Jill and John spend Two Lovely Days at the North Shore of Lake Superior
June 17th to June 19th,
Written by John
We were camping with Jerica at Split Rock Lighthouse Campground two
years ago when our mission call came, and Julie read it to us over the
phone. We haven't been up to the North Shore since then, so after we
got our kitchen mostly fixed up, Jill asked, "When are we going up to
the North Shore again?" One more little project need to be completed
(the Tacoma's brakes) then we were ready to go. So on Monday the 16th
of June we packed up the truck. We got up early the next morning and
decided to try Gooseberry Falls Campground. We arrived about 10:00 AM and found that there were
several sites available. In looking at the map we thought site 61 would
be nice, but those camping there had not left yet. Out of several
others available we decided we would try site 69. Just as we were
leaving the office a couple came to the window and said they were
vacating site 61.We immediately returned to the window and switched our
campsite, and were especially glad we could do so after the couple lauded the merits of site 61
considerably. We felt very blessed that the timing worked out like it
did, especially once we got to the campsite and found it to be very
beautiful and isolated.
immediately set about pitching our tent. We recently got a new truck
tent that attaches to the truck, giving an extra room and storage area
to the tent. After fixing and eating lunch in the hot noon sun, John
decided we needed the gazebo to protect us from the hot sun. In the
picture at the right smoke from the fire can be seen wafting above the
tent. Jill planned chicken, potatoes and carrots for supper. Usually we
cook this in the Dutch oven over charcoal, but John decided to try it
over the coals from the firewood. Surprisingly, he got it too hot and
some of the carrots burned. Nevertheless, the meal was delicious. John
continued using coals from the fire and had trouble on subsequent times
getting enough heat. Though they brought a bag and a half of charcoal,
they didn't use any of it. It will take some more experimenting with
coals to consistently get the right amount of heat. John will
continue to work on that.
south from our campsite is a beautiful hill as seen on the
left. The trail goes up over the hill and down to Lake Superior.
At the right Jill is sitting at the top of this hill looking over our
campsite. She perhaps thinks she's the queen of the world (at least
this portion of the world), but we later found out that we were guests
of others that own this area of the world. Read on.
At the right you can see one of the three presidents of site 61.
On the fire pit ring we found the word "MONKEY" written with a burnt
stick. Jill guesses it referred to this little chipmunk and should have
been spelled Munkey. Another of the presidency was a little red
squirrel, and the third was a little groundhog. They were all pretty
friendly, and Munkey was coaxed into eating pieces of Dutch oven
biscuits from my hand. Click on the picture to see a video of this.
After taking the crumb he ran away to safety to eat it. After a while
he became a bit more comfortable and stayed right at my hand to chew
As far as owning the campsite, on Tuesday afternoon we went to the lake
and hiked around a bit. When we returned we found that one of these
furry creatures had gotten into our food crate, chewed a hole in a
baggie containing rice for one of our meals, and spilled it all over
the place. He probably didn't even like it! Fortunately, Jill had
brought plenty of food, and left-overs were used for the meal instead.
didn't bring any ice with us, and when we went to buy some at the
office, they were closed. So the next best thing to a refrigerator is
Lake Superior. Here Jill is sitting next to the lake with a couple of
our leftovers chilling down before being stowed for the night.
have had a bad heel on my right foot for a few months now. I determined
it is probably Plantar Fasciitis from things I've read. One of the
treatments for this is soaking your foot in Lake Superior. John found
that this superior treatment gave him quite a bit of relief. Actually
the treatment is icing the foot, but Lake Superior's cold temperatures
(max of 40F along this stretch) does a pretty good job. I am using this little bay
to find a temperature a little warmer than the 40F, which is a bit
too cold to hold my foot in for the recommended 20 minutes. Notice the
hiking stick I'm holding which Jill picked out for me. I found that it
helped by relieving a little pressure to my heel. It also gave my
triceps a bit of a workout.
my foot feeling a lot better we were able to go on some hikes around
the area. In the map here the campground is in the bottom right. Our
first hike took us to the lake just right of the campground then north
to the river, on the trail up to the visitors' center and back to the
campground. The next day we hiked up to Fifth Falls (top left on map).
is a view of the lower falls from the trail along the river. The bridge
above the falls includes the highway for traffic and a pedestrian
bridge for hikers and bicyclists.
our hikes we saw lots of flowers. Jill was impressed with the little
white flowers. These have four petals; some others had five. There were
also lots of wild roses around. Jill likes these and so do the bees, as
you can see.
is a view of the Fifth Falls and the bridge crossing the river just
above the falls. We crossed this bridge a little earlier from right to
left, having hiked up on the east side, then we returned on the west
side of the river.
also hiked to a cove that our family had been to several times over the
past 20 years as we have visited the North Shore. On the left Jill is
wondering what happened to the pebble beach that used to be larger. At
the right John is pointing to a submerged rock that used to stick out
18 inches or so, and which we used to wade out to then stand atop to
find momentary relief from the biting cold water. We found it hard to
be here at this cove without our children this time. We have fond
memories of this place and sharing it with our children.
our last night at Gooseberry Falls Jill wanted to see the moon rise on
the lake. John miscalculated the time a little and when they got up the
hill from their campsite this is what they saw. It was a beautiful
sight on the still lake.
was again a hard thing to leave Lake Superior, but our stay had ended
on the 19th. After a breakfast of blueberry pancakes in the Dutch oven,
it was time to pack up. The last things are the tent and the tarp,
which needed a little time to dry out. The weather had been perfect
while we were there: hardly a cloud on Tuesday and Wednesday, and only
a few rolling in on Thursday. The days were warm, but the nights were a
little cool. What more could you ask for? It was a perfect camping
trip. It was hard to leave and go home. We'll be back!