Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Oh Canada

I guess it's time to blog again. I took a little time off from the blog and did a bit of traveling. I hadn't been to Canada in many years and the last time was probably canoeing in the boundary waters near Crane Lake in the 70's. Unless you count a trip to Montreal for a Cray User Group meeting back in the nineties. Anyway, since it's spring here, I expected the weather to be similar in the land north of Grand Marais. The Girl From the North Country (GFTNC) and I decided on a road trip to Thunder Bay and side trip to some Provincial Parks in Ontario near the north end of Lake Superior. I had never crossed the border at Grand Portage before. There is a National Monument there and a Native American casino. We visited both before crossing into the great country of Canada.  The casino was busy, lots of people sullenly watching their nest eggs disappear in a smoky room full of video machines.  The National Monument was less busy, but quite a bit more picturesque. They've rebuilt some of the structures and the fence for the benefit of tourists and it was interesting to view.

Here is a view in the reconstructed fort at Grand Portage National Monument.

Just before crossing into Canada there is a Minnesota state park - Grand Portage State Park with the highest waterfall in Minnesota, High Falls at 120 feet. It's quite a bit higher than Minnehaha Falls and with a lot of water falling over the edge it makes a dramatic sight. There is about a quarter mile hike to the falls, but there were a few other folks who were there that sunny day.  It's worth the hike.

A shot from the viewing area of High Falls in the Pigeon River on US-Canada border.  That's Canada on the far side.

Then it was off across the international border to Canada and the half hour drive to Thunder Bay.   It's surprising to me that there are actually productive farms and fertile farm land north of the boundary waters canoe area of northern Minnesota.  I thought that Crane Lake was a jumping off point where the world dissolves into wilderness.  But it's not true.  There are farms and large communities in Canada including Thunder Bay, which has 110,000 people living there.

There is a water front park along Lake Superior in Thunder Bay, filled with sculptures, park benches and a nice marina.  There were teenagers working on their skateboarding skills in the park.  I took a photo of an interesting Thunder Bay water front sculpture called Traveller's Return.  It looks a little like silvered water droplets.

The signature feature across the bay from Thunder Bay is the set of high hills that are part of Sleeping Giant Provincial Park.  The shape of the hills is said to resemble a giant lying on his back sleeping.  I took this photo from the water front park towards the east.

This was the start of the mini-vacation to Thunder Bay. I'll finish up the account of the trip in the next couple of days when I have a little more time.

In the meantime, I'm back at home and back playing tennis again after a ten day rest from the wars.  We (the cadre of codgers) had a couple of sets of tennis again today at Marie Park.  It was nice to be back on the courts with competition in the air.


Santini said...

Hei -- or I guess it should be 'hey.' Welcome back, especially with the new fodder for the blog. I like that whole sleeping giant thing. Michigan has a sleeping bear dune, but I could never see it.

Lots of good stuff in this post -- the waterfalls are pretty, the reconstructed fort looks interesting.

Some of the Hansen's headed north to Canada in the early immigration, though I don't know where. But there's likely family there somewhere.

Mrs. Smith said...

Welcome back to blogging. I was wondering where you were and am happy you had a good trip to Canada. Beautiful waterfalls!