Lake Superior North Shore, Tettegouche SP
We left Bayfield, Wisconsin with a strong recommendation from our friends to travel up the North Shore of Lake Superior, from Duluth towards Thunder Bay. It was a beautiful drive along the shore. We waited out a thunderstorm in Two Harbors, visited Split Rock Lighthouse, and carried on up to Silver Bay where we were booked into Tettegouche State Park for a few nights. This is a beautiful park with many lakes and waterfalls and miles of hiking trails. It’s geared up for hikers, only one road which leads to the campground, everything else is to be explored on foot (or x-country skis / snowshoes during the winter). We arrived late afternoon and after dinner, I told Cheryl I was off to locate the trash containers by walking round the small campground loop. On the way I happened to see a trail sign: Two Step Falls: .1 mile, High Falls: .5 mile. Hard to resist even though it was getting late. It turned out the .1 mile was to the top of the falls and to see it required passage down a steep muddy trail followed by what seemed like hundreds of steps to the bottom. I made it down after a few slides and took a couple of pictures of the twin falls in full flood. A slower hike to the top and, out of breath, on to High Falls. Again the mileage didn’t do the hike justice, no mention of the vertical nature of the hike. High Falls, at 120 feet, is the highest waterfall in Minnesota and the trail arrives at the top with a bouncy bridge over the falls. Crossing the bridge gave a clear view of the volume of water, and on the other side, the trail approaches the top before dropping down to the base. By this time it was getting quite dark, starting to rain. I had no water, no protective gear, no phone, slippery ‘Crocs’ for footwear, and no ID on me. I decided to return over the bridge and took a little more care than usual on the way back with my mind reading the newspaper report . . . “the victim had no ID” . . . “said he was going out to find the trash bin” . . . When I returned back at the campsite, our van was dark, and Cheryl was sleeping the sleep of innocence. Two days later, early in the morning, I returned, better prepared after my previous experience, hiked to the bottom of High Falls, and took pictures of both falls (see below).
We noticed on the trail map, a lake named ‘Mic Mac’ Lake. Given the name of our boat, transferred to our van, this was a must-see. The lake was by a hike-in camp and cabin area. This time a nice, wide, though steep trail (described as ‘difficult, rugged’ by the Ranger noticing my advanced years) crossed a hill from the NW entrance of the park to the area. After the obligatory ‘selfie’ by the lake, I checked out the Lodge (open to all hikers) and cabins. Apparently this area is heavily booked throughout the year by hikers and skiers. There was a family occupying one of the cabins who told me the hike in wasn’t so easy when carrying supplies for a week.
On our way back South, we drove up to the overlook at Silver Bay for a view of the lake and of the huge iron ore smelting plant,. This plant, “Cliff Northshore Mining” exports the majority of iron for the US steelmaking Industry using iron ore brought by rail from the Mesabi Iron Range, 47 miles South.
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North Shore Lake Superior, Tettegouche State Park