Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day in the North Country

The NCW and I spent our Memorial Day holiday in the north.  Everything is a little different here. The vegetation is somewhat behind southern Minnesota and the economy is different.   Memorial Day is an important holiday here like it is elsewhere, and here a lot of the names on the gravestones are familiar. Names of parents of classmates and, more and more, the names of the classmates themselves.  The Coleraine cemetery is well maintained and flowers festooned most of the graves.   NCW and I visited the resting places of some familiar names. It's a peaceful place, quiet and full of reminders of lives now finished. Some of the flowers and monuments were quite touching. Memorial Day is supposed to cause one to remember.

Nothing says north country quite like a stand of aspen trees as they turn in their winter clothes ( or lack thereof) for spring green leaves. This stand was not far from Calumet. Not only are the trees coming back to life, so are the wood ticks, but that's another story.

NCW and I stopped at the Hill Annex State Park in Calumet to see the very large hole in the ground. It's Memorial Day, one of the big holidays of the year, and the park was closed.  Not yet open. Looking through the padlocked gate I saw this truck, a memory from my youth.  There were big trucks, Ukes, that carried ore out of the open mining pits.  This may have been a forerunner to the really big ones I remember.  The inner tubes from the trucks were ubiquitous at swimming beaches. They made a cheap and reliable raft to swim to on hot afternoons. You don't see many huge inner tubes any more. You don't even see very many normal size ones.

We took a walk along the Mesabi Bike Trail which passes by the state park to see if we could get a look at the now closed mine.  I understand that the 2013 TRAM will pass through here sometime in July.

On the Iron Range one can encounter these large rocks that look all the world like they may be iron bearing. I can't really tell, but I have my suspicions.


Somewhere behind the locked gates of the state park we ran across this old gatepost with pretty white spring flowers growing around it.

We were able to get a look at the open pit mine, but it took a hike past the gates to where the local teen-agers (one supposes) cut the fence to get a better look at the scenic vista.  That story and the photos will be saved for another day.  State parks should be open on Memorial Day.


Retired Professor said...

OOTBPITHOP -- One of the best posts in the history of posts. Anyway, I knew before I clicked on the first photo what the enlarged version of it would show. A life that ended too soon -- we've seen a lot of those. Too many, it seems.

I really do hope to visit that area myself sometime soon. It looks like you two found a great way to spend a day -- including the day set aside to honor those whose lives also ended too soon, in service to this country. Way too many of them, also.

The Ukes were huge, a tire being as tall as a man, if I remember correctly.

Nice jog. Love to NCW.

Retired Professor said...

Not jog, blog.....


Jimi said...

Thanks, RP. It was a pretty nice day on the Range and I was happy to share some highlights.

I know that you are very welcome to visit the Range and there is a nice place by the lake where you'd find a lot of Range hospitality. I assume that you won't be partaking of the 2013 TRAM through Calumet, but there are some nice views in the that area of very large man made gouges in the earth. Familiar territory in many ways, but economically challenged..