Scenic drives

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


North Shore colors: Remember the Superior National Forest
September 30, 2011 by Andrew Slade

North Shore colors: Remember the Superior National Forest

Oberg Lake and the Superior National Forest from the Oberg Mountain Trail, September 2009 This weekend will be one of the busiest and most beautiful of the year on the North Shore, as the autumn color show is at its peak and the weather forecast is fine. While thousands will head for the state parks, those in the know will head for the Superior National Forest...whether they know it or not. Most of the Superior Hiking Trail east of Tofte is in the Superior National Forest. Favorite fall color hikes like Oberg and Leveaux mountains are in the National Forest, and … read more


Tough times for Two Harbors’ Jacques
February 21, 2011 by Andrew Slade

Tough times for Two Harbors’ Jacques

Jacques the giant roadside voyageur stood for years next to the Voyageur Motel along the Two Harbors strip. Now he lies in pieces next to the Earthwood restaurant, just a few yards off the Highway 61 expressway west of town.¬† Back in town, his boots had been literally frozen to the ground. His head wobbled as the new owners tried to move him, and Jacques was literally decapitated in order to save him. When I drove by the other day, the head was still nowhere to be seen. But the new restaurant owners have big plans to put Jacques back together, … 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


Fireworks in Tofte…The Big Oops!
July 5, 2009 by Andrew Slade

Fireworks in Tofte…The Big Oops!

Check out this video from YouTube of the fireworks from Tofte on the Fourth of July. Someone recorded the video on their cellphone from about 350 feet away, but couldn't get the audio to work.Maybe it was in honor of the 10th anniversary of the BWCA Blowdown...the Blow-Down Blow-Up!Here's another view, with audio, from the KARE-TV website. … read more


Tettegouche in winter
January 27, 2009 by Andrew Slade

Tettegouche in winter

Tettegouche State Park is one of the North Shore's great wilderness destinations. It's a huge park, reaching from the steep cliffs of Shovel Point and Palisade Head back past the rustic cabins at Tettegouche camp all the way to the outskirts of Silver Bay and Finland. On the North Shore in winter, those back hills of Tettegouche get covered in snow, including some massive lake-effect snow dumps. If you like to snowshoe or cross country ski, there are some amazing trails and destinations. If, however, your idea of winter fun is a quick jaunt from the heat of your car, … read more


The light at Split Rock
November 14, 2008 by Andrew Slade

The light at Split Rock

It was a beautiful evening at Split Rock Lighthouse this Monday. The lake was calm, glowing and smooth. The moon rose stealthfully in the eastern sky. People were smiling, telling stories, faces lit. The fact that it had been 33 years to the day since the Edmund Fitzgerald had passed by a dark Split Rock Light on its way to its destiny seemed novel, out of place.A ship passed by in the distant shipping lane, under the waxing moon.Then they began to read the names and toll the bell. 29 times. Plus one with no name, for all the other … read more


Hogback, Hump Back, Ba-Rack
November 5, 2008 by Andrew Slade

Hogback, Hump Back, Ba-Rack

A good day in the woods, a great day for the country. My weeks on injured reserve are done, and my apparently mild case of plantar fasciitis has healed. Plus I just couldn't stand to hang out in town all day waiting for election results. So in this very narrow window before deer season and the first snows, I got out on two trails I'd been meaning to hike all fall. Both trails were up the Cramer Road out of Finland. It had been so foggy next to Lake Superior I wanted to get away from the big cold water … read more


Funny from Texas
October 29, 2008 by Andrew Slade

Funny from Texas

Check out this funny essay from a Texas columnist about his recent trip to Two Harbors and the rabid late-season mosquitoes. Based on his dateline, this must have been just two weeks ago that he had so many skeeters.This was totally the summer of bugs for us, like the woods were full of frustrated larvae that had waited out two or three dry summers and then just cranked out the generations like mad to catch up.I don't know how this writer's bug experience really was. I'm pretty accustomed to onslaughts of insects. But the fact that this was mid-October is … read more