Current Location: Canal Park Lodge, Duluth Finish Line
 Current GPS Lattitude: 46.78624
 Current GPS Longitude: -92.09347
 Days Elapsed: 145 days
 Distance Travelled: 1555 miles / 2503 km
 Previous Contact Point Duluth
 Next Contact Point: ...A New Adventure
 ETA to next Contact:
Date: Wednesday, 12 February 2014 Author: Mike Link
Join us for a trip to investigate the south shore this June

Exploring Lake Superior’s South Shore

June 22 @ 8:00 am - June 28 @ 5:00 pm

 | $1650

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  • A one-of-a-kind opportunity to take in the beauty and wonder of Lake Superior with two of the region’s most accomplished guides and instructors!
Join Full Circle Superior husband and wife team Mike Link and Kate Crowley on this incredible week-long exploration of Lake Superior’s South Shore. During this 6-night, 7-day experience, Mike and Kate will lead the group to breathtaking and awe-inspiring locations along Lake Superior’s Wisconsin and Michigan shorelines. Sharing their intimate and vast knowledge of the Greatest Lake and its natural and cultural history, they will retrace highlights from the first 1/4 of their 2010 walk around Lake Superior. Days will be a mix of day hikes, visits to local area attractions, and travel. Covering lodging, transportation, admission, instructional fees and nearly all meals, this week is truly a one-of-a-kind opportunity to take in the beauty and wonder of Lake Superior with two of the region’s most accomplished guides and instructors.

More information, program brochure and registration details are coming soon – please check back or give us a call at 888-404-7743

Cost is $1,650;  includes:
6 lunches, 6 dinners, 3 breakfasts, 6 nights lodging (B & B’s, Hotels, Motels),Transportation for entire program, Fees for museums and parks, 2 Guidesand Instruction

mikekate

Minimum 6 participants, Maximum 16 participants.

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Date: Monday, 9 September 2013 Author: Barb Rang with Pat Eichler
Monday, 9 September 2013

Going Our Way—Ten Days Around Lake Superior

By Barb Rang with Pat Eichler

 

Eleven years ago my friend Pat Eichler from Florida and I from Wisconsin traveled to Thunder Bay, Ontario, for a mini-vacation.  Since then we have also been several times to Lake Superior’s Michigan side, exploring such places as the Porcupine Mountains, the Keweenaw Peninsula, and Marquette.  Then things happened to make Lake Superior’s Circle Tour our goal:  We became subscribers to Lake Superior Magazine, obtained copies of the Lake Superior Guide, and read Mike Link and Kate Crowley’s book Going Full Circle Tour.  With Pat’s enthusiasm and copious notes on traveling the lake and my love of the region, we decided to take the plunge.  We would drive clockwise around the lake beginning our trip in Duluth, MN, on July 26, so we could experience the Tall Ships Festival there. 

As luck would have it, though, our journey was delayed one day, and once on our way on Monday, July 27, our car broke down on Hwy. 53 just 15 minutes or so from Superior, WI.  Instead of seeing the Tall Ships leave Duluth’s harbor, we spent most of the day at Superior Chrysler’s garage waiting for parts and repairs. The people who helped us, though, softened our disappointment. Our cell phones didn’t work because we were in a “dead zone,” but two guys with radiator problems of their own stopped to help us by contacting a tow truck company when they reached Superior, a police officer stayed with us until the tow truck operator arrived, and the garage service men gave us top priority, assuring us that my 2002 Chrysler Sebring convertible would surely take us around Lake Superior.

Cold weather and some rain dampened our trip, but our ten-day journey around the largest

lake in the world (by surface area) was one of the best experiences of our lives.  Adding our input to Lake Superior Magazine’s readers’ “Bests of the Lake,” we list the following:

 

                Best highway for scenic overlooks:  Hwy 61 from Duluth’s Aerial Lift Bridge to the International Bridge at the Pigeon River, the border between USA and Canada.  It is designated a National Scenic Byway, one of only 31 All-American Roads in the country.

                Brockway Mountain on the Keweenaw Peninsula near Copper Harbor, MI, is also a road of breath-taking overlooks.  It is the highest road in America between the Black Hills of South Dakota and the Alleghenies, and provides spectacular views of Lake Superior and panoramic forests.

 

Best highway for slow traffic:  Trans-Canada Highway is terrific with its numerous passing lanes.

