DAY 1 - May 25
After taking Thunderdog to play with her puppy friends for a few days (kennel), we set off from my place on the Shore. Once we crossed over the Bong Bridge in Duluth, we eased onto Highway 2 and enjoyed a beautiful drive on the northernmost east–west U.S. Route in the country.
Our first stop was at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center in Ashland, Wisconsin. If you're ever up that way, I highly suggest you stop the car and check it out! It's more than just a roadside stop: they have a great little museum about the North Shore of MN/ South Shores of WI and MI, a beautiful view, all sorts of stuff. If we were not in kind of a timecrunch, we would have lingered longer.
Our next stop was a quick visit to the Porcupine Mountains. We weren't going to have much time to explore, so we headed for the best of the best: the Lake in the Clouds overlook.
|I look at the beautiful Lake in the Clouds, while wearing my Piggly Wiggly t-shirt|
|I almost lose Joe over the edge...or do I almost successfully push him over the edge? Hmm...|
We got to Copper Harbor around 8:30pm and found our motel. We stayed at the Bella Vista motel, right on the water. It looked like it was built and decorated in the mid 1950's, but it was clean and comfortable (and reasonably priced!). We were expecting to spend a fair amount of time in the room - the forecast was for upper 40's/low 50's and rain - so we brought a lot of games and hoped for the best. Lucky for us, it was exactly what we wanted! Our cell phones were out of range and we had no internet either (!!!!!!), so instead of winding down with some Phoning we went out for a walk.
Copper Harbor is a small town. I think we saw most of it during our hour or so of walking that first night. I couldn't find exact numbers (it's an unincorporated community) but Joe thought that about 300 people lived there year-round. I believe it: it's a town based on tourism to those who want to get to the edge of the world. Long ago there was a military and mining presence (more about that later) but now it's mainly snowmobilers and deck-sitters and relaxers. We turned in for the night and left the window ajar, to get the nice breeze off the lake.
DAY 2 - May 26
On Saturday morning we went for a hike out to Hunter's Point. Hunter's Point is the "arm" of the harbor - a natural breakwater against Lake Superior. We walked out as far as we could (and got lost doing it) so I figure we walked about 3 miles total. It was beautiful, rocky lakeshore. It was cool to know that, if my eyesight were strong enough and the earth were flat enough, I could see across to my home on the North Shore of MN.
Red pebble beach, Mergansers, Buffleheads, Canada Geese, and lots of rocks worn into Worry Stones by thousands of years of waves.
|Me at the end of Hunter's Point - looking out at the island across the way|
|Grooving in the woods|
|Joe deciding which of his many rocks to bring back with us...and which will be skipped and tossed back into the lake.|
|The beginning, according to this sign|
|Woe is Joe, locked up in the brig|
Fort Wilkin is on the shores of Lake Fanny Hooe. Interesting lake, interesting name. Joe was amazed by the fact that a lake the size of Fanny Hooe could exist within just a couple hundred feet of Lake Superior. I was amazed that they'd name a lake Fanny Hooe. Although we didn't figure out why a lake was there (and not, over time, worn away or otherwise annexed to Lake Superior) I did find out about one Miss Fanny Hooe. She was a sister-in-law of one of the officers assigned to Fort Wilkins. Stories differ, but whether she disappeared one day while picking berries or was "merely admired" by the men, they decided to name the lake after her.
|Fog on Lake Fanny Hooe|
Plenty of amazing overlooks: we could see the most incredible valleys, Lake Fanny Hooe (I never get tired of saying/writing that), cliffs and mountains in the distance. We stopped at what we thought was the overlook, and gazed at a tall mountain in the distance with a radio tower on it.
|You can kind of see the itty bitty radio tower - tallest spire on top of the cliff.|
|Car on the Cliff of Insanity|
|It felt like much more than 726 feet above lake level!|
|Photobombing the Highway to the Cliff of Insanity|
After we descended to lake level (a much less dramatic road than the way up, thank goodness), we grabbed dinner in Eagle River...and then headed back to the motel to play cribbage and reflect upon how much we did in just one day.
Days three and four, on the way...