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


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


Flood Bay: An appreciation
August 12, 2010 by Andrew Slade

Flood Bay: An appreciation

So you've made it through the stop-and-start traffic maze of Duluth and up the expressway to Two Harbors. Maybe you stopped for some smoked fish at Lou's or a Culvercinno at Culvers. Now, get your first real taste of the North Shore.Just 1.5 miles past the last Two Harbors stoplight, turn right at Flood Bay State Wayside. There's a nice gravelly beach that reaches back toward Superior Shores resort, and you can walk the whole way. If you brought a sea kayak, you can launch it here.If you like agates, you can find them here by the dozens: they are … read more


Good Harbor, Good view, GREAT geology
January 14, 2010 by Andrew Slade

Good Harbor, Good view, GREAT geology

In a land full of amazing geologic stories, this might be the best and most easily understood geology stop on the entire North Shore of Lake Superior. It's right at the big curve that swoops down about five miles west of Grand Marais, with the new Cutface Creek wayside down below.I'm sort of colorblind. For decades I've driven by this rock face at Good Harbor. Maybe I was distracted by the big view of the Grand Marais harbor just up the lake, but I never EVER noticed how deep and luscious RED the lower layer of rock was. It's a … read more


Carlton Peak: Because it’s there
July 24, 2009 by Andrew Slade

Carlton Peak: Because it’s there

We bagged Carlton Peak this week. In the fog. Why? Asked why he wanted to climb Mt. Everest, George Mallory is supposed to have said, "Because it's there." He did not say, "For the M&Ms on top." Ask each of our four hikers and you'll hear different reasons why they climbed Carlton Peak: [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="400"] Older brother, Hans. Too cool for hiking.[/caption] Older son, just turned 13, "Because my pesky little brother was complaining about it and I had to show him up with Albert." [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="400"] Friend Albert, the hiking motivation for older brother, Hans.[/caption] Albert, older son's friend, also age 13, … read more


Life in the cracks at Artists Point
July 10, 2009 by Andrew Slade

Life in the cracks at Artists Point

Artists Point in Grand Marais is a wonderful North Shore destination. If you're in Grand Marais and you've had your fill of t-shirt shops or microbrews, head out along the east, or left, side of the bay, through the big parking lot to the big old white house. Artists Point awaits.Last year, our family was hanging in Grand Marais on the Fourth of July, escaping the bugs of the Sawbill Trail. We had a great visit to Artists Point. We went to the right, toward the lighthouse along cement retaining walls. A week or two ago, I went back to … read more