September View

September View

Monday, June 18, 2018

Lake Superior Circle Tour-Day 2 to Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

After breakfast we left Duluth, Minnesota and headed out on Highway 61.  Our first stop was Gooseberry Falls State Park.  Gooseberry Falls is in Minnesota and is known as the gateway to the north Lake Superior shore.  It has several waterfalls and many points of interest.  There is no way we could get to see all of them.



There was an Upper, Middle and Lower Falls as well as a place called Fifth Falls.  The fifth falls was only a .7 mile hike, and we decided we were up for it.  Little did we know what a challenge it would be.  We started off on a nice path but because the signs were a little confusing, we didn't know exactly which way to go.  We asked a few people but they were also tourists so nobody knew any more than we did.  Finally someone told us they saw a sign for Fifth falls down the path a ways.  We kept following the signs which were few and far between.  The path was dirt with roots and stones protruding all along trail, and it was only two feet wide.  We got to a point where we crossed a bridge.  We saw other people crossing the bridge so we followed, but somehow got side tracked along the "scenic" route.    We walked on what seemed forever until we got to a big rock flat with no obvious way across the river.  We pondered our situation and decided to go back the way we came.  Then had second thoughts and turned back around again to further look for a continuation of the trail.  By this time some "real" hikers had appeared.  They wore hiking boots and carried walking sticks, and they showed us the way out.  Our .7 mile walk had turned into a 3.3 mile hike.  I was so happy to see the parking area and our car.  However, that was short lived.  As we were getting ready to back out of our parking spot, the person behind us backed right into us.  My husband had seen it happening in the rear view mirror but couldn't honk the horn in time.   They insisted that both of us were moving and that we were both at fault.  They were wrong but we couldn't really prove it, so we exchanged information and took pictures of the damage.  They only had a scratch on their bumper, but we had two broken light covers and some scratches.  We have to get a damage report when we get home and deal with that further.

It was hard not to let this ruin our day, but we moved on.  We saw another nice waterfall called the Cross River Falls which could be seen from the roadside.  A short distance from this falls was a city called Grand Marais, Minnesota.  The information center in Grand Marais was the location for getting the second circle stamp.


We were approaching the United States/Canadian border.  At the border is the Grand Portage State Park.  It has the tallest waterfall in the state of Minnesota which is 120 feet on the Pigeon River.  It drops 3200 gallons of water per second.


You can view the falls from either the U.S. or Canadian side.  We chose to view it from the United States side.  It was an easy walk from the welcome center.  The waterfall was pretty amazing.  The power behind all that water is so strong.  I kept imagining what the Indians thought the first time they heard and viewed this powerful waterfall.  It is called Grand Portage because the Indians and explorers had to portage many miles around with their supplies and canoes.


This view shows the United States on the left and Canada on the right.

This land is part of the Grand Portage reservation.  The Lake Superior band of the Chippewa Indians and the State of Minnesota have partnered together to allow visitors.  It is more than the beauty, it is a way to learn about the past and present Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) life.  This is interesting to us because of a book series we read by William Kent Krueger.  The main character is part Anishinaabe and lives near the reservation.  He references their language and culture often in his stories.  Whenever they meet someone they say Boozhoo which means Hello and Miigwech which means thank you.


Just a short distance from this park, we crossed the border into Canada.  The border guard checked our passports, we moved our clocks to Eastern Standard time and we left the United States.  We entered Ontario.


Things are different in Canada.  The speed limit signs are in km's (kilometers), the gas is sold in liters, the temperature in Celsius and the money is really confusing with different colored paper money and different types of coins.  We found an ATM to get some cash, but most places take debit or credit cards.  If you use the card, the exchange rate is automatically figured out.  We got out 100 Canadian dollars and about $77 was deducted from our account.  We found our hotel in Thunder Bay, and went to a nice restaurant for dinner although I really messed up the tip for the waitress.  I don't think she got a good impression of old Americans who are not familiar with Canadian money.  To me a Loony is not a dollar but how I felt in this foreign territory.   The restaurant was a learning experience.  Overall the Canadian people were wonderful and very friendly in spite of how the United States government is treating them right now.  Our goal tomorrow is to get to Rossport, Ontario.