So we headed for the North Shore for four days last Friday, all excited how high, fast and violent the rivers will be; how long and steep the rocky trails over and through the tangled cedar roots along and over the rivers will be. A must see, again!

How would be the mile-long trail in Judge C.R. Magney State Park, the long stairs along the way, to the Devil’s Kettle waterfall, where a tongue of the roaring Brule River plunges into a bottomless kettle, where the rest of the falls drops over boulders thirty feet into a cauldron of white foam; where everyone has a story, a guess, where the kettle water reappears, maybe somewhere downriver from the kettle. Does it stay inside the volcanic river bottom or the cliff walls? Does it explode from the bottom somewhere in Lake Superior? Does it go back to Canada? “I’m not guessin.”

We’ll walk up and down the ski trails on Moose Mountain, maybe take the scary gondola down from the top. Nah, we’ll walk, take a different trail down. Already took the gondola a few years back. We’ll look across, way over, to Oberg Mountain, where we’re headed next. We’ll take the left trail up the loop from the parking lot like last time. It’s a steeper walk, climbing over some rocks on the way up, an easy stroll on the way back down the right trail. A relaxing gaze from the Oberg summit back to Moose Mountain, thinking, “I was just over there looking over here!” An awesome view with the shimmering Oberg Lake in between; look down to the south and take in the panorama of Lake Superior.

The third mosey will be Lookout Mountain, after following the Cascade River aways up from Lake Superior, There’s two trails to the top: a stroll up a not-so-steep zigzag backside trail; and a steep, rugged trail over rocks, boulders and tangled cedar roots through a tunnel-like trail between 100 year old cedars. We walked up the backside trail last time, through aspen, birch, evergreens and brush, following a maze of switchbacks along the way. I said to myself several times on the way, “I think I see the light, the top!” And I’m wrong. And finally, there’s no kidding myself, “I do see the light, the top!” One year, after reaching the top, going up the backside trail, relaxed, enjoying the lookout from the cliff top in three directions except the west, where the forest that we’d come up through blocked the view; the west wind suddenly blew in hard. The sky turned black, lightning strikes dominated the sky and wind, rain, hail and hell broke loose.

The fastest way down, of course, was the steep trail, the obstacle course, and down we ran, hard. We jumped, dodged and stumbled. And made it to flat ground. We were soaked and relieved and safe. The Cascade River wasn’t a cascade when we started our adventure that day. The next day it was living up to it’s name, roaring, loud and hell!

We’ll check out, again, the Grand Portage fort, destination of the voyagers, the mostly French fur traders (winterers and pork eaters) coming down in their canoes after a winter trapping and trading with the Indians to the north. Now trading with the Europeans in their schooners and oversized canoes from the east. Established 1784.

We’ll see Gooseberry Falls, walk the “flat” trail to Lake Superior. Check out that museum, again. We’ll have a fun few days, where it’s at! Cool.

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