Tettegouche State Park, North Shore, September 2014

Red Green’s Special Stuff

After our last trip ended with a bit of crunching I figured I better update progress. A repair estimate came from Xtreme Paint and Graphics which went to the insurance company, who went back to Xtreme to negotiate a bit. That’s where it sits. The insurabce company is contacting the witnesses to see what they have to say about the speeding, red light running, talking on her cell phone while smoking crazy person who ran into us.  

In the mean time we applied the Handy Man’s secret weapon over some metal mending plates, secured the headlights, put in a new turn signal bulb and we were good to go.
The original LP gas refrigerator was still working fine but is is 13 years old.  These are the number one cause of fires in motorhomes. From what we see the newer ones are worse than the old ones. At this time in their lives they are commonly being replaced with ordinary residential refrigerators. We gave it some thought and when a very nice Samsung went on sale (for about 1/3 of the cost of a new LP gas refrigerator) we went for it. Got it delivered and set upmin the shop to make sure it worked well and got busy removing the old refrigerator and making adjustment to cabinets, electrical wiring, plumbing, vents and building a new platform for the refrigerator and a new skinny cabinet to go along side of it.

Out with the old one.
Recruited some Habitat friends and others to do the swap.  Thanks!

Right through the window. Mtaking the window out and replacing it took longer thn the old refrigerator out and new one in.

After a couple (Susan says four) test fits it is in and trimmed out. The new side cabinet is quite nice.

Sold the old refrigerator to a young couple for their cabin.  Good for them and us.
Tettegouche State Park.
On the way to Tettegouche we stopped for one night on the lake at Two Harbors, MN.  They have a nice city campground, Burlington Bay. Lots of sites right on the lake.  And you can walk into Two Harbors.

Late sun.
Tettegouche State Park is a great park for hiking.  It has lots of moderate to difficult triails that follow the Baptism River or lead into the backcountry. The definition of moderate has changed over the years.  Susan and I were first here in the early 80’s and the trail on the North side of the Baptism River to the High Falls was a rough, tree root and rocky covered trek up and down hills, through bogs and across several small streams.  Today the steep up and down climbs are wooden stairways and boardwalks get you through the boggy areas without getting your feet wet.  It is still a significant cardiovascular event.
It is also a great park for camping.  The main campground is about a mile from the lake and up the hill. There are lots of campsites for tents and RVs many with electric connections.  There are also 6 cart-in camp sites.  You park your car and haul your stuff into the camp site with a garden cart.  These vary from maybe a 50 yards to a half mile.  The up-the-hill campground is away from the highwy traffic and noise and light.  It is one of the darkest State Park campgrounds on the North Shore. A late night walk yields a spectacular stary night view. We saw some of the best views of the Milky Way in a long time. Even out in Hastings there is still a lot of extra light that makes seeing this difficult.

Late in the day.

