Two Harbors, Minnesota
Gooseberry Falls with Lake Superior in the far background
My cousin and I decided we needed a hiking trip when I was back in Minnesota, and her suggestion to head up I-35 to Duluth was met with enthusiasm by me. The Duluth area is special to her, and I had not spent much time along the North Shore of Lake Superior in years.
We ended up at Gooseberry Falls State Park, which allowed us to jump on the Superior Hiking Trail. The SHT runs along Lake Superior’s North Shore for 310 miles between Duluth and the Canadian border. We would hike 8-10 miles of it on this warm April day.
The Gooseberry River
We spent much of the hike within sight of the river. The Gooseberry flows 23 miles before it reaches Lake Superior. It was an incredible day for a hike, with temps in the mid seventies, which was warmer than the Twin Cities on this day.
I had hiked a good section of the SHT years ago, and it is a wonderful trail. Grouse were drumming all along the hike, and one flushed right next to my cousin, which was amusing to watch. How was I to know that she had no idea the bird was within a few feet of her?
The river provides five waterfalls within the park, and all are accessible by trail.
3/4 of the Frozen Foursome visited Minnehaha Park, making the short hike down to the falls. The park was established in 1889, when the city of Minneapolis bought the area on behalf of the State of Minnesota. At the time, only New York had established a state park. Currently, the park includes 170 acres.
Minnehaha Creek flows 22 miles from Lake Minnetonka to the Mississippi River, near Fort Snelling. The main attraction is the 53′ waterfall, which is the most photographed site in Minnesota. The name Minnehaha comes from the Dakota word for waterfall.
Minnehaha Falls was a favorite subject of early photographers, but the falls gained international fame in 1855 when Henry Wordsworth Longfellow published his celebrated poem, The Song of Hiawatha.
Hiawatha & Minnehaha statue alongside Minnehaha Creek
In the poem, Wordsworth tells the fictional tale of the Ojibwe warrior Hiawatha and his love for the Dakota woman Minnehaha. Wordsworth never visited the falls, but was inspired by Alexander Hesler’s daguerreotype of the falls.
Alexander Hesler’s daguerreotype of Minnehaha Falls, 1852
While out on a Minnesota River reconnoissance, we came across Minnemishinona Falls. Located along Judson Bottom Road, west of North Mankato, this 3 acre county park was a little, unexpected gem.
Until recently, the waterfall was on private land, but the Trust for Public Land helped Nicollet County purchase the site of the 42′ Minnemishinona Falls and its gorge.
The waterfall is viewed from a steel bridge that crosses the gorge. A copy of a 1908 postcard can be found on the bridge, with a photo of the falls at that time. Erosion has brought the falls from one side of the bridge to the other during the course of those 108 years.
Here’s a cool photo of a frozen Thunderbird Falls near Eagle River, Alaska. The pic is by Banan Tarr Photography out of Anchorage. His stuff is worth checking out, but I think one is forced to go on that facebook site to look at them.