Geologic wonders

Spring waterfall season: 3 raging rivers to watch
April 29, 2014 by Andrew Slade

Spring waterfall season: 3 raging rivers to watch

Our winter snow is finally melting and water is plunging down the fabulous streams of the North Shore. Quiet and pretty summertime waterfalls are now muddy, raging torrents. It’s a great time to explore! … read more


A N’ice time on the North Shore
January 21, 2013 by Andrew Slade

A N’ice time on the North Shore

Recent cold temps on the North Shore have brought back one of my absolute favorite parts of living along this freshwater sea: jagged colors of ice and thick wafting clouds of sea smoke. Turns out that even though it was 14 below on the Park Point beach this morning, I could still use my little digital camera to take a few pictures. Climate change has meant that Lake Superior water is warmer than ever. Even with temps at double digits below zero in mid-January, the lake water resists that final nudge to ice. The lake water, about to finally freeze, … read more


Free nature program this weekend at Iona’s Beach!
June 7, 2012 by Andrew Slade

Free nature program this weekend at Iona’s Beach!

(Normally I write my own blog posts, but this press release was just way too exciting) Discover the North Shore's Exceptional Places Sugarloaf: The North Shore Stewardship Association, in partnership with the MN Department of Natural Resources - Scientific and Natural Areas (SNA) program, is pleased to offer a series of discovery walks at three North Shore SNAs - Iona's Beach SNA, Hovland Woods SNA and Minnesota Point SNA. Each of these sites were preserved for their natural features and rare resources of exceptional scientific and educational value.  Sugarloaf naturalist, Margie Menzies, is leading a nature walk at each of these sites … read more


North Shore geology experiment
January 18, 2012 by Andrew Slade

North Shore geology experiment

It's now a proven fact: Rocks move "down" the North Shore. Who'da thunk it? I was pleasantly surprised to see that a student at Duluth's Woodland Middle School's big annual Science Fair took on the task of proving that rocks do, in fact, move from "up" the shore (like Grand Marais) to "down" the shore (like Duluth).  (Speaking of Grand Marais, do you suppose ace North Shore photographer Bryan Hansel authorized use of his photo in the lower right of the board??) The student used Sparky Stensaas' great North Shore rock book to identify and label the classic North Shore rocks. … read more


Check out the new wayside at Split Rock
October 26, 2011 by Andrew Slade

Check out the new wayside at Split Rock

If you've driven on the North Shore this summer, you surely experienced the traffic back ups for construction in the Split Rock area. MnDOT completed a two-year-long project straightening out Highway 61 just west of the Lighthouse. The new highway is gorgeous, wide and fast.The new highway alignment runs about 200 yards away from one of the North Shore's most distinct wayside rests, a classic pull-off with a great view of Split Rock Lighthouse and the open waters of Lake Superior. For the traveler dedicated to enjoying Lake Superior, this is a great change. Follow the spanking new blue "Wayside Rest" … read more


Sugarloaf: Despite the shutdown, your own North Shore state park
July 5, 2011 by Andrew Slade

Sugarloaf: Despite the shutdown, your own North Shore state park

Margie Menzies, amazing summer naturalist at Sugarloaf Cove Minnesota State Parks are closed this week. And probably next week, too. If you're on the North Shore and you need your state park fix, head for Sugarloaf Cove. You'll find a hiking trail, quiet Lake Superior beaches, interpretive programs, and one super summer naturalist at the heart of it all. Sugarloaf Cove is a state scientific and natural area; it's managed by a private nonprofit organization, so it's still open despite the state government shutdown.Here are four reasons why you need to go to Sugarloaf Cove now: It's open! You don't have to park … read more


Have an ice day on Park Point
March 8, 2011 by Andrew Slade

Have an ice day on Park Point

There is a whole lot of ice along the Lake Superior shore here on Park Point. Every storm that blew in this winter brought another ridge or two of ice, and now those ridges stack up side-by-side about eight deep headed out to sea. It's super fun and a bit scary to explore out on these ice mounds. Everything is built out of shards of ice that have been piled up and frozen back together. Sometimes it's just a field of shards, sometimes the shards build up to a ridge that drops precipitously down toward the lake side, where storm waves … read more


Lake Superior whale burps and mermaid tears
January 11, 2011 by Andrew Slade

Lake Superior whale burps and mermaid tears

This press release from Minnesota Sea Grant deserves more circulation. You see these balls of stuff on the Park Point beach fairly often. If they were named "debris balls" instead of "whale burps" they wouldn't be nearly as cool. They can join the  "mermaids' tears" (beach glass" in the category of Cool Things from Mythical Creatures.#####Winter winds whipping around Duluth and Lake Superior can produce more than snowdrifts. They can also produce "whale burps." Also known as surf balls, these oval or round bundles of fibrous material periodically show up on coastlines throughout the world.Curious beachcomber Glenn Maxham of Duluth … read more


Watching for the greatest gift of all
December 14, 2010 by Andrew Slade

Watching for the greatest gift of all

All this talk about Christmas and gifts! The best things in life are free, right?  Send me out to the Lake Superior shore to watch for the greatest gift of all: the return of the sun.  I live where I can see the sun rise from the lake's edge almost every morning. The beach of Park Point is my Stonehenge, against which I can measure the change of the seasons. For the last six months, the spot where the sun rises has been moving from "left" to "right" along the blue horizon.  In summer, I'm up early for rowing and I know the … read more


Tettegouche arch trivia
August 24, 2010 by Andrew Slade

Tettegouche arch trivia

It's the biggest news from the North Shore since that incident at Glensheen. The arch at Tettegouche State Park fell last week. The story has been picked up by websites and newspapers across the Midwest.Here's a few tidbits you can throw into your conversations at the water cooler or the espresso bar to show your North Shore knowledge:*** The arch was never formally named. The only Minnesota North Shore arch with an official US Geological Society name is Hollow Rock, up in Grand Portage.*** You could paddle a sea kayak under the arch:*** There are still other similar arches … read more