Monday, May 15, 2017

Superior National Forest: Vermilion Falls and Portage Trail

Today forecast of warm temperatures meant that Noelle, Sierra and I just had to get outside to enjoy the weather. I decided on a trip down to the Crane Lake area so that we could visit Vermilion Falls. About a year ago we made a similar trip to the Vermilion River Gorge. However, after that hike we were tired, and so we skipped the side trip to the falls.

We picked up a sandwich for a picnic lunch and then made our way south. We drove through Buyck, but noticed the bikes on the signs were gone. Soon enough we found the turnoff for the road to Vermilion Falls. We pulled into the empty parking lot,
Sierra at start of hike
grabbed our picnic stuff and made our way to the falls. The falls were pretty impressive,
Vermillion Falls
but it is difficult to get a really good view of them. We explored the them from various angles on the viewing platform
Noelle at Falls
walking platform at falls
and rocks below.
Vermillion Falls
 We also checked out the view downstream.
looking downstream
 Then we found a picnic table for our lunch.
eating picnic


As we ate, we noticed flowers blooming, including violets
violet
and a shrub with white flowers.
tree flowers
After lunch we headed over to the portage trail
Sierra and Noelle on trail
to check out a feature on the river know as "the Chute." On our walk to the Chute we saw more flowers; hepatica,
hepatica
anemone,
anemone 2
bellwort, and white clusters of flowers we could not identify.
white flowers
The ferns were in their "fiddlehead" stage.
fiddlehead ferns
We crossed the gravel road we had driven to the site near a bridge crossing the river. There were impressive views from the bridge
Vermillion River from bridge
and a pair of bald eagles were perched in a tree nearby.

Soon, I noticed a sign alongside the river marking the start of the portage around the Chute.
portage sign
The trail ascended above the river here
Sierra hikes with stick
and towards the end of the portage there were views down to the cascading river.
the Chute
We made our way to the end of the portage where the river slowed down and widened into a large eddy.
Sierra and Noelle at end of portage
We turned around and retraced our steps back to the car at the picnic area. 

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