We drove up the North Shore to Grand Portage and noted the places along the way that we wanted to stop to see on the return trip.
Grand Portage was a nice surprise. It is located in the northern most tip of Minnesota close to Canada and was extremely significant to the early fur trading industry in Europe. Evidently fur hats were the style of choice for European men and Europe had nearly exhausted the supply. The new America offered a new source for (in my opinion) such an unnecessary style demand.
The native Ojibwa Indians had been trading for a long time before beaver hats, but this added to their economy. Evidently they were very good negotiators and they fared well in the trades. The Grand Portage area of Lake Superior is shallower and less angry than the lower shoreline where the boats sank prior to Split Rock Lighthouse. The water is warmer here than at Split Rock Lighthouse.
We toured the museum with artifacts, saw another historical film and walked the grounds. Again there were period dressed guides along the way to answer questions and give short orations of how the folks lived during the trading days.
Much has been restored and demonstrations are realistic with the guides using the same tools as were used long ago. The fish were live and being prepared for smoking or cooking as per request, The cooking fireplace was ablaze and the cooks and helpers were delightful to talk with about the foods, prepping and the fine craftsmanship present so long ago.
The many examples of crafts, tools and baskets as well as examples of birch canoes and winter tepee homes indicate to me that they were neat, organized and very intelligent. The artwork for even a baby papoose was extraordinary. My cell camera didn’t take a proper photo. I will use my personal camera in the future. if it is not raining like that day.
It was raining all day, but we walked the grounds and the pier in our rain gear. I wanted to put my feet into the water of a calmer side of Lake Superior and asked Phil to take my photo. Well the rocks were slippery and I ended up taking a dip due to a slip. No harm to me, I think that Phil broke a rib laughing and we both giggled for miles on the way home with me wrapped up in towels stuffed away in the truck just for such an event.
We made our stops on the way home to our forest spot as follows:
Grand Marias, was quaint and a coastal tourist haven. We stopped for Fish and Chips and picked up some Wisconsin Cheese, crackers and smoked Salmon spread.
Temperance Falls had straight rock canyons for the river falls to flow through. It was beautiful to hear and to see, but a dangerous walk.
We saw fishermen fishing the fast streams with spinners hoping to catch their supper. It was a site to see them cast their lines and move on downstream or upstream whichever it might be.
The cleanliness and state of good repair of each place that we visited was amazing. So many states that we have visited are not anywhere near this well-kept. I don’t know what Minnesota does different, but it must be right.