 

                Best breakfast at a local restaurant:  The Hungry Moose just out of Terrace Bay, Ontario.  We had the day’s special—blueberry pancakes topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit—two kinds of melon, pineapple, mango, and a strawberry, and a choice of meat (I had sausage, Pat the ham.).  Coffee rounded out the meal with the suggestion, “Serve yourself; the coffee’s over there.”

 

   The Hungry Moose restaurant’s morning special  featured blueberry pancakes and fresh fruit with meat.  I chose the sausage links.

 

                Best place to find semi-precious stones:  Agate hunting on the shores of Lake Superior was frustrating.  When we did find an agate, it was tiny, but our amethyst picking was extraordinarily easy.  We drove to the heights of Amethyst Mine Panorama between Thunder Bay and Nipigon, Ontario, and for a small price, searched its amethyst field for stones.  We collected our desired amethysts, washed them at a nearby water station, and had them weighed--$3 Canadian per pound—little time spent, no trouble finding the stones, and lots of fun!

 

                Best beach for noting the power of the lake:   A short walk down a fairly steep incline took us to Pebble Beach near Marathon, Ontario.  This place is a good one for great photos, driftwood, and tons of rounded rocks shaped by the ebb and flow of Lake Superior’s waters.  In retrospect, I imagined gathering enough stone “balls” to make Bocce (boch-ee) Balls, an Italian lawn game set of eight wooden balls and a jack or small target ball for a two-team competition.  With a little paint to color the competing teams’ balls (four each), I would have had a stone-age set.  (Fred Flintstone and Barney would have been proud!) 

 

                Best restaurant for an evening meal:  Kinniwabi International Cuisine restaurant just outside

of Wawa, Ontario, rates #1 with me, but Pat could not decide as she liked Kinniwabi and several others.  The tomato soup we had to begin our supper was superb.  I told Pat if I could make soup like that, I’d become a cook!

 “Kinniwabi,” we were told, is a First Nation people’s word meaning “water  that flows through tall pines.”  The restaurant is perched above the Michipicoten River and lives up to its name.  “Wawa,” another First Nation word, means “goose.”  We found the name amusing, but also appropriate since we saw many Canadian geese on our trip.

 

                Best information center:   A tie-- Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, and Sault Ste. Marie, MI, --The staffs were courteous, friendly, and helpful, and they reflected a spirit of people who enjoyed their work.

 

                Best cruises:  Sault Ste. Marie, MI’s, Soo Locks Boat Tours was educational and delightful..  The cruise took us through both USA and Canadian locks, gave us views of the International Bridge and numerous freighters, tug boats, and recreational craft, and some insight into local industries.

  Captain Mark Bisdorf of the Bide-a-Wee took us through the USA and Canadian locks.

 

                Apostle Islands Cruises out of Bayfield, WI, offers narrated cruises in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore area giving water views of several of the 22 Apostle Islands.  It also has shuttles to islands for camping, day hikes, and tours of historic lighthouses, the most popular of which is the newly renovated Raspberry Island lighthouse.

                For a short cruise, we took a 2.5 mile  (4 k) car ferry ride to Madeline Island ( the only Apostle Island not in the national lakeshore) to visit La Pointe, the island’s only town.  One could easily spend a day or more on the island enjoying its gift shops, golf course, museum, beaches, and restaurants

 

                Best road to avoid:  H-58 from Deer Park, MI, to Grand Marais, MI.  The 13 –mile (21 k) gravel road had a washboard surface most of the way with some soft sand holes and dips.  Eyes had to be on

the road, not on the scenery, to avoid potholes and rough spots.

 

Best inland scenic highway:  H-28 from Grand Marais, MI, to Munising, MI.  The road was smooth and had forest landscapes, much like those seen along  the Rustic Roads in Wisconsin. 

 

    Forests sheltered us on highway H-28 to Munising, MN.

 

                Best harbor/Lake Superior view from a restaurant: The lake views at Harbor Haus restaurant of Copper Harbor, MI., equaled its German food which was tasty and excellent.    

 

Best villages to visit:  Copper Harbor, MI, (pop. 108) and Bayfield, WI, (pop. 487).  These villages hug the waterfront, take kindly to visitors, and make any stay, long or short, enjoyable.  

