Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can.
~ Danny Kaye
Dan and I spent the next few days in and around Grand Marais, MN. I still remember traveling this area and running into the beauty that Autumn can provide, not to mention the wildlife (still no Moose sightings though) 🙂 The best part, I think, is that the weather cooperated and we were able to capture the sunrise twice during our stay using the Grand Marais Lighthouse as our backdrop. When photographing a sunrise or sunset, I find that a certain peace surrounds me as I watch the colors dance with the sky; each one never the same. Just a little reminder that when we take the time to stop and appreciate your surroundings and the people you are with, we can throw so much color onto that great big canvas we call life.
After spending a day exploring and photographing The House on the Rock, our time off was coming to an end. We packed up the car and headed on our way back home but of course, we took notice of the surrounding views. Not only is the landscape beautiful in this area, the counties of Vernon and Monroe Wisconsin, also have some interesting barns, including many round barns. I encourage you to get lost in the countryside no matter where you reside; each state has its own unique features and architecture!
Goosberry Falls State Parkis known for its amazing waterfalls and spectacular hiking trails. I would highly recommend getting out and exploring this area. The Gooseberry River falls over 1100 feet in 23 miles until it enters Lake Superior. Your choice of hiking trails leading to the Upper, Middle, and Lower falls all have their own surprises and beauty.
To know the history behind this beautiful landscape will explain it all. According to the MN state parks website:
Geology of the area between Goosberry Falls State Park and Split Rock Lighthouse State Park
Geologists have determined that about 1.1 billion years ago, the Earth’s crust began to split apart along a great rift zone now covered by Lake Superior. Huge volumes of lava flowed out onto the surface and cooled to form volcanic bedrock, mainly the dark type known as basalt. Several lava flows can be seen at the Upper, Middle, and Lower Falls and south of the Gooseberry River along the Lake Superior shore. The rifting also caused the flows to tilt gently toward the lake. These basalt lava flows, all along the North Shore, are also the birthplaces of Lake Superior agates.
About two million years ago, the Great Ice Age began as periodic glaciers (up to a mile thick) advanced into the region from the north. As they ground across the area, they changed the landscape dramatically, especially by excavating the whole basin now occupied by Lake Superior. About 10,000 years ago the last glacier melted back, allowing the basin to fill with water and starting the erosional process that creates the river gorges and waterfalls. Today, water, wind, and weather continue to shape the North Shore.
In 1905, a November gale that Lake Superior is famous for claimed the ships Edenborn and the Madiera, among others, within miles of the Split Rock River. The lighthouse and fog signal building were completed in 1909 and remained as a steady beacon of light for ships until 1969. Even after the light was dimmed, the horrifying November gales took the Edmund Fitzgerald and her 29-crew members. The loss of the ship and its crew members are remembered every year on November 10, with a public program and the lighting of the beacon at dusk in remembrance.
Building Split Rock Lighthouse and the buildings on the property presented many obstacles. Hiking the path leading southwest down to Lake Superior will show you a glimpse into this amazing feat. The lake isolated the station, as there was no land access, all supplies and visitors needed to come by boat until 1934 when a road was built from the lighthouse to the Lake Superior International Highway.
In 1915-1916 a much needed elevated tramway was built for delivery of supplies
We enjoyed our time spent hiking and photographing the Split Rock Lighthouse and the grounds of the Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. To walk through the grounds and the restored 1920 lighthouse learning about the history of this property is intriguing to say the least. Listen to the life saving calls of the fog signal as heard today and of the 1920; to hear up close and personal was bone chilling.
Fog Signal as heard today:
Fog Signal as heard in the 1920’s
Gooseberry Falls and Split Rock Lighthouse will forever be, in my mind, a highly recommended stop if ever in the area.
After our walk around Cove Point Lodge, we headed back into Two Harbors, MN to take in some city scenery. On our way, we noticed a sign alongside the road for “Cooter Pottery”. Dan quickly took the sharp left onto the road heading us in that direction. Off the beaten path and down a dirt driveway, we came to a creative hotspot that Dick and Debbie Cooter have built. The kiln and pottery showcased here was absolutely amazing and the colors that Debbie used for her rug weaving was spectacular. Walking into the showroom was to say the least; inspiring. A stop highly recommended!
A quote taken from Dick Cooter from his website. To view the website and gallery click on the following link Cooter Pottery.
“My pots are fired in a 125 cu ft wood burning kiln inspired by traditional Korean kilns. The pots I make are sturdy, bold, and reflect the processes of making them, simple decoration enhances the rich surface created by long wood fires. “
A quote taken from Debbie Cooter about Cooter Handweaving:
“I was introduced to rug weaving 27 years ago as a folk art. The tradition using recycled clothing to weave and household items appealed to both my creative and thrifty nature.”
After spending some time photographing the Cooter Pottery grounds, we headed into Two Harbors and stopped to photograph the two lighthouses in the bay. While driving around this quaint little town, our eyes laid upon the signs of abandonment in a large building not far from main street. What we ran into that day required a trip back later in our vacation. The buildings that we ran across was the old Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway 30 acre lake front property (DM&IR). Oh my… My heart skipped a beat as the excitement poured into my body. This was going to be a good! We stopped for only a short period of time photographing just a small portion of this property. The feeling these building put forth is far beyond any words that can spew out of my mouth. Look for a post on this site in the near future as it has been recently demolished and is no longer standing. We were extremely lucky to have noticed this gem when we did.
The next leg of our trip will bring you along with us as we tour Split Rock Lighthouse and the grounds of Split Rock Lighthouse State Park.