Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Exploring the North Shore

It was late morning before we began our drive along the north shore of Lake Superior out of Duluth enjoying sights like this.

Arriving in the town of Two Harbors, we drove down to Lake Superior's Agate Bay to check out the Iron Ore Docks and the Edna G. The Edna G. was built by the Cleveland Shipbuilding Company in 1896 for the Duluth & Iron Range RY. She spent her entire working career at Two Harbors with the exception of World War I (1917–1919) when she served on the eastern seaboard. She was the last coal-fired, steam-engine tug boat in service on the Great Lakes when she was retired in 1981 and is still in operating condition. 

For the second time today, I noticed these brown and white mottled birds that looked like gulls when we returned to our car. This evening I learned that they are Herring Gulls and this is their "First Winter" coloration. It takes four years for them to reach the adult gray and white coloration. Can anyone explain this fascination with birds that is developing in my dotage? Never have I paid the slightest attention to birds. It's somewhat, albeit minimally, frightening...haha

We parked on the other side of Agate Bay to stroll on this pier with a signal light at the end. See Rich and The Girls on their way out to the end?

From there we had a better view of the Iron Ore Docks and the ship that had just backed in to be loaded with taconite, a low grade iron ore, from rail cars that are pushed onto the top of the dock.

This is a better shot of Rich and The Girls as they walk back from the end of the pier.

Continuing our drive along Lake Superior's north shore, we saw signs for Gooseberry Falls State Park and decided to stop. I am so glad that we did! What an unexpected surprise awaited us there. I walked down to the Lower Falls of the Gooseberry River while Rich stayed in the car with the girls. After taking some photos of the falls, I sent him a photo and suggested he come down too.

I especially love seeing how nature has sculpted the intricate root systems of old growth trees which have been exposed by rushing waters. Notice how the tree on the right has grown over that large rock centered in the base of its trunk.

The river drops into a deep gorge of its own carving…

...and continues on its way.

There were also large rock formations, this low rock bridge, small pools of water, and rocky terrain to navigate below the falls.

As I started up from the Lower Falls I met Rich coming down with The Girls so I took them while he went on down to see the falls. By the way, Louise, last night I spoke too soon about the cooler weather. Even though it was a good thirty degrees cooler than at home and overcast, it was horribly humid here today which made for miserable hiking.

Coming back we drove through heavy pine forests for many miles, saw the back end of a white-tailed deer as it bounded into the forest as we drove past, and discovered Islands Lake, a large lake dotted with small islands that would be a blast to explore by boat. It is so beautiful, quiet, peaceful, and unpopulated up here.

Lovin' Life ~~ And Unexpected Waterfalls

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