Saturday, June 3, 2017

Chippewa National Forest: The Joyce Estate

I was originally going to head down to Duluth for my weekend to hike two sections of the Superior Hiking Trail that I'd never set foot on before. However, I remembered that the air show is in town and decided against that trip thinking that it might be difficult to get a campsite with the big event going on. Since my car is desperately in need of an oil change I decided to head down to Grand Rapids where I could both get an oil change, and go for a hike at the old Joyce Estate in Chippewa National Forest.

Like promised, I headed down to the big city for my oil change, ate lunch, and then headed back north into the Chippewa National Forest. I headed into the Trout Lake Tract for the start of the hike. The trail followed a closed road that is obviously used by Forest Service vehicles to access the estate site for maintenance purposes.
trail to Joyce Estate
There was wild rose scattered here and there along the side of the trail.
rose flowers
Along with the deciduous trees, and hot and humid conditions, I felt almost as if I were hiking back in Tennessee or North Carolina; that is until I saw the first of many piles of bone and fur loaded wolf scat on the trail.

The trail passed by 3 lakes on its way to the Joyce Estate. The first to come into view was Moore Lake.
moore Lake
I took a short side trail down to the shoreline for a break before continuing on. Soon I could see Trout Lake through the trees on the right side of the trail. The trail was conveniently marked with mileage signs along the way, so it was easy to gauge my progress.
trail sign
One section of trail was fringed with lots of yellow lady slipper in bloom,
3 yellow lady slippers
2 yellow lady slippers
lady slipper closeup
and there was quite a bit of columbine as well.
single columbine (2)
There was a nice campsite with towering white pines
big white pine
on a sand beach just before reaching the estate. I made a note of the beach with blooming white flowers
small white flowers
and campsite, as it might make a nice paddle/camp trip in the future. Shortly after leaving the campsite, I found myself at the Joyce Estate that the Joyce family called Nopeming (place of rest in Ojibwe).

At this point I was quite hot, so instead of immediately exploring the buildings of Nopeming, I headed into Trout Lake to dip my feet in the water. Almost immediately, some curious pumpkinseed fish made their way over to investigate me,
fish near foot
and perhaps eat some dead skin off of my legs. I think I could have placed my hands in the water and caught the fish with my bare hands had I wanted to.
fish in water
Instead of catching them, I photographed them.
fish closeup
It was my first time trying out my camera's underwater abilities and I think it took some pretty decent pictures. After about 20 minutes in the water, I headed over to the main lodge building of Nopeming to start my exploration.
joyce Main Cabin

At the start of my exploration, 2 buildings from the old estate were visible: the main lodge building
inside main cabin
and the Joyce cabin,
Guest House
which was the summer home of Chicago businessman David Joyce and his wife. David built Nopeming from 1917 until 1935. Further exploration
stairs lead up
revealed one of the remaining "cabins on the hill" which were built for David's daughter B.C., as well as the butler, seaplane pilot and maid. Besides the one standing cabin, there was a still standing chimney
chimney
and a few sets of stairs that once led to the doorways of the buildings.
stairs to nowhere

Upon heading back down to the main lodge area, I discovered a root cellar
root cellar
(nice and cool inside) and an outdoor barbecue pit area.
outdoor kitchen area
A trip out to the end of the peninsula that juts out into Trout Lake in front of the main lodge building revealed a bathhouse.  After about an hour of exploring and a short nap in the shade, I made my way back to my car for the long drive back to International Falls.