The North Shore, 2012–Temperance River State Park

Sunday morning it was time to leave Grand Marais. We really enjoyed our stay here. Last night we visited with the people behind us in a tiny Scamp. Sort of a very small fiberglass version of an Airstream. We met another couple staying in a 31-foot Airstream. Everyone we meet is an instant friend. These two couples who have spent the last three months traveling are also leaving today.

We packed up and then drove into town to shop for gifts, look around some more and gassed up the truck (diesel $4.31/gallon). There is a place in town where locals can learn or hone their skills on various crafts that developed in the region.  The North House Folk School provides classes in kayak and boat building, sailing, sledding and other traditional crafts.  From preparing herbs to building a kayak, to making a fur hat or learning to sail a schooner, this is where the locals come to learn the native skills and to pass those long months of winter.  This place surely would have been where we could spend some time.  After a great lunch at a local cafe we returned, hooked up the camper and headed south to Temperance State Park. We have a beautiful campsite once again overlooking the Lake.

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No utilities, but we are good for 3-4 days before we need more water or to dump our tanks.

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A private site surrounded by trees at Temperance State Park.

We set up and then made a long hike to a waterfall on the Temperance River. At one time when the glaciers were melting the river was 50 times wider. Since then it is a narrow stream that has created a narrow channel that is so deep and narrow that you cannot see the water down below for most of its course.  Melinda stayed there a while.

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Chris occupied himself on the rocks above.

During out stay here we’ve hiked to waterfalls and to the tops of mountains.

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We are at the peak of the fall colors and in every direction we see a brilliant display of color.

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Sometimes it is difficult to drive and stay on the road.  We never know what spectacular scene waits around each successive curve.  Melinda constantly shoots photos from her passenger seat.

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On our first full day we hiked the White Sky Rock Trail.  Not too long, but pretty much straight up.  The scenery on top was awesome; a great place to sit and soak it all in.  Image

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The following morning we hiked the Oberg Trail, going up a mountain (more like a big hill) where we hiked around the top with far-off views in all directions.

After refueling ourselves, we also hiked up to the top of Carlton Peak, one of the higher ‘hills’ (900’ elevation gain). More fantastic views from on high.

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Someone coming down told us to take the Tofte spur, which we did. We were rewarded with more incredible views. Is it possible to become over-saturated?

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We’re on the edge of Minnesota’s Sawtooth Mountains. Extending about 30 miles from Carlton Peak near the town of Tofte on the west, to Grand Marais on the east, the Sawtooth Mountains are a range of low, serrated ridges situated on the North Shore.

Image They rise from Lake Superior at angles between 8 and 20 degrees and drop off steeply on their north sides. They received their name as a result of their relatively uniform size, angles, and regularity of spacing; seen from Lake Superior to the east, “the visible crest line thus presents a remarkable profile, resembling the teeth of an immense saw.” The range rose from ancient volcanic activity and was shaped by glaciers on the move. These forces gave shape to high peaks offering stunning hundred-mile vistas of Lake Superior, gentle valleys, deep, dramatic gorges, and rocky cliffs and shorelines. Covering it all are dense forests of hardwood and conifer, meadows carpeted with wildflowers, and miles and miles of trails that wind through some of the most scenic terrain to be found anywhere in the country.In fact, Backpacker Magazine rates the 286-mile long Superior Hiking Trail along the Sawtooth Mountain Range as one of the nation’s “10 prime trails that leave all the others in the dust.”  Oberg Mountain, where we were hiking, is just one of those ‘teeth.’

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It seems that lots of folks are interested in our Airstream trailer. People are always coming up and asking us questions about it. Most seem to know about its reputation.  Some are Airstream owners; others are Airstream owner wanna-bees. We had a young couple stop by who were camping nearby. They had a 16-foot Airstream and were interested in comparing our features to theirs. They went away with hopes to upgrade.

One afternoon we returned to the park in time for Chris to get in a bike ride. The park service is in the process of making a bike trail that will stretch the entire length of the North Shore. Here at Temperance SP the trail goes 2 miles west to Schroeder and 10 miles to the east. Chris biked it all and made it back to the campground just as it was getting dark, running into a small herd of deer at the entrance to the park.

Most mornings Melinda gets up in the dark to try and capture a special sunrise. One morning she persuaded me to come along.  It seems she had an ulterior motive (a human subject for her photos).

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It turned out to be one of the cooler early mornings (37 degrees), but catching the sunrise as it broke the horizon made me forget my uncomfortable state.

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We couldn’t leave until Melinda got her requisite shots of waterfalls.  A few miles down the highway was Caribou Falls. What was intended to be a short half-mile hike out, turned out to be a two-mile total excursion.  We arrived at the designated falls only to discover it required her wading boots to get into the scene (which were left back in the truck).  Hopefully, she’ll feel the photos were worth the time and effort.

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And then, on the morning of our departure she had one more waterfall to bag.  Fortunately, it was a short walk from our campsite and she had it wrapped up even before breakfast.

The fog rolled in while we were eating and that required yet another photographic excursion.  This time I stayed behind to pack up and get ready to roll.  Melinda headed down to the shore to do her thing.  It was the first opportunity she’s had to catch the fog enshrouding the shoreline.

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Its been a lot of fun to spend so much time outdoors in the prime of the fall season.  The North Shore is not disappointing. Wednesday saw us packing up to travel 30 miles south to Tettegouche State Park. Another new adventure.

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From the ever-changing photogenic shores of Lake Superior,

Chris and Melinda

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About airstreamtravelers

An Airstream Flying Cloud suits our lifestyle perfectly. The two of us are now spending several months each year on the road. We hope our posts and accompanying photos give a vivid description of where we travel, illustrating to our followers what's out there, just beyond their horizons.
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