Saturday, July 28, 2007

John's B-day and more of Grand Marais

We visited my mom yesterday afternoon. I cleaned the poop off the floors and toilet seats. I left the curious pink dollop alone; I just didn't have the stomach to deal with it yesterday. Maybe later today.

She didn't get out of her chair the entire time we were there. She just kept saying she hadn't felt well all week and kept her hand on her nitro patch. She said her chest had been aching and it scared her.

I never know what to say.

Continuing the trip:

We had a voyageur canoe trip reserved on the Poplar River at 8:30 a.m. It was a chilly morning after a cold night. The sky was a beautiful blue and the sun made everything look alive and cheerful. We arrived at Sawtooth Mountain, filled out our paperwork, tightened our life jackets, then set off on a walk to the river. It was a pleasant walk through the woods. Our guide chatted with us about the bear he came across the night before.

The river was very shallow and had almost no current. We didn't see much wildlife: a heron who didn't like us being there, and a pair of mergansers who were equally displeased. There was a beaver house. I was surprised at the lack of turtles. Wisconsin has lots of turtles.

The paddling made us all tired, but it was not a long trip. It was an easy way to introduce the kids to canoeing. Having other people there made them less whiny, I think.

We had to carry our oars with us, and Eric used his as a walking stick. It really helped him a lot, and he decided that a walking stick would be a great thing to have on these many walks we were taking. So he got one in his head--light metal, retractable, with a rubber foot and a camera mount so he could use it as a monopod. Yup, he dreamed up quite a tool, and actually found one at a store in Grand Marais. Then sticker shock sank in and he decided he could just make do. Or, better yet, make his own.

Today was our pie day, which I blogged about previously. I will say that our server looked and sounded an awful lot like a young Matthew Broderick.

We didn't have any firm plans for the rest of the day, so we just started driving north and figured we'd stop when something looked fun. Laurie had recommended a walk along the Kadunce River, so we stopped there.

We ended up looking at rocks on the beach mostly. The river looked nice to walk down, but the kids were sick of walks. So we sat on the hot rocks trying to stay warm and trying to leave a few on the beach.

After a bit, we went down to Judge Magney State Park. There was almost no one there. The walk was short, so the kids were appeased. Then we got down the path a little more, and the sign said the walk was strenuous with many changes in elevation and a long set of stairs. Hmm... well, we were here now, the kids can just shut it.

It was a fun walk. I wouldn't call it strenuous, but it was a lot of up and down. There were 176 steps on the stairs in one spot.

We counted. And if you count the rather long boardwalk, it was 179 steps. Still, the payoff was great. There were two falls beside each other.

One went down a huge circular hole, the bottom of which has never been found. It's called Devil's Kettle. The other was just a falls with a deep bottom, and people had shown up to swim and dive there. It looked very fun and scary. We went around behind the falls and stood at the top of them. It was a fun spot. Kayleigh fell on one of the rocks right at the head of the falls. I about died. I kept my composure when she looked at me and simply asked if she had hurt herself. She was OK.

We headed back to town for more pie, and I overheard one of the waiters telling some people about a little overlook with no walking if you didn't want any. That sounded just right for my tired children. Off we went after our pie. Eric was delighted with it. It's along the Gunflint Trail and overlooks Grand Marais and the Sawtooth Mountains.

We briefly wandered downtown again, then headed back to our motel for some rest before we set off the next day for St. Paul to see Eric's dad.

Today is Eric's dad's birthday, by the way. Happy day, John!


laurie said...

ah, the devil's kettle.... i have GOT to get back up there. your kids would not like to vacation with me. all i ever do is walk.

can you repost those photos? only one seems to be working. though maybe it's my computer.

i'm sorry about your mother. that sounds awfully hard.

Amy said...

Do the photos show up in the blog itself? They do on mine. But when I click, they're not there.

I can walk all day. I feel like I'm always dragging my family along on these trips. Eric and I have been talking about doing England's coast to coast walk. Kayleigh actually cried when we mentioned it.

Amy said...

It's almost working. It's fine in Firefox, but Safari is still hosed....

laurie said...

the photos work just fine now. they are beautiful.

Amy said...


Maciek said...

Oh my gosh, this is so awesome! Kim's parents have had a vacation home at Lutsen since Kim was little - we go there, once every other summer or so. Last year, Kim and I did that very same canoe trip - no wonder the photo from the canoe looked so familiar!

Anyhow, glad you guys went up there, it's gorgeous country. Hope to see you all soon sometime this summer!


Amy said...

Maciek, that's a fun coincidence. It was a nice place to visit. We'd never been up there before. How's little Eli?