Day 216 – North Shore Drive, Wednesday July 20, 2011
The storm was so incredible when the lightning and thunder
hit at once, VANilla shook. I forgot I
left the small roof hatch tilted up to release as much hot air as possible last
night only to find the dog bed soaked this morning. Oh well, it could be worse I guess…the bed
could have been wet and dirty instead of wet and clean. I should have known it was going to
rain. It never fails that once I finish
my laundry, it rains.
I wasn’t sold on walking around in the rain today, so I
somewhat reluctantly skipped Judge C.R. Magney State Park to the north as it
sounded like it was going to be pretty and headed south a bit to Cascade River
State Park known for five separate waterfalls as the Cascade River stairsteps
down to Lake Superior. The root beer
colored water that foams as it tumbles through the Cascade River Gorge is the
result of the water that drains from swamps and bogs. Organic matter in the swamps decays and
creates humic acid which colors the water brown. The thought of seeing five separate waterfalls
lured me into the forest with Petey. The
lovely dirt path followed the river through thick vegetation weighed down from
the recent rain.
The weather was still a bit gloomy as we reached Tofte, so I
opted to take a scenic drive inland through Superior National Forest to Sawbill
Trail in hopes to spot a few moose…no luck!
We took the dirt road almost 25 miles past a variety of wildflowers,
birch and evergreens to areas that appeared to be a haven for canoers. Every car except VANilla had a canoe strapped
to it. About half into the out and back
drive, the skies cleared resulting in a sunny and HUMID day.
As we continued south along the shore we stopped at yet
another state park, Tettegouche…at least I’m saving some day use fees! I met a couple from Minnesota in North Dakota
and they mentioned this was one of their favorite parks, so I certainly
couldn’t pass it by. The park
encompasses four lake, groves of northern hardwoods, and 70-foot falls of the
Baptism River. The hike to the falls was
a 3 mile roundtrip through the forest.
The thick vegetation blocked any breeze. My T-shirt was soaked
in sweat as we walked toward the falls. About a mile
into the hike and having drug Petey with words of encouragement most the way,
we found Twin Falls which became our final destination. He was not interested in going any further.
The afternoon was sweltering. I decided it would be a good time to get an
oil change and take advantage of air conditioning as VANilla’s isn’t the
best. Petey was overjoyed for our car
maintenance stop as he cooled down in the lounge at Foreign Affairs (Firestone
didn’t have the proper filter). While
parked on the side street before heading toward Wisconsin, a giant tree limb
landed on VANilla. Poor VANilla, it got
backed into with a trailer hitch a few days ago as well.
Before finding a campground for the night, I took Wisconsin
Point Road along a mile-long sandspit to the lighthouse at the end. Superiod Entry is the only natural opening through the longest fresh water sand bar in the world. The Entry, first charted in 1861, was 1,500 feet wide and 4-16 feet deep. The US Corp of Engineers completed the concrete, 1,500 foot piers in 1909 and now maintains a channel 500 feet wide and 32 feet deep. Today the Entry serves one of the busiest ports in the United States. I arrived just in time to complete an earth cache and watch a giant
freighter entering the harbor while Petey, looking like he’d been injected with mad cow disease, spun in circles snapping at the relentless flies. I’m not sure why they were bothering him and not me, but I know what it is like to be pestered by them, so we turned back toward VANilla and camped at Amnicon Falls State Park for the evening. ETB