Lake Superior Shore in Minnesota

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Split Rock Lighthouse

Other Photo Trips:

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Waupaca County Autumn
Driftless Region - Illinois
Driftless Region '08 - Wisconsin
Driftless Region '09 - Wisconsin
Minnesota's Lake Superior Shore
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Maribel Caves
Wisconsin Dells
Pewit's Nest/Baraboo
Driftless Region - La Crosse
Scenic Wisconsin Art
Photography Class
Lake Superior Shores and upper fountain
Lobby at Lake Superior Shores
Black sand beach on Flood Bay
Magnified shot of Silver Creek Tunnel from Flood Bay
Gooseberry Falls
Igneous over sedimentary rock
Bluffs extending into lake

On 9 June 08, a friend and I drove to Two Harbors, MN to spend a few days exploring the Lake Superior Shore, from Duluth to Grand Portage. We stayed at Superior Shores Lodge for three nights and found it quite satisfactory, except for some minor annoyances. To begin with, I had reserved a room online, but when I tried to enter it, I discovered it was occupied. The next room they gave us had no table or desk -- translation: no place to eat or put laptop computer (I always travel with my laptop). The third room worked for us except that the internet connection was dreadfully unstable. Sometimes it worked, but much of the time I camped in the lobby when I wanted to use the internet; even then, it was unstable, though not as bad.

The lobby was very attractive and comfortable (see photo) and the whole place was most eye appealing, including the fountain in the parking lot. Since our room overlooked the parking lot, the fountain was an especially nice diversion to see and hear. The parking lot view was by choice, as we saved $20 per night by living three floors above the parking lot (access by elevator).

Of course, Superior Shores is on the shore of Lake Superior, which is on the opposite side of the building from the parking lot. It's located on Flood Bay, one mile north of Two Harbors. The location is gorgeous. A big sand dune divides the beach from the rest of the property, and a swamp sits behind the dune. An attractive footbridge provides an easy crossing over the swamp, then a short walk over the dune brings one to the beach. The beach is black sand, and many of the pebbles are black. This is due to the fact that the area was once a volcanic region, so the local rocks are lavas: basalt, rhyolite. It's supposed to be good for agate hunting, too. I love it!

From the beach, or the Kamloops Restaurant in the lodge, one can see the huge road tunnel that cuts through Silver Creek Bluff. I believe this is a very recent addition. Twenty-four years ago we drove through here, and I don't recall any tunnels. I recall driving roads cut into frightening bluffs above the lake. The frightening bluff roads are gone. I guess they've been replaced with tunnels and deep roadcuts. By the way, the food served at the Kamloops Restaurant was very good. We did lunch one day and breakfast the next. My lunch choice was a croissant, though I don't remember what was inside of it. My breakfast choice was another croissant, filled with eggs and other breakfast delights. I enjoyed both items very much.

Scandinavian folks are everywhere. I mean ethnicity; these are the local residents. They look very Scandinavian. I suppose the area is somewhat like their European homeland: near the sea, having fjords cut into mountains, long winters with lots of snow.

We didn't have the greatest weather, but we are Wisconsinites and used to cold, lousy weather. It didn't stop us. We drove the length of the shore to Grand Portage and I took many photos of all the beauty.

After passing through the Silver Creek Tunnel, our first stopping place was Gooseberry Falls State Park. We wandered the trails that follow the river and viewed the various tiers of the falls. The best shot -- the most photogenic -- is from the second footbridge at the base of the bottom tier. This requires dealing with a lot of concrete stairs, as the starting point is at the level of the visitor center, which is near the top of the falls.

The next stop was Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, but we didn't stay; the entrance fee was rather expensive. Instead, we backtracked to a turn-out along the road that had a nice view of the lighthouse. I hauled out my magnification lens and took a bunch of photos. I like how they look: the green of spring in the leaves is so lush, the somewhat stormy sky was full of interesting color.

We stopped at a turn-out by a particularly interesting roadcut. The cut revealed lava that had flowed over sedimentary layers of sandstone and shale.

At another turn-out, near Grand Portage, the view of the lake was spectacular. To the right was an undulating bluff of igneous rock. To the left were many islands extending from the shore. We were high up, overlooking the treetops and the lake beyond. The clouds were cool formations and the colors were beautiful.

We ate at a small restaurant in Grand Portage, just before the Canadian border. Then we headed back to Superior Shores, and into the rain that had held off all day.

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