 

                Best novice adventure:  Sailing the Apostle Islands with an experienced captain.  We cruised the

Islands with a young man/captain who manned the sails and let us take turns steering the boat.  What a

“rush” to feel the wind, hear only the whoosh of water on the bow, and listen to the natural world!

 

                Best theatrical experience:  Attending Big Top Chautauqua’s (sha-ta-qua’s) presentations.  The Big Top, a huge canvas tent erected each summer below a ski hill just outside of Washburn, WI, provides a place for professionals to perform.  Over the years I have attended performances by such notables as Garrison Keillor of A Prairie Home Companion  fame and Joan Baez, but my favorite programs have been the original historic musicals by Warren Nelson—“Riding the Wind,” “30th Star” (about Wisconsin’s statehood), “Riverpants,”and, my all-time favorite. “Keepers of the Light,” a story about the Apostle Islands lighthouses.

 

                Best off-the-beaten path experience:  A visit to Whitefish Point, 15 miles north of Paradise, MI, is a journey in history.  This site  and that of Copper Harbor were the locations for the first lighthouses on Lake Superior.  Whitefish’s lighthouse began operating in 1849.  The site has the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, the bell recovered in 1995 from the 1975 wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, a gift shop, and a great beach for rock hunting and swimming.  Visitors can stay overnight at a restored 1923 Coast Guard Crews Quarters.  Of course, reservations are a must, so lodging there on this trip was not possible for us.

 

                Best place to extend your stay:  Munising (MEW-ni-sing), MI, (pop. 2,355)—Besides the wonderful cruises to see Pictured Rocks and Lake Superior shipwrecks, the town and its environs have many opportunities and interests for multi-age families or groups, everything from casino gambling to gift shop browsing, boating, kayaking, hiking, biking, camping, and playing on its sandy beaches. 

 

                Best regional food:  The pasty (pas  tee) is a turnover/pie of meat and vegetables often served with gravy and/or ketchup.  It was a basic lunch for Cornwell England coal miners and was brought to North America by families whose men took up mining in the Lake Superior area.  We tried Muldoon’s pasties in Munising said to be the best ones in the UP (Upper Michigan).

                Two other regional foods, the poutine, (sometimes pronounced “poo-teen;’ other times “peu-tin”) is a meal of French-fries topped with white cheddar cheese curds and smothered with brown gravy.  We didn’t try it, but I did try cudighi (pronounced “could-a-key”), an Italian sausage burger on a bun at Jasper Ridge Brewery Restaurant and Lounge in Ishpeming, MI, as part of a Slider Variety appetizer.  The other sliders, a mini-cheese burger and a breaded chicken breast, were good, but the cudighi topped with pizza sauce was great! Other toppings include combinations of grilled green pepper rings and grilled sliced onion, mustard, ketchup,and mozzarella cheese..  

“Ishpeming,” we found, means “on high ground” or “in heaven,” and we were in heaven tasting the brewery’s Blueberry Wheat and Jasper Lyte Lager beers!!

 

                Best places NOT to get cell phone reception:   Almost anywhere on the shores of Lake Superior with the exception in/near the cities of Thunder Bay and Sault Ste. Marie.

 

                Best replicated fur trading fort other than Fort William in Thunder Bay:  The fort at Grand Portage National Monument, Grand Portage, MN, is a replica of the first white settlement (1731) in Minnesota in its fur trading days.   The Grand Portage fort declined in importance when  the Hudson Bay Company constructed a new trading post/ fort for its voyageurs in the Thunder Bay area.

 

                Best access to waterfalls:  Gooseberry Falls State Park, about 12 miles NE of Two Harbors, MN, has a fairly easy access to an overview of Gooseberry Falls’ middle and lower falls.  The path is downhill, but not really steep, and with assistance even those in wheelchairs could go to the overview.

 

   Friend Pat Eichler and writer Barb Rang

saw their first waterfall at Gooseberry Falls State Park in Minnesota.

 

Grand Portage State Park, MN, has an easy black-topped and board walk trail (No stairs except for two optional observation decks, and the steps to them are few.) to High Falls of the Pigeon River. The walk is about a half mile, but people in wheelchairs could make it to the falls.

 Pigeon River is the border between Minnesota, USA, and Ontario, Canada.  We didn’t stop at Pigeon River Provincial Park, Ontario, but its trail to High Falls is labeled “intermediate.”

