I hadn't been to Superior Shores since the northern Minnesota TRAM some years ago when we spent the last night of the bike trek in Two Harbors. It was a cool summer night when we came through, but this time it was 19 degrees and snowy. The big lake outside the hotel is clear of ice on this warmest of recent winters, but there was a layer of ice attached to the rocks which were just a few feet from shore. It's winter here now, and though we don't have much snow yet, there is plenty of cold wind and ice.
It was a good opportunity to visit Gooseberry Falls State Park about 15 miles north of Two Harbors. I was cold enough that I didn't expect to see many other souls out walking along the Gooseberry River, but I was surprised to see quite a few hardy folks outside, taking pictures and walking on the ice of the stream. There was a newly married couple, the bride still in white, walking to the river to have photos taken to commemorate their union. She looked cold and he looked sympathetic to her plight. There were photographers of all ages out to capture the mood of the day. And us.
We encountered an ice climber, well equipped with spiked boots, a couple of ice axes and a good quantity of ropes as he was about to attempt to scale one of the falls.
A panorama of three of the Gooseberry Falls - two of the middle Falls and the lower falls.
I add for postscripted fun, another fine example of the kind of benches that one can find in the state parks of Minnesota. This one overlooks one of Gooseberry River's five waterfalls.
The Australian Open tennis tournament opens tomorrow in Australia. It's the first of tennis' grand slam events of 2012.