Since we were this far away from home in Wisconsin, I thought why not head on over to Mt Rushmore? That’s a place I’ve always wanted to see! Our original plan was to see something of Wisconsin, drive up and around the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and then make our way back home. I couldn’t convince Matt of such a big change in plans, but then I started saying things like, “Well, we are so close to Minnesota, don’t you want a geocache from that state?” And then, “We could camp just over the line and then we could count Minnesota as a place we have camped in too.” It wasn’t much out of our way and compared to trekking over to Mt Rushmore, I guess it didn’t sound so far.
Our first view of both Minnesota and Lake Superior was when we crossed the bridge and entered the harbor town, Duluth.
We stayed at a KOA near Duluth and then I looked for things to do in the area. I didn’t expect to fall in love with Minnesota. I hadn’t known anything about it! We were just a few miles away from Jay Cooke State Park, so we went to check it out after Matt finished his work day. First we crossed a swinging suspension bridge over the St Louis River.
Of course, Matt had to make it sway! But it was sturdy and didn’t move much under his weight. This park was beautiful and we enjoyed a couple hours before the sun set hiking the trails and skipping stones.
Then it was Saturday and we had a whole day to explore Minnesota. After a bit of research, I realized that there was a lighthouse nearby on Lake Superior, Split Rock Lighthouse.
This lovely lighthouse is built high on a cliff that is made of anorthosite which is extremely hard and erosion resistant. We got to the park in time to watch a well done video about the lighthouse and then take a tour. The light station was built in 1910 in response to three terrible Great Lake storms in 1905 that resulted in 116 deaths. It was explained that Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world and it’s water temperature stays around 39ºF. As I heard several times while near Lake Superior, “The Lake never gives up its dead.” Violent storms, cold temperatures and a booming shipping industry were a combination for disaster. Lighthouses were needed to save lives.
Even though I only had a couple days in Minnesota, I loved the scenery and the friendly people. I’m so glad I convinced Matt to go! Guess we’ll have to catch Mt Rushmore another time.