Aguasabon Falls and Gorge is just a half-mile off the highway at Terrace Bay, Ontario.  The 100-foot (30 meter) tall waterfall can be seen from the parking lot and its park facing the falls.  A footpath with a boardwalk and stairs leads to an observation area closer to the falls and gorge, but the hike isn’t necessary to view this spectacular waterfall.  This waterfall location was the ultimate in easy access!!

 

  Walking to see the falls at Aguasabon Falls

 near Terrace Bay, Ontairio, was an option but not a necessity.

 

                Best “green- friendly” structure observed in a community:  The First United Church in Wawa, Ontario, takes the honors for this “Best.”  On its roof are solar installations shaped into four crosses.

 

    

This church in Wawa, Ontario, put solar energy panels into its religious proclamation.   

 

                Best golf course for its uniqueness:  Aguasabon Golf Course in Terrace Bay, Ontario, is a nine-hole course managed by volunteers (totally unique!)  Two members of Aguasabon GC who were eating at the Hungry Moose told us about this unusual course and Aguasabon Falls nearby.   We did not play this golf course, overlooking Lake Superior, but it looked in fine condition, and the members’ description of the course as “pretty” was an understatement.

 

                Best sites/places to view moose and bear:  We are wondering about those places, too!

 We spent time on Isle Royale and had a park ranger lecture us on moose and what its bones can tell us about its sex, age, and health. The ranger remarked that moose and bear are solitary animals and shy away from people for the most part. Her comment rang true.  In our travels of 1,558.9 miles, we saw two deer, two sand hill cranes, numerous crows and Canadian geese, many, many, many sea gulls, a few chipmunks, and too many mosquitoes, but no moose or bear in the wild.  A lesson is taught:  Ralph Waldo Emerson advised, “Adapt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”   For now, we content ourselves with the knowledge that these creatures are living well with only rare occasions of contact with man.

 

Best guide book for the Lake Superior Circle Tour:  Lake Superior Travel Guide published by Lake Superior Magazine was invaluable to us.   Except for minor details, the guide was very accurate, had great advice for dining, sightseeing, and activities, and was our constant companion on the road.

Another source we referred to throughout our trip was Mike Link and Kate Crowley’s book Going Full Circle which was an inspiration to us. It reflected the couple’s determination and compassion for Lake Superior’s people and the lake’s environs, and their  tale of actually walking around the lake (1,550 miles in 143 days) made us truly appreciate their journey as we trekked our 1,558.9 miles in ten days by driving  from July 29 to August 7, 2013.

 

Best thought to summarize our Lake Superior Tour:  “The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God.  Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature.”—Anne Frank

 

 

 Land and water create an evening serenity as one gazes towards Sibley Peninsula and

Sleeping Giant Provincial Park on Lake Superior’s north shore.

   

We don’t fit the description of being afraid, lonely, or unhappy, but we can identify with those who are, and we felt the immense pleasure and peace of being with nature along the shores of the world’s largest freshwater lake. We are happy, Lake Superior!    

 

                

Date: Sunday, 11 August 2013 Author: Mike Link
Sunday, 11 August 2013
Our Mississippi River adventures continue, over 1100 miles now done, but we have enjoyed every talk we have given about our walk around the lake and we are open to scheduling more presentations if any of you know groups that would like to bring us in.

In the meantime check out our Full Length Mississippi website and Facebook page. 
Date: Sunday, 11 August 2013 Author: Mike Link
Doing the Mississippi, but looking for speaking engagements.
Our Mississippi River adventures continue, over 1100 miles now done, but we have enjoyed every talk we have given about our walk around the lake and we are open to scheduling more presentations if any of you know groups that would like to bring us in.  We have now done 107 presentations in MN and WI. 

In the meantime check out our Full Length Mississippi website and Facebook page.
Date: Friday, 22 March 2013 Author: Mike Link
Full Length Mississippi this year.
Kate and I will be starting our Mississippi River travels March 23.  Go to http://fulllengthmississippi.org and our Full Length Mississippi Facebook page to learn more and follow our new adventure.

We start on a Paddlewheel and will continue to explore the river on different vessels throughout the year.

Our planned start at Itasca has been halted by 2 feet of snow and 40 inches of lake ice, but we will get up there when it clears out.  There will be a lot to share this year. Get a summary of the adventure at
http://eclectictravelers.blogspot.com/2013/03/it-begins.html
Date: Friday, 15 February 2013 Author: Mike Link
NorthEast Minnesota Book Awards