We’ve had the best luck when it comes to Minnesota State parks. First we snagged the last spot at Gooseberry Falls, then on Sunday we pulled into Temperance River with no reservation and got the best site in the campground.
The ranger told us that this site was only available because someone else had just moved to another site- lucky us. She also said that all the state parks on the north shore are full every night of the week in the summer months. Not really a surprise considering they all offer terrific hiking trails, access to the lake and generous sized sites with lots of trees for privacy. Oh, and they have recycling! I’ve been dismayed by the lack of recycling facilities at so many of the campgrounds we’ve visited, so I get excited every time I see a recycling dumpster. It’s the little things in life that make me happy :)
It’s hard to decide which we enjoyed more, the river or the lake. We took a 7 mile hike (without Phineas- too much for him) up the Temperance river gorge, through the birch and pine forest and to the top of a Carlton Peak. The river gorge was pretty awe inspiring. You could see where millions of years ago the water carved out deep gouges in the rock leaving behind narrow crevasses for the river to rush through, rounded pot holes with swirling foamy water and a series of waterfalls.
At the top of the gorge the terrain flattened and the river calmly gurgled over a bed of rounded rocks.
The trail then turned away from the river and gently acsened through the forest for several miles. The forest was a mix of birch and evergreen trees, but for some reason many of the tall birch trees were missing their tops. Not sure if this was caused by a wind or ice storm, but it was kind of strange. Also, with most of the tall trees missing, the trail was pretty hot and sunny.
The final leg of trail involved a climb up this craggy rock.
Luckily the trail wound around the cliff and not straight up it! A cooling breeze and terrific view were our rewards when we reached the top.
And then there was the lake. No sandy beach here. Just lots and lots of rocks.
Phineas was sure this was the best beach ever. First there was rocks to play with…
Then there were sticks to wrangle…
And finally there was a Tim to play in the water with.
This was our last Great Lakes visit. Today we are moving inland, then south to the Twin Cities area for the weekend before continuing west. The lakes have been more than we could have ever hoped for. We enjoyed every minute of our time visiting Lake Ontario, Michigan and Superior- and we can’t wait to come back and explore some more!