The drizzly, windy weather followed me east into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, but after a grey and stormy evening the morning turned blue and mild.  After a hunt for a place to rent a canoe and explore (I mean, it’s in the name) I was sadly unsuccessful- all the local places I could find on the water were only doing longer rentals for multi-day trips, and without a roof rack or anything a place in town wasn’t an option.  But instead I had a beautiful day hiking a loop along Bass Lake and Dry Lake past wildflowers, lily pads, cattails, pines, and waterfalls.  It was pretty quiet overall and since the day turned warm I stopped and found a nice rock to read on and swim for a bit.  My swim spot was obviously used for backcountry camping and it made me wish I’d packed my stuff and could just stay and camp out for the night, but I was too lazy to go get a permit and haul my stuff out a few miles so late in the day.  This was also the day when, looking at a few photos of myself, I was close to giving myself a haircut seeing how terrible the ends of my hair look.  So far I’ve resisted the urge since I only have old craft scissors but… blegh.

Onward to the coast, I was treated to a beautiful double rainbow on the road as I drove up as far north along the coast toward Canada. I stopped to do a little hike called Magnetic Rocks, but man was this place poorly labeled so I have no idea whether all the rocks were magnetic, there was some special rock, or the name means something else entirely. This small formation was the closest thing to a unique rock I could find? I kept getting peeks at the beautiful interior lakes and at the first Great Lake of my trip- Lake Superior. I reached the town of Grand Marais in the late afternoon and walked out to a little lighthouse at sunset which was kind of magical, especially when I settled in by the water listening to dueling from opposite ends of the park buskers while enjoying a delicious fry bread taco from a place across the street. Finally! I’ve been searching for fry bread since Montana and have come close but either places were closed or there were no veggie options. Yum yum fried goodness covered in cheese and stuff.

Had a night in the forest outside town, then returned to Grand Marais in the morning for a coffee resupply mission before going off to Cascade River State Park. This day was just what I needed. A few hours of hiking through the evergreens and ferns along the river and all its waterfalls. If I could bathe in pine scent it would make me eternally happy. Okay, I guess there’s probably a pine scented body spray out there, so I’m gonna have to get on that, but not quite the same as the extra fabulous aroma of pine boughs and fresh greenery and rain. I have loved my adventures in the desert and mountains and plains, but the lush rainy forest os definitely my natural habitat. The rainy day offered *such* sweeping views over the forest and out over the lake, but there’s a different beauty to the mist.

I stopped and walked around Temperance River State Park, too, then continued south to Father Baraga’s cross, a spot on the coast where a missionary washed ashore safely in a storm against the odds. It was a lovely cloudy view, but also a nice spot to cook some lunch and dinner for later. Later on I walked up to Palisade Head near Silver Bay, which is a cool tall cliff from where, according to my book, on a clear day you can see across to the Apostle Islands, but… not so much today.

My last stop of the day was to Iona’s Beach which is a pretty pink rock beach, and when the waves hit right make that cool clapping sound as the water recedes. I camped on the lakeside near Two Harbors and thus was conveniently right across the street from a pie shop where I procured two delicious slices (peach blackberry and something called Great Lakes which was a berry and rhubarb mix) before taking off southbound to Duluth. I walked around the Leif Erikson rose garden and watched the harbor for a bit before aiming for the Wisconsin border. Minnesota was pretty great! Gotta come back one day and actually plan to take advantage of the northern waterways. I’m coming back for you, canoe wilderness!

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