Friday, October 7, 2016

Minnesota's Jewel, Voyageurs National Park

Of course I am back home arrived on my birthday the 29th of Sept.  I wish I had been able to share all my trip memories in real time but the entire week in Canada I had only one day with WiFi service when I stopped in Terrance Bay. So that's why I fell so far behind and the fact that I was so tired at night I didn't have the steam to update!

(9/13/2016) I traveled south on Hwy 53 and then east to spent the night in Woodenfrog Campground, one of the 2 drive to Campgrounds connected with Voyageurs National Park.  In all honesty this is a boaters paradise but for land lovers like me, it offers only some great views and some nice short hikes! In the heat of summer is the best time to visit, as the water temp was quite cold so even getting in a kayak without a wet suit would be a silly thing to do!

Voyageurs is made up of 3 main bodies of water....Rainy Lake, Kabetogoma Lake, and Namakan Lake and surrounded by the Boreal Forest.   In the past trappers and fur traders paddled through these waters to bring furs between the Canadian Northwest  to Montreal where it was shipped to markets in Europe.  Parts of Voyageur can be accessed from Canada.  

There's 3 visitors centers.  Kabetgoma is the closest to Woodenfrog. 

I arrived here early just as the Ranger was raising the flag, and found out there had been a mass exit of help! She told me 4 people quit in one week so she was not scheduled to be at this VC and she was not familiar with the system.  I got my passport stamp, bought my souvenir medallion and picked up a hikes brochure...and a couple postcards then headed up to Ash River.  

... back onto Hwy 53 and  Hwy 129 to the was closed! They were repaving the parking lot...BUT the ranger was nice enough to let me in to stamp my passport!

On the way to the VC is where I took 2 hikes.  
I didn't make it to the Crane Lake area due to the time constraints BUT in hindsight wish I had! There is another campground there.  There's thousands of islands with many primitive campgrounds and backcountry camping is prime here if you want to spend time on a primitive island this is the place for you! I hiked the Kabetogama Lake overlook trail and this was one of the views along that trail.  It shows the rugged coastline  and some of the many islands of the lake.  
from the lake overlook trail

AND one treat for me was up in the trees that lined the trail.  I saw another new bird!! The Black Backed Woodpecker!  Here's a grainy shot of his yellow spot on the head.

and his name details he has a solid black back! 

This is a 3 toed woodpecker but not THE 3 toed woodpecker who is just like the black backed except its back has white barring on it. The Rangers at Rainy VC were excited to put this bird on the list of recent sightings!  And the second hike was to the beaver pond overlook.

I finally spotted the lodge over to the right of the pond..

Beavers play an important role in shaping our landscapes...if not for the ponds that flood the area and provide the beaver with a means for clearing it of trees we wouldnt have these open areas in the Boreal  Forest!

Just look at this SAP covered Red Squirrel as he gathers pine nuts for winter.

On this hike I also saw Red Breasted Nuthatch, Yellow Rumped Warbler, American Robin, Red Bellied Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker and White Throated Sparrows. After the hikes Casey and I had lunch and then got in the van and headed back north again on Hwy 53 this time to Rainy. The reason I did not visit Rainy the day before when I was close to it was there is no campground there. 

Here is the Rainy Lake VC. 

Inside there is a museum, theater, and gift shop. I browsed the museum, I don't like when its full of stuffed animals...and this one was...this beautiful Gray Wolf was hit by a car is the story I was told he was so huge, tall as me in sitting position! (Im 5'5") 

Outside at Rainy VC is a nice seating area...
And a marina where I saw this really cool birch bark canoe, IN season you can get a ride in this baby..

Much like the one in the museum inside the VC...

Upon leaving I spotted this guy high up in the blue sky! 

There is a very nice bike trail that follows the road coming into Rainy VC.  From here I headed south again stopped and spent the night in a Forest Service Camp for Free on Hwy 6. 

I was the only camper...sometimes I'm not too keen on these secluded areas of camping but I ended up staying here...

and the next day headed west on Hwy 2 toward Grand Forks ND.  The following are some road side oddities I spotted along the way...

this huge statue of Edward C Woods Sr, I couldn't find out a thing about him on the Net! Obviously he was a frontiersman by the looks of this attire...and a huge tribute to Smokey the Bear...

this rural bar had a cool sign and name! 

and one more Eagle to see me on my way...

AND the headwaters of the Mississippi River start here.  I was not able to find the very start but it crossed the highway here so I snapped this shot of the not so Mighty Mississippi as she runs through Minnesota!

I headed for ND! Finally now I feel good about saying I've visited ND!

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.


  1. What a trip, huh? Happy belated birthday to you! I had a September birthday, too! XO

    1. OH Yeah! Another Libra maybe? Im trying to wrap it up but there was sooo much yet I want to share!

  2. Beautiful blue lake there, is that the reflecting sky?, and some good bird spots. That wolf was huge, I agree about stuffed animals but at least he wasn't killed just to be stuffed and shown off.

    1. yep I think its the deep blue sky in the water, it was a breezy chilly but sunny day! The Ranger saw my face fall into shock and then he explained it was hit by a car...

  3. Never made it to Voyageurs, but we did canoe a bit of the boundary waters. Even did a short portage. And we did a float plane ride that was amazing.

    1. HOW cool the float planes were around...I wondered if the Boundary Waters was more accessible? In my original plan I intended to make a stop there but whittled it off.

  4. A quick note in real time! Last night and today we were hit by Hurricane Matthew! He pounded us for 12 solid hours with rain and high winds....He messed up my property pretty good- I have trees on the fence, some siding off my tool shed, a tree nearly hit the dining room window, and manyyyy millions of small and medium sized limbs to deal with. We also have no electricity...I charged my laptop with my 12 volt and inverter. Our land line phone is also out! We were supposed to be going to Ocean Isle Beach in NC this weekend my sis rented a beach house...if IT is not hard hit(they evacuated Ocean Isle today) we may salvage the money already paid by leaving Monday and returning Thursday IF sis hadn't already paid I'd cancel and stay home to begin the clean up which will probably take many days to get done! SO If I go missing you will know whats up!!

  5. i wondered if you were in matthew's way; that's why i came by -- tomorrow I will come back and read all your trip posts. I'm so behind. Stay safe. I can't imagine how you can be so calm after watching a tree nearly hit your house.

    1. Hi Sallie, I was not calm I was screaming like a banshee! Surprised you didnt hear me....Tomorrow we head up to NC which is insane but my sister laid out all this money for this beach house weekend...she was able to move the dates but with all the flooding I have no idea what to expect!

  6. Happy late birthday!!!! Hope it was a good one! Congrats on the woodpecker, they are such cool birds. The sappy squirrel reminds of a sticky jam-faced kid.

    Now I just read your comment about the hurricane- yikes!! If I was just a little closer I would come over and help clean up. Be safe out there, glad you're okay!

    1. Thank you JEN so happy to see you here I miss your blog soooo much as do others...I can't for the life of me figure out how that squirrel will clean up his face when I get pine sap on me even rubbing alcohol won't budge it! You're so kind to offer to help with clean up if you were closer I'd accept your offer! I nearly got my van stuck in mud at the dump...others in Pick up trucks who ventured father in did get Stuck and had to be pulled out!

  7. The statue looks like Paul Bunyan to me. We have not been to Voyageurs -- it's a huge gap on our National Park life list that I'd love to remedy. Meanwhile, thank you for your wonderful pictures. You see wonderful birds everywhere.

    I hope you are safe from flooding and any more after effects from Matthew.

    1. It does look like Paul Bunyan and nearby was one of him that I did not drive to see...they like things BIG up there!


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