Day 214 – Northern Minnesota Circle

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
for VANilla.

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
tomorrow.  ETB

Published by

Beth Bankhead

Former public finance professional turned travel photographer and blogger.

One thought 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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