Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Grand Portage National Monument

Last night after work, Noelle and I headed up the North Shore bound for Grand Portage. Seeing as it was a bit late and we were both tired, we made it as far as the parking lot for the trail that leads up Carlton Peak. We slept in the Subaru for the night.

This morning we woke up bright and early and hit the road. We made it to Grand Marais where we got coffee and muffin tops for breakfast and then drove up to Grand Portage. Our first stop was the Heritage Center where we checked out the exhibits and watched a short film about the monument. Then we headed over to the reconstructed fur post. It was interesting to see how life in the late 1700s and early 1800s in the frontier would have been. We attended a short program on how people throughout history have started fires and saw one of the interpreters playing bagpipes as well.

After touring the post we obtained a permit to camp at the Fort Charlotte site. It would be an 8.5 mile hike from the Heritage Center to our campsite.

The hiking was pleasant and the weather was gorgeous. We saw a few birds and chipmunks, but none of the moose or wolves we were really hoping to see. The most interesting part of the hike occurred when the portage trail passed near a beaver pond. While the resident beaver(s) were nowhere to be found, it was interesting to look around at the plants and birds.

Soon after leaving the beaver pond area, we arrived at the Fort Charlotte site where we set up camp and explored a little bit. Fort Charlotte was the site of the beginning of the portage around the waterfalls and rapids of the Pigeon River.
 Our dinner consisted of Thai rice noodles and couscous. We even enjoyed relaxing around a fire before retiring for the night.

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