I’m back from our second vicennial mother-son road trip! We explored the north shore of Lake Superior from Duluth up to the Canadian border. We enjoyed a lot of good scenery with great company.
Our first stop was in Duluth. It’s a beautiful port town with a rich history. We walked around town a bit, checked in to our tiny hotel room, then went to a brewery to plan our trip. After a couple drinks, we had probably overdone it by planning some eight hikes over the day and a half we’d have before driving back to the twin cities.
We were up early and on the road before 6. We stopped for our first hike and were met with a light rain. Of course I left my rain coat at home. It cleared up quickly though, and we had this beautiful park mostly to ourselves.
Next stop was to check out the lighthouse at Split Rock. There is a cool namesake feature here somewhere, but we missed that. We followed the trail and reached a sign saying to turn back. Mom jokingly said we’d better turn back, as if following the rules wasn’t a consideration. We went on ahead for a closer view of the lighthouse and got out of there before the cops showed up.
We took this trail from a beautiful tributary up to an amazing lakeside overlook. There was a visitor’s center here. I picked up a few things for the fam here, and struck up a nice conversation with the checkout lady. People here were so friendly.
Bean and Bear
We arrived for our longest hike of the day. Mom hadn’t been here before. I’m glad I was able to be with her on this one. It was her favorite hike she’s ever been on in the area.
After the last hike, I was ready for a swim. We stopped by another waterfall just up the road. Water was a little chilly at first. I’d have loved to stay longer. We needed to get to camp and get dinner though. We had enough energy bars for the day.
Mom reserved a camp site in Grand Marais. It’s a little town with a lot of character. It’s the type of place I could live in if I could handle the winter. A summer in the campground would be nice. We quickly set up camp and went for dinner. I ordered a herring from the lake. We went and enjoyed time by a fire, then got some sleep before weathering a storm in a leaky tent.
Next morning, we packed up and went to Mount Josephine. This is another trail that Mom always wanted to hike. She was ready to keep it on her bucket list since we were running short on time, but we were so close we just had to make it happen. There was a nice bay view from 700 feet up. Mosquitos were bad and I had a run in with some black flies. It made me a bit nostalgic over how terrified I was of them when I was a child.
This was a quick stop as we continued up the shore. There were signs all around saying not to jump from bridges into the river, so of course, the first thing we saw was a kid jump from the bridge into the river. At the end of the trail was a tiny beach on a tiny peninsula. It just looked so peaceful. I wanted to spend the rest of the day there, but we had to move along.
We finally arrived to the Canadian border. We took a little walk up to see the biggest falls of the trip, aptly named High Falls at 120′ high. After this, we went back to walk around Grand Marais a bit then took the long and rainy drive all the way back down to Minneapolis.
I couldn’t miss the opportunity to visit my favorite Minnesota brewery. I booked a hotel as close as I could. We dropped off our stuff and made it to Surly with an hour to spare. Mom’s not a beer drinker, but she enjoyed a flight of sours. I picked up a special bottle of an imperial smoked hefeweizen, which is a style I didn’t know even existed. It was so good.
Hidden Falls Park
Mom brought kayaks all this way and we still hadn’t used them. We found a nice spot on the mighty Mississippi where we could drop the boats. The river’s not so mighty up here. It was a peaceful little spot with bald eagles, herons, and peregrine falcons.
After a half a year without a drop of rain back home, it was nice to be around so much water, even when it was raining inside the tent. I loved the area, and I can’t wait to come back. I’d love to someday travel around the entire lake. Next section will be the south shore over Wisconsin.Back to Top