Day 214 – Northern Minnesota Circle, Monday, July 18, 2011
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, I have to say things went a little
downhill from there. This may qualify as
a do over day. I headed northwest out of
Grand Rapids on 2 and was suppose to turn north on 48 and didn’t manage to
notice that for a while. I backtracked
to Deer River and went the way I was supposed to Avenue of Pines Scenic Byway
that cuts through Chippewa National Forest.
I finally arrived at Cut Foot Sioux Visitor Center, which is
closed on Monday, where I had planned to take a 20-mile scenic loop drive which
was supposed to start from the center. I
didn’t see a sign for the scenic loop, so I decided to just take a walk along
the lovely trails through the woods to the lake. I figured I’d geocache along the way. At first, I took the single-track dirt trail,
but the flies and mosquitoes were such a nuisance, 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. After trouncing through the
waist high brush for a bit, the bugs got the best of me; I gave up and B-lined
I had considered walking a half mile to a 1908 log cabin
that was once used as a ranger station.
Instead, I opted to drive to the secluded cabin tucked in the
woods. The original ranger station is
the oldest in the North Central Region.
There was a cache hidden nearby here as well, but my GPS was taking me
to the tall reeds beside the lake and maybe it’s from living in Texas, but I
didn’t have a desire to encounter any type of water snake, so I was 0 for 2.
I continued the drive past several more lakes and across the
Laurentian Divide, a rise in the land that determines whether the water runs
into the Gulf of Mexico or the Hudson Bay.
Sadly, I didn’t really notice the divide while I was there, but I did
notice a handful of bald eagle nests; two were occupied, but picture taking
options were less than favorable.
Eventually I returned to Grand Rapids where I attempted to
visit the Judy Garland museum…anything to get out of the heat! My GPS directed me to an unusual spot, so I
ditched that idea and just rested at a city park for a bit before I turned
toward a Wal-Mart in Duluth, which turns out does not allow overnight
parking! I continued farther south to
Superior for the night and plan on heading up the coast of Lake Superior