Sunday, June 7, 2015

May 31st - June 5th, 2015 Gunflint Lodge Trip

This was my second spring backpacking trip this year.  Well it was more like a hiking/canoe/kayak trip.  My friend Kevin organized the trip. No outhouse or walking with backpacks.  We stayed in 2 cabins with 4 bunks each.  Very reasonably priced. 
Theme photo of the trip
A short stop for some Leine tasting.  From the left - Kevin, Amy, Jan, Edna, Mike, Carol and Ron

I love Summer Shandy (there wasn't a display of Grapefruit Shandy)
Jan and I enjoying a taste

Table tops in the tasting room - Yes that is my Shandy!

Just the ladies
Bob Dylan display at Fitgers in Duluth

We stayed overnight in Duluth.  Once we checked in to our hotel, we went to Fitger's for some beer tasting. Ron, Carol and I shared a flight.
Look familiar?  Starved Rock Lodge has one of these Indian statues carved by Peter Toth
Other parks want you to stay on the trail also.  This was above the hand dryers in the ladies' room
Many of the State Parks in Minnesota also were developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps, just like Starved Rock State Park
Close up photo of the plaque on the CCC memorial statue
They have a hiking club here also
Gooseberry Falls from the Bridge

Gooseberry Falls
Very picturesque!  Hard to choose which photo to put here.
Gooseberry Falls

Marsh Marigolds at Gooseberry Falls

Close up Marsh Marigold at Goosberry falls

Split Rock Lighthouse from a distance

Geology plaque at the Split Rock Lighthouse
Palisades Head.  Many people go rock climbing here. 

Trail marker at Caribou Falls State Park

Jan and Amy by Caribou Falls
The stairway ends at the water

Such power coming down from the Caribou Falls
Wild Sarsaparilla

Bunchberry.  In the summer those white flowers turn into red berries

They still have some Nodding White Trillium.  They are about 3-4 weeks behind us.

All 7 of us had lunch in Grand Marais - Ron and Carol

I took this photo for a friend of mine..... he always hikes in T-shirts with the sleeves cut off.  This photo is for you!!

This is our cabin.  Amy is above my bunk and Jan and Carol opposite.  Guys are in the other cabin

Postcard perfect photo.  These Adirondack Chairs are just waiting to help someone relax 
Kevin giving us a tour of the place.  This is the activity board.  When you arrive you check the board to see what is going on daily.  There is a sign up sheet in the Lodge.  We took advantage of many of the FREE activities.

One of the many fireplaces in the Lodge. 2nd largest meteorite hit the area and deformed these flat lying rocks into a mishmash pudding like rock.
Outside of the Ladies' cabin
One of the days Amy, Mike and I took a canoe ride with Jan and Kevin in another canoe.  Amy is the "motor" in front and Mike (BOB) is in the middle (not paddle because of a recent shoulder surgery).  And I'm in the back trying to stay on course.
Night one, Jan and Kevin were in charge of the meal.  We also has Macaroni and Cheese, and vegetables

I couldn't decide which sunset photo to use, so I kept the 3 I liked the best.  I love sunsets and sunrises.

We only had good weather for one fire, so we made it a great one.

Trying to stay toasty warm around the fire.

There were humming bird feeders all around

A sort of sunrise the next morning

Are you familiar with Geocaches?  Well it's not my thing, but I found one on accident.  I took a walk to Lookout Point and it was lying in the base of a large tree.  I noticed the white lid and thought it was just trash.  I went to pick it up and this is what I found.... An invitation to the wedding, log papers (when you find the geocache you are suppose to write a bit here), there was also a women's and a man's ring inside individual black pouches.  The idea is that you find the geocache using a GPS coordinates and some basic clues.  I actually shouldn't have been able to find this without the GPS coordinates. (it wasn't hidden very well.)  After signing in, you are also suppose to take something from the container and leave something of equal value in its place.  I didn't have a pencil on anything to put in the jar.... so I took a logsheet and I returned later with my item.  More on that later....

Items in the Geocache

A not so stable resting spot on Lookout Point

I doubt the Starved Rock could get away with putting signs like this up

Lonely Lake---- The dock ends at the water
an early horsetail plant- better description later.

