lake in chippewa national forest

Day 214 – Northern Minnesota Circle

Day 214 of Year Long Road Trip Along America’s Scenic Byways

I began with a great start to my morning.  My coffee from the shop was served in a paper cup with the question, “What keeps you awake?” printed on the side with a variety of answers from local patrons. My personal favorites were “Extra innings and overtime” and “When I hear my three-year old ask, ‘Mommy, what letter does “s” start with?’”

After my morning Joe, things went south.  This may qualify as a do over day.  I headed northwest out of Grand Rapids on Highway 2 and was supposed to turn north on 48. I unknowingly missed the exit and didn’t notice for a while. As a result,  I backtracked to Deer River and eventually reached Avenue of the Pines Scenic Byway which cuts through Chippewa National Forest.

Cut Foot Sioux Visitor Center in Chippewa National Forest

I finally arrived at Cut Foot Sioux Visitor Center, which is closed on Monday. I had planned to take a 20-mile scenic loop drive starting from this location, but I didn’t see a sign for the scenic loop. Consequently, I just took a walk along the lovely trails through the woods to the lake.  At first, I took the single-track dirt trail, but the flies and mosquitoes were unbearable. As a result, I turned around and headed for the wider, paved trail. 

We made a brief stop at the lake, took care not to frighten the geese, and then attempted a geocache where I trounced through waist high brush until the bugs got the best of me. I gave up and B-lined for VANilla.

geese in chippewa national forest

I tried for another cache nearby a 1908 log cabin, a previous ranger station and the oldest in the North Central region. This time my GPS led me toward tall reeds by the lake. Maybe it’s from living in Texas, but reeds and water equals poisonous snake to me, so I was 0 for 2.

Laurentian Divide

I continued along Northern Minnesota’s Circle Road past several more lakes and across the Laurentian Divide. The divide is a rise in the land that determines whether the water runs into the Gulf of Mexico or the Hudson Bay. Sadly, I didn’t notice the divide while I was there, but I did notice a handful of bald eagle nests. Two were occupied, but photographic opportunities were less than favorable.

Judy Garland Museum

Eventually I returned to Grand Rapids where I attempted to visit the Judy Garland Museum…anything to get out of the heat!  Gina, my GPS, misdirected me, so I ditched that idea and just rested at a city park before I turned toward a Walmart in Duluth, which happens to not allow overnight parking!  As a result, I continued farther south to Superior and plan on heading up the coast of Lake Superior tomorrow.  ETB

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Beth Bankhead

Former public finance professional turned travel photographer and blogger.

3 thoughts on “Day 214 – Northern Minnesota Circle

  1. Hey girl, unless your down in the SE part of the state, none of the snakes are poisonous. Too cold in the winter for them

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