were hoping to see an ore boat at the docks at least, but unfortunately, nothing was really happening.  I did get some good shots with a telephoto lens, but unfortunately, the lighting was bit tricky, especially when it came to the panoramic shots below.



Panoramic

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Gooseberry Falls, Minnesota

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Another stop along the drive up the North Shore was Gooseberry Falls.  I was hoping that the falls might have been flowing a bit more this time of the year, but unfortunately it was not.  The falls were still pretty impressive and it was fun to walk down below the falls where the water usually covered.  We ended up going down to the bottom, crossing over, and then going up to the first falls in this portion of the river. 



Panoramic

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Grand Portage Trading Post

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We visited the reconstruction of the Grand Portage Trading Post again this year.  We really enjoy visiting these types of historic areas, especially if they are in original condition.  While the Grand Portage Trading Post a completely reconstructed site, they have done a really wonderful job in recreating the historical site to its original glory.  I recommend taking a tour of the museum before going out to the Post itself.  It helps to learn about the site, its purpose, and history.  The first photo above is of a representation of what the post and area looked like during the time of its use.  The second photo is of the various stages of a birch bark canoe.  Both are located in the visitor's center museum.

If you would like more historical information about this site, please visit our photo album from 2010 of this site, or you can visit the official website of the Grand Portage National Monument.



The photos above are from the various areas around the outside of the main post and building.  You can take one of the guided tours in which the guide, usually one of the re-enactors, describes the various areas of the post, as well as sharing many stories about the post and the people who used it.  This particular trip for us, we just did the self guided tour of the post, but I would recommend at least one time doing a tour with a guide.



The last time we were here, I did not take the opportunity to get many photos of the interior of the Great Hall.  This time, I did try to get more detailed photos, as well as photos that I could use to make panoramic photos.  The panoramic photos are shown below and did come out rather well.  Unfortunately, when doing panoramic photos of interiors, they can come out looking rather distorted.  But despite that problem, I still believe the photos below will give you a good impression of what it would look like if you were there.

I would like to point out just a few things in the photos below.  The first two photos are of the building where canoes are built, repaired and maintained.  The next two rows are of the kitchen for the Grand Hall, and the covered walk way between them.  The last several are of the Grand Hall and some of the rooms within.  The last is of an outdoor display/work area that I am assuming would be staffed by re-enactors during the summer season.



Panoramic

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Fort William Historical Park

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The Fort William Historical Park is the counterpart to the Grand Portage Trading Post.  After the war of 1812, the territory that the Grand Portage Trading Post was located, became part of the United States of America.  Since the company that owned and operated it was British, they were forced to relocate north to Canada.  This is how Fort William came about.  The visitor's center, shown above, is the main entrance to the fort.  Here, there are presentations about the fort, a gift shop, as well as information about guided tours. 

For our tour this day, our guide presented the fort in a first person tour.  All of the re-enactors we met stayed in era persona for most of the tour and I found it gave a really interesting flavor to the experience.  We toured a good portion of the grounds, and were shown a few buildings, mostly key buildings to the fort's operations.  We visited the living quarters of the commanding officer in charge, the medical facilities, a general and trading store of sorts, as well as the Grand Hall.  One thing you will notice that is similar to the Grand Portage Trading Post is the general operations, but Fort William was on a much grander scale.



The general grounds and buildings are quite an impressive site.  I am not sure how much of the fort is a reproduction, and how much is original, but I would assume most, if not all are reproductions build to their approximate location. 



The desk, the bedroom, and the hearth in the first four pictures are of the Commanding Officer's quarters.  There was a re-enactor working here, portraying the wife of the Commanding Officer, that would give you a tour of the quarters.  The last five photos are of the Grand Hall which would have been the focal point of the trade business here, just as it was down at the Grand Portage Trading Post.

Down below I have included more panoramic images of this site, and some of the photos do have the distortions again, but it still gives you a good look and feel for the layout.  I have also included a 360 degree view from the center of the fort.



360 Degree View of Fort William

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Panoramic

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Grand Portage State Park High Falls

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On the way back down the North Shore of Lake Superior from Canada, we decided to stop in at the Grand Portage State Park Visitor's Center and hike up the short path to the High Falls in the Pigeon River; the river that separates the United States from Canada.  Unfortunately, the weather was a bit overcast to get really good photos, but these did turn out a bit better than I expected.



Carlton Peak

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The trip up to Carlton Peak from Temperance River State Park was a bit better this time.  We knew where we were going, the road conditions, and it was a beautifully clear day.  I still like the signs posted along the way.  You do not come across the sign letting you know that you are on the correct road to the peak, until just a little below the summit.  Shortly after that sign is the minimum maintenance road warning sign.  You get an idea of what the road looks like in the third through seventh photos in the series, but this was on the way down, and you do not get the feel for how steep the road really is, or the rough surface.  I would not travel this road in a car, especially not without four wheel, or all wheel drive.

I will say that the view from the top is worth the trip though, as shown in the last two photos.  If you do go here, please be prepared to hike with good footwear and maybe take a little rain cover just in case.  It is a bit of a hike, after you park, to reach the summit.



Temperance River State Park Hike

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I have mentioned this on the other photo page of our hike up this river in previous years, Temperance River State Park has some really nice hiking trails that follow the Temperance River upstream.  We took the trail on the north side of the river, as we did the previous year, but we did not go up as far on the trail.  This trail will eventually lead you to Carlton Peak if you are so inclined to hike that far.  I would also like to see about hiking the other side of the river next time, for a different perspective.



Sugar Loaf Cove

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We visited Sugar Loaf Cove again this trip, and it turned out to be a much better day, weather wise.  Last time we visited, a heavy fog rolled in just as we got to the cove itself.  I did cover a bit more history and a few more pictures on the previous Sugar Love Cove visit and you can find that by going to the Sugar Loaf Cove 2013 Photo Album.



Palisade Head

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Palisade Head was another wonderful photo opportunity; however, we missed the best part.  There was a group of climbers packing up their equipment and if we had shown up just a little sooner, I could have taken some excellent photos of them climbing.