So today Kathy and I are on the North Shore, lodging a couple miles south of Gooseberry Falls and a couple miles north of Two Harbors. Lodging in the evening, eating high, glass of wine, bonfire, go to bed late, visit, enjoy, get up early, have a black coffee outdoors in sweats, three course breakfast in sweats indoors and head up the road and see what it’s all about! Not premo colors yet, that’s all right.

Along the way, we visited the Duluth Zoo; hadn’t been there forever. Dined on Canal Street, toured the Rose Gardens park, lovely. We took the Glensheen Mansion outdoors tour, avoiding the inside tour and spooked attic. Relaxing, easygoing.

I think being two miles south of Gooseberry Falls we’ll head there this morning, get there early, park in the uncrowded six acre parking lot, visit the Gooseberry Falls Visitor’s Center, a museum to me, read about the early days with the loggers and masons and rich guys with parks named after them; read about the W.P.A and CCC camps. Look close at the CCC logging crews’ pictures to see if I recognize dad and never do and figure someday I will. I never did see him in person when he was young.

Checkout the pictures and stories of the Gooseberry Falls, the hand-hewn stone walls, steps, bridges and trails constructed in the early days by the camp men and women. It takes Kathy’s persistent persuasion to leave the museum but we got the real sights to see, the here and now stone walls and bridges and walking trails; to see the violent falls feed the meandering creek and follow it to the big lake. Nice, moseying down to the lower falls, walk the rocks above and below, walk the trails and boardwalks and bridges to the lake, take a break and head back.

Tomorrow maybe head to another falls, maybe up the Cascade River. Awesome walk along a rock- and root-studded trail along vertical rock, down and up, and stare down at the cascading river of falls with a temper. Yep, we’re going there tomorrow. Probably walk up the backside of Lookout Mountain, catch our breath, guess the names of the other mountains way off, familiar with the  shimmering lake way down.

Several years we stayed at a cabin alongside Cascade River, went up the same backside trail; one time, no sooner had we got to the top, caught the view, caught a breath, the sky went wild with lightning and thunder, hard wind and torrential rain. We ran, slid, tripped, jumped down the front trail, racing around the monster cedars, the roots sticking out of the rocks, dodging lightning. “Get down this suicide trail to safety!” was our song. Made it!

That won’t happen this year, just a leisurely stroll up, a breath, back down through those cedars and their gnarly roots with rocks for a trail. Maybe we’ll try the Temperance River gorge the third day, another river with a temper, I guess, for the heck of it. And we’ll find a few nice restaurants with a deck along the shore, take some road trips going away from the lake, get back to our cabin and bonfire on the lake and do it all over again. Couldn’t wait, it was like we were already there!

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