A Landing a Day

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Grand Marais, Minnesota

Posted by graywacke on January 30, 2009

First timers, check out “About Landing,” above.

Dan –  Second only to MT on the OS list is another of the evil M&M&Ms, which is where I landed today . . . MN; 61/45; 4/10; 11; 166.4.  A new river, the Cascade, which flows into Lake Superior (12th hit); on to the St. Lawrence, of course (74th hit, solidly in 7th place on my river hits list, between the Arkansas with 84 hits and the Snake with 58 hits).

I landed up in the Arrowhead of MN, in the middle of nowhere.  Here’s a shot showing how much in the middle of nowhere I am.  For reference, the map is about 20 miles by 10 miles.


Here’s a broader view (my landing is the southern one):


As you can see, the nearest town is Grand Marais (pop 1400).  The more northern landing occurred on Halloween of 2007.  Back then, my emails to you were brief and to the point.  For old time’s sake, here’s the email I sent you:

Dan –  I landed in the “Boundary Waters” region of MN, where there are interconnected lakes everywhere.  It’s actually pretty hard to figure out which way the water is flowing, but I took my best guess, which landed me in two new watersheds:  the South Brule which flows to the Brule, which flows to Lk Superior.  So anyway:  MN; 42/30; 2/10; 182.3 (my highest since early June . . .)

That was landing 1269; today’s is 1638.  So, 369 landings ago, MN was still way OS.  My score was 182.3, so I’ve managed to get it down about 16 points . . .

Take another look at the above map.  See good ol’ Rt 61 running along the lake shore?  Remember my Como MS landing, where I mentioned that Rt 61 ended up going all the way to Canada.  Well, there it is . . .

Here’s an even broader view showing the location of Grand Marais:


Looks mighty cold . . .

So anyway, Grand Marais has a great website, and until further notice, that’s my source for the following:

Ya gotta love this place

Every nook and cranny has personality & authenticity.  One minute you’re in this timeless harbor village enjoying a cappuccino (or a bottle of wine), and the next you’re at the doorstep of millions of acres of national wilderness just waiting to be explored.

It’s safe to say, it’s like nowhere else on the planet. Except for, maybe, somewhere in New England.  But they have funny accents.

The Ojibwe called this location Kitchi-Bitobig, meaning “double body of water” (a reference to the two-sided harbor), and it was a Native American village for many years before any Europeans arrived. It is the translation from the French trappers’ dialect for this large bite out of Superior’s shore.  Literally, “great marsh” ; but in the trappers French dialect, it probably meant something closer to “great bay.”

Boy, does Kitchi-Bitobig get my vote!!  Anyway, here’s a picture of the entrance to the harbor:

 grand marais harbor

From the back-in-the-day part of the website, here’s a fur trading post:

 Fur Trading Post

And a family camping trip from 1910 (see lighthouse in background):


And this, about Rt 61:

The North Shore Scenic Drive is a destination unto itself. It begins in Duluth, Minnesota and follows the northeastern edge of Lake Superior for 154 unspoiled miles to Grand Portage. Highway 61 draws a paved line between the world’s largest freshwater lake and dramatic bedrock formations covered with boreal forest. It guides you past waterfalls, rugged cliffs, and beaches of rocks tumbled smooth by this inland sea.  There is a new wave of wildflowers every two weeks during the growing seasons – the lupines are stunning.

The star attraction, though, is the Big Lake herself. Depending on her mood, she greets you with sparkling azure waves, rolling walls of whitecaps, glassy stillness, power that emanates seemingly from earth’s center. Spend a little time here, and you’ll understand how she rules life along the shore.

Do it right, and the 2-hour journey from Duluth to Grand Marais will take 4 (hours, days or weeks, depending on your schedule!)

Here’s a nice shot of Rt 61:

 Rt 61

As mentioned above, I landed in the Cascade R watershed.  There’s a wonderful waterfalls just before the Cascade flows into Lake Superior (of course, right off of Rt 61).  Here’s a picture:

 Cascade River Falls

Here’s a shot of the Beaver House Bait Shop in Grand Marais:


And another, where you can more easily read the lower sign:


The Beaver House in Grand Marais is a quintessential example of the small independent fishing shop, with a home-made decor and a complete line of original tackle. The tasteful exterior decor seduces the timid with a promise of “Beaver Flicks” within. They are not the x-rated videos that those inclined toward the baser desires may surmise, but instead merely small lures comprised of a hook, a brightly colored spinning fin and a small float to keep it off the rocks. “Good for all fish! Guaranteed or your money back!”

Three more pictures of the lighthouse . . .

 light house 1

 light house 2

light house 3

Can you tell I’m a little taken with this place?



© 2009 A Landing A Day

4 Responses to “Grand Marais, Minnesota”

  1. thecollegianur said

    I can tell! My gosh, that’s a lot of photos for one of your landings. But you saved the best one for last.

  2. Big Al Tuna said

    The scale of the Boundary Waters area is awesome. I’ve been to outdoor shows where they had outfitters/guides from that area and the trips in via canoe or kayak sound incredible. I forgot all about this area until I read this!!

  3. Loser Son said

    This was a cool post. However, I’d have to disagree with the artsy mind of thecollegianur and say that the route 61 picture is the coolest. It would be fun to make a day or two (or four, as the site says) out of that drive.

  4. tyler said

    This is a great drive, whether you do it quick, or take your time (recommended). There is so much to do and see along this route. The north shore is gorgeous.

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