Ron and Carol for the Pontoon Cruise to Bridal Falls

Kevin and Mike wouldn't fit in our Pontoon, so Kevin drove Mike in a separate boat
Interrupted Fern

Interrupted Fern... It took me a long time to remember this name.
Wild Strawberry Plants

They only had a few of the Jack in the Pulpits

a variation of Soloman's Seal
 We took the pontoon cruise to Bridal Falls, then we had to walk to the falls
All seven of us at Bridal Falls

Carol, Amy, Jan and I took a hike on the Interpretive Trail.
Marsh Marigolds on the Interpretive Trail

I just can't remember the name of these.  The Naturalist (John) knew all the scientific names and the common names.  I remembered quite a few, but sorry, not all.
Meal Day 2 was Ron and Carol.  We had brats, corn on the cob, baked beans and homemade cookies.


Blue Bead Lily (the yellow flowers will turn into a bunch of little blue beads)  hence the name.

Horse tail plant.  We have a plant called this also.  Still segmented, but the one that grows in Kaskaskia Canyon is smooth.
Forgot to ask on this one.  Just think it is neat
Wild Lily of the Valley
Our guide John pointing out something on our High Cliffs hike

The start of Blueberries
View from the High Cliffs

Ron, Edna, Mike and Kevin
These are Pink Lady Slippers.  I was looking for these for a couple of days and final found this group when we were coming down from the High Cliff guided hike.  On the way up, all of us walked right by them.

Same Lady Slippers - I just love them - It was one of the highlights of the trip for me.

When we got back from our hike, we had a short lunch and went for a Kayak paddle.  Jan, Kevin and Ron

Canadian Boundary Marker

Kevin guiding us through "The Narrows"

The Canadian Border

View of a Cabin in Canada from the Kayak

View of Gunflint Lodge property from the Kayak

Branch of a Tamarack Tree

This is the view of Lonely Lake.... Mirror Lake perhaps??

Another view of Lonely Lake

Jan went with me a second time to Lookout Point

Amy and Mike's turn to cook.  Grilled Chicken, broccoli and wild rice.  Fig Newtons for dessert

We went to the Nature Center one night and heard a program on Ghosts of the Great Lakes.  This night we went to the Nature Center and heard Folk Music by our Naturalist Guide John
No it's not raining... YET.  John is instructing how we will get assigned a paddle by our size.  And also where we will be sitting, by our size.

It was a great experience.... All 7 of us plus our 2 naturalist guides, John and Tanner.  We all paddled in sync for about 1  hour in the pouring down rain.  No one was dry. We did quite a bit of laughing on this one.
We got behind the Front Desk for this group photo

We didn't always have cell reception, so Carol thought she would give this tin can a try.
I'm on this meter somewhere..... all the time

We went to one of Kevin's favorite places to eat... the Trail Center Lodge.  It didn't disappoint.  We got out of our wet clothes after the Voyageur Canoe ride and went to lunch. 

View at the Trail Center Lodge

All of us enjoying our lunch at the Trail Center Lodge
Excellent choice Kevin! 
Rules at the Trail Center

After lunch we took a ride to the Museum for the Gunflint Trail  Chik - Wauk.  This was a Lodge up until 1980.  And the museum was developed 5 years ago.  They are working on some new exhibits and buildings.
All 7 of us at the Museum

We found a little lady slipper on the Nature hike here

My night to have the meal.  Taco Salad
Always looking around and up
I went back to the Geo Cache with my item and with my little entry. I found this dolphin on Isle Royale National Park (Huginnin Cove Campground) about 5 years ago.  I attached it to my backpack and have been carrying it around ever since.  I tried to give it to someone on the Appalachian Trail as a trail name, but he didn't want dolphin as a name, so I kept it.  I put it in the container with the explanation and my blog address in case someone wanted to check it out.

One last group photo in the Lodge area

Tanner our Dessert Cruise guide.  He did a great job entertaining us.  The brownies and strawberries were great.  We saw a great Sunset.

What a great photo of Amy and Mike.  If it wasn't for the long sleeves and coats you would think we were in the Tropics.
Sunset #2

The view to the East was also nice

looking to the East from the pontoon
Sunrise was about 5:12a.m. or so.  I got up on the last day at 4:30a.m and went back to Lookout Point.  Amy came with me.

Almost there

There it is

All good things come to an end. Packing up the cars didn't take as long as unpacking.  We all had a great time.  Thank you Kevin for organizing the trip, Great Job!!!
I will leave you with this: We all get a Sunset and a Sunrise everyday, it is up to us what we do with them.

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