Thursday, August 24, 2017

Paddling to Ash River Falls

With calm winds forecast for today, we decided to take advantage by heading over to Ash River to paddle to the falls there. We ate a picnic lunch in the parking lot, and then put the canoe in the water for the paddling adventure. It was a pleasant paddle upstream. We saw a family of otters playing in the water. They seemed curious about us. There are some homes along the first section of river, but the scene became more natural as we headed upstream. Sierra brought her net to catch things in.
Soon enough we were at the falls.
There wasn't a whole lot of water flowing this late in the season,
but it was still a pleasant scene. We found a spot to get out of the canoe and scrambled up to a nice spot overlooking the falls
and Ash River below.
I had heard there was another small waterfall up above the main one, so I left Noelle and Sierra for a bit
and scrambled up above the main falls and found the small cascade.

I made my way back down to Noelle and Sierra
and then we headed back into the canoe. We took one more look at the falls from the water and then headed downstream.
Sierra liked poking the waterlilies and pulling vegetation out of the water.
As we approached the boat ramp we saw a pair of eagles,
one adult and one juvenile, perched on a white pine tree. We watched them for a while and then made our way back to the ramp.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Lake Bemidji State Park: Sundew Pond Hike

Today Noelle, Sierra and I made the drive down to Bemidji for a taste of civilization and a hike at Lake Bemidji State Park.
There's been a rash of owl attacks in the park, and so one of the trails we had planned to hike was closed. Still, we were able to hike a portion of the paved Paul Bunyan State Trail to the trail that leads to Sundew Pond.

It was a pleasant hike under mostly cloudy skies. We crossed a small wetland
on a bridge and then followed the paved trail
past a seemingly random dead fish (I hypothesized that it was dropped by an eagle) to the natural surface trail. There were a few late summer wildflowers still blooming: goldenrod
and bergamot
among others.

Sundew Pond itself was pleasant.

There was a bald eagle's nest in a tree way off in the distance on the other side of the pond. We saw a few sundews and lots of snails.
We ate a snack at the bench there
and then started to make our way back to the trailhead.

We took a slightly different route back to the trailhead, hiking a natural surface trail closer to the lake.
We were rewarded with a closeup view of an eagle.
Then it was back to the car for the drive into town.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park

For the past 3 nights Noelle, Sierra and I have been camping in Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park just west of Thunder Bay. While it's mostly been a place to sleep, we have spent some time exploring the park a bit. We explored the falls area a bit from both sides of the river
and hiked the short Mountain Portage Trail.
We also got a chance to cool off at the swimming beach.
Sierra even showed off her new skills immersing her face underwater!

I thought the closed loops of the campground were interesting,
if not a bit post-apocalyptic.

Before our return drive to International Falls, we stopped at the nearby Cedar Falls Conservation Area for a short hike to its namesake Cedar Falls.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Day in Thunder Bay

Yesterday, after our visit to Fort William Historical Park, we headed to downtown Thunder Bay where we found the splash pad. Sierra took full advantage of the cool waters
and afterwards we walked along the waterfront and admired the views out across Lake Superior
and over to the Sleeping Giant.

This morning we headed over to the Terry Fox Monument and overlook.
Its a really fitting tribute to an extraordinary person. After the memorial, we headed back into town to try the Sleeping Giant Brewery.
They had some really good beers there! We then had lunch at Boston Pizza, before a hike at the Cascades Conservation Area.
The Cascades Conservation Area is a popular swimming spot, but its definitely not suitable for young people,
so Sierra was a bit upset that we didn't let her swim there.
We hiked a short loop at the conservation area and at times got glimpses of the river.
Sierra would get her chance to swim a little bit later once we had returned to Kakabeka Falls.