There are also a dozen or so cart-in camp sites down by the lake.  They are also closer to Highway 61.
This used to be the Baptism River State Park and was much smaller. In 1910 a group of business men from Duluth bought 1000 acres around Tettegouche Lake to use as a hunting and recreation camp.  They built several log cabins and called it Tettegouche Camp.  They bought the land from a logging company based in the NE USA.  The logging company named the lake Tettegouche from Algonquin word for retreat. Several other lakes and rivers nearby have Algonquin names as well. The logging company had cut most of the trees but left many mature white pine around the lake.  These trees now are over 200 years old and stand well over 100 ft tall. The business men ran their Camp with a strong conservation ethic. They ran out of money in 1929 and sold the land to one of the business man who did not.  He ran it as an upscale camp open to the public adding a lodge and many more buildings. He sold it to another prominent Duluth family in 1971 who sold it to the Nature Conservancy who sold it to the State in 1979. I imagine there was a lot of manuevering for tax purposes in those 8 years.  By 1979 the original 1000 acres had been expanded to 3400 acres. This land along with Tettegouche Camp was merged ith the Baptism River land and the park was renamed Tettegouche State Park.
The park now has some of the most unique forest habitat anywhere long the North Shore. One of the most interesting is a significant stand of mature oak trees. Thee trees drop acorns and are a favorite food of the black bears in the area.  They have tagged bears that travel more than 20 miles for this fall treat. 
There is a major trailhead near the campground.  Most of these trails head into the interior of the park. The campground is on the south side of the Baptism River.  A trail from the campground leads upstream along the high bluff to the High Falls.
The High Falls is one of the highest falls in the state.  An old cable suspension bridge crosses the river above the falls.
They have added lots of stiffeners since the first time we were there. It still has a load limit of just a few backpackers and their gear at a time. It is part of the Superior Hiking Trail as it passes theough the park. 
Once cross you can continue upstream or follow the Superior Trail or head downstream on the top of the north edge of the river gorge.  Just a short way on there are steps down to the bottom of the High Falls.  About 120 steps!
Time for a rest.
Two years ago when we were here there was a Conservation Corp crew (part of Americorps that work with state Parks) (sort of like Peace Corps at home) working on these steps.  They were rebuilding the bottom 30 or so steps and the landing at the bottom. Much of this hard been damaged in the same storm where flood wters damaged Duluth and Jay Cooke State Park. They had to carry in all of the timbers and tools by hand.  Very hard work but the crew leader told me that there was hardly a better way to spend a summer.  We ran into them later in the campground.  They didn’t go off and stay in some place with beds, they stayed in the campground in tents!
Anothe mile or so down stream there was a branch trail running down to the base of Two Step Falls. Not two stps down but more than 210.  Another cardio experience.
This was a nice lower pool, probably great for a swim in mid summer. About 50° today.
210 steps back up and then down towards the lake and the new Visitors Center where we had a nice lunch.

And then with a light mist coming on we hiked back up the hill to the campground.  A hot chocolate helped make the cool uphill trek end comfortably.
The hike (walk) out to Shovel Point is not very far and the trail is pretty good.  I’d like to have the lumber contract for the DNR. They build a lot of stairways and boardwalks. On this pretty rugged terrain they make the trails more accessable. 
So its a couple mile round trip with lots of up and down.  This part of the North Shore as is most of it, is ancient lava flows. It is a particular type of lava which as it cools gets big vertical cracks. It ends up making cliff faces look like they are made of narrow vertical columns.  This is much different from the lava flows at Gooseberry State Park for example only 20 miles South East.
Shovel Point cliff face.
Wind, waves and mostly ice freezing in cracks make some spectacular rock formations. The trees on top give some idea how big this solitary rock outcrop is. 

Very high and very steep cliffs along the trail to Shovel Point.  Probably 200′ of more to the bottom. There were steel anchor points bolts to the rock at the cliff top. We wondered what they were for.  Someone else suggested they were for the bird banders who monitored Perigrine Falcon nests.  Sounded good to us.  Later we discovered that Tettegouche is one of two parks where they have rock climbing as a regular activity.  We found one other cliff location with the same anchors.

Finally all the way to the point and a small,bay to the north.

The mouth of the Baptism River. There were two more rock beaches to explre and hunt for agates.

Just up the shore from Tettegouche is George Crosby Manitou State Park. Although it crosses Highway 61 and goes down to the Lake there is no access from 61.  You have to go to Finland (Minnesota). It is a backpacking park, moderate to difficult on the State Park scale. But there is a lake only a short way from the parking area.  Several camp site are around the lake and there is a boardwalk trail all the way around. It is a bit swampy, probably keeps the erosion down.

The colors were starting to change.  On the way back we had a great lunch at “Our Place” in Finland. The back roads five or six miles away from the lake were beautiful.

We had a great time on the North Shore as we always do. Tettegouche has camping away from the highway and is loaded with great hiking.  Temperance River has many very nice camp sites overlooking the Lake or on the beach.  Good hiking and easy to get to beaches to explore.  Gooseberry is a long time favorite too.
Lots to like on the North Shore.
So we are home again.  We are finishing up some coach projects and a long list of get ready for winter stuff.  Winterizing the coach soon.
We will be heading for Texas and Arizona and New Mexico about January 7, 2015.
Lots more later.
Roger and Susan


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