Weekly Photo Challenge: In the Background

I had hoped to capture a shot for this week’s challenge while at the cabin this past weekend, but no such luck.  Pick had challenged us to:

Take a picture of yourself or someone else as a shadow, a reflection, or a lesser part of a scene, making the background, or — as in the example above — the foreground, the center of attention.

I turned to my photo archives from a few years back, and found this one I took while hiking at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park – just me and my shadow, standing on top of Day Hill looking toward the lighthouse.

Split Rock Lighthouse from Day Hill Overlook

Ciao! ~ Kat

This post was in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge.  ”In the Background” was this week’s theme.  Everyone is welcome to join in the Challenge; further details on how to participate and links to others’ responses are found here.

Geocaching in Cascade River State Park

When we meandered to the northern tip of Minnesota at the end of September, following the North Shore of Lake Superior (as I shared in this post about Grand Portage State Park and this post about Judge C.R. Magney State Park), we also stopped by Cascade River State Park.  This multi-park day trip was motivated by the Minnesota State Park’s “Geocaching Avian Adventure” that began in June 2012 and goes until June 2014.

Waterfalls of the Cascade River ~ Cascade River State Park, MN
Waterfalls of the Cascade River ~ Cascade River State Park, MN

Perhaps you are not familiar with geocaching?  The website geocaching.com is the “go to” resource for people new and old to the hobby of geocaching.  But rather than my trying to explain to you what geocaching is, or how to “go” geocaching, here is a two-minute video put together by geocaching.com that concisely explains this activity enjoyed by so many people:


And, now back to our regularly scheduled programming. . .

Cascade River State Park, Minnesota

Cascade River State Park has some trails that climb to stunning overlooks of the Sawtooth Mountains (we use the term “mountain” loosely in Minnesota).  The geocaching coordinates took us to a loop that started at the cascading falls, and then turned back to go along the river upstream from the falls.

Cascade River State Park, Minnesota

This geocache at Cascade River State Park was the 5th find for my son of the 82 geocaches that make up the “Avian Adventure” — completing the adventure may be a bit ambitious, given our schedules the next couple years, but we will have fun trying when we do have time!

Cascade River State Park, Minnesota

Geocaches can be cleverly hidden, and the one in Cascade River State Park did not disappoint.  I will not give away the precise location, though, so the next geocacher can enjoy finding it as much as we did.

Cascade River State Park, Minnesota

Any other geocachers out there?

Ciao! ~ Kat B.

Judge C.R. Magney State Park: More than Devil’s Kettle

Many of Minnesota’s beautiful state parks become known for one particular feature or trail.  In the case of Judge C.R. Magney State Park, the Devil’s Kettle waterfall is usually the “can’t miss” sight.  When the water is running high, as it was when I took the first few photos back in the fall of 2007 (and never again have I managed to properly set my camera to capture the rushing water blurred just so!), it is exhilarating to hike the narrow path — going up and down the steep wooden stairs, and then standing at the edge of the falls and feeling the water spray as it mysteriously streams into a large opening in the rock, seeming to disappear into the depths of the earth.

Devil's Kettle Falls ~ Judge C.R. Magney State Park (Minnesota)

Brule River ~ Judge C.R. Magney State Park (Minnesota)

The falls empty into the Brule River which winds its way through the rolling hills, just northeast of Grand Marais, Minnesota.  Judge C.R. Magney State Park is not a heavily traveled park, particularly if you wander off of the main Devil’s Kettle trail.  Many years ago, my husband and I camped at the park, which has several lovely spots for tent campers.

Brule River ~ Judge C.R. Magney State Park (Minnesota)

This fall, during autumn’s last hurrah at the end of September, we headed to Judge C.R. Magney State Park to capture our fourth geocache in the Minnesota State Park’s Avian Adventure.  The activity led us to the Timberdoodle Trail, a short self-guided loop which had many interpretive markers along the way.

Timberdoodle Trail ~ Judge C.R. Magney State Park (Minnesota)

Leaves were not only past peak in color, but thinning out significantly as we walked along the leaf-strewn path.  The almost-barren birch stood like sentries on either side of the trail, marking our way.

Timberdoodle Trail ~ Judge C.R. Magney State Park (Minnesota)

Whether you take the classic river trail, or meander along a forest path, Judge C.R. Magney is a state park where you can enjoy peaceful solitude.

Ciao! ~ Kat B.

I Can See Canada From My Window . . .

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. . . at least I can see Canada when I am standing at the entrance to Grand Portage State Park, at the most northeastern point of Minnesota.

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Continuing on our geocaching adventures through Minnesota’s State Parks, we drove the beautiful entirety of Minnesota’s North Shore on about as perfect a fall day as fall days come in Minnesota.

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Lake Superior was a vibrant blue in striking contrast to the golds and greens of the autumn landscape.  At this overlook just off of Highway 61, the vantage point is perfect for viewing the Susie Islands near Grand Portage.

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Just as the border station looms, the visitor center for Grand Portage State Park comes into view.  Grand Portage State Park contains the highest falls in Minnesota – aptly named the “High Falls.”  The Falls usually have two or more large streams of water flowing into the Pigeon River.  With the dry spell Minnesota has seen in recent weeks, like so much of the rest of the country, the Falls were a relative trickle, exposing the interesting surrounding rock more than usual.

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The Spanish moss provided a delicate overhang as we walked the path to the geocaching coordinates. (I am always reminded of the ents in Lord of the Rings when I see Spanish moss, which is not an overly common sight in Minnesota!)

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As my son found our third “Avian Adventure” geocache, we checked Grand Portage State Park off the list (79 to go!), and enjoyed the view of the Pigeon River as we walked back to the main parking lot.

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I am disappointed we did not get an earlier start (this was the same day trip where I selfishly left a car full of hungry people in a scenic overlook parking lot at the end of the day, so I could take some pictures of the moonrise over Split Rock Lighthouse, which you can see in this post). We did not have time to spend in the exhibit hall, with its murals depicting the culture and traditions of the Grand Portage Ojibwe people. The Park is uniquely situated within the Grand Portage Indian Reservation.  Grand Portage National Monument is nearby, as well, with interesting exhibits relating to the historical fur trade between the voyageurs and Ojibwe.  And, let’s not forget a day or overnight trip to nearby Isle Royale National Park, with its unique ecosytem.  Just more reasons for a return visit to this corner of the state.

Ciao! ~ Kat

Travel Theme: Foliage

Where’s My Backpack? was kind enough to remind me of her weekly challenge (for those of us going through withdrawal since Friday, waiting for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge!).  Ailsa’s theme this week is “foliage” which has been wonderfully abundant here in northern Minnesota the past couple of weeks!

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This shot is from the Timberdoodle Trail at Judge C.R. Magney State Park along the North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota.  The leaves may be past-peak in terms of classic fall colors, but the late afternoon sun still beautifully illuminated the color that remains.

Ciao! ~ Kat