Saturday, August 31, 2013 Home

On the Water: Leech Lake, Minnesota

We’ve rented a pontoon for an afternoon on and in the water.

Our lake tour starts with a glimpse of the birds that hang out on Gull Island.
We see lots of loons along the way too.
A few dark clouds hang low on the horizon, but it is a beautiful day on the water, perfect for cruising the coast or jumping off the boat for a swim.  
The afternoon comes to an end both too soon and just in time – we pull into the marina under rapidly darkening skies.  
Soon the wind comes up with the approach of a late summer thunderstorm. It is a dramatic end to a lovely lazy day.

Next post: A Short Hike on the North Country Trail  
Previous post: From Trapper’s Landing to Whipholt Beach

End of Summer at Leech Lake
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From Trapper’s Landing to Whipholt Beach, Minnesota

It is a beautiful morning for a walk, so we are off on a little ramble between our lodge at Trapper’s Landing and Whipholt Beach.

Once we pass the marina that serves Trapper’s Landing, the path takes us through the woods to the tiny lakeside settlement of Whipholt.  
While describing this as the “Whipholt Beach Business District” seems a bit optimistic, it does look like a pleasant place to spend the summer. .  especially if I could snag one of those cabins that seem to hang right above the water.
We keep walking until we reach a long, broad beach on the other side of town – a perfect escape on even the hottest of days!   
What more could one ask of a little lake town?

Next post: On the Water
Previous post: Leech Lake from Our Patio

End of Summer at Leech Lake

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Friday, August 30, 2013 Home

Leech Lake from Our Patio, Minnesota

Friends of ours have a spot at Trapper’s Landing, a resort on the shores of Leech Lake, and we have been invited to join them for the weekend.

This is the view from our patio: 
I absolutely love it.

Next post: From Trapper’s Landing to Whipholt Beach

End of Summer at Leech Lake

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Thursday, August 29, 2013 Home

Photo Thursday: Hay Bales, North Dakota

Summer is rapidly coming to an end in the Upper Midwest, as was obvious from the number of bales scattered about the North Dakota countryside last weekend. 
This is my contribution to Travel Photo Thursday at Nancie's Budget Traveler's Sandbox. Head on over and see what she's posted this week and then follow the links to images from around the world.

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013 Home

Fort Ransom (the fort), Ransom County, North Dakota

In 1867 a fort was constructed in southeastern North Dakota to protect the overland route between Minnesota and Montana. Named for Major General Thomas E. G. Ransom, the fort consisted of twelve buildings protected by a dry moat. It was dismantled just five years later and the materials were re-used in the construction of a fort in Jamestown to protect a river crossing used by the Northern Pacific Railroad.

Today all that marks its location on the rolling plains of Ransom County are mounded soil, a few foundations, and simple signs indicating the location where each building once stood. 
Despite the surrounding fields, it is still a pretty lonely spot.

The Fort Ransom State Historical Site is located along the Walt Hjelle Parkway about a mile north of CR 58 and about 2 miles southwest of the city of Fort Ransom.

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Monday, August 26, 2013 Home

Nearly Closed Roads, Ransom County, North Dakota

The friend we are visiting has been taking us on a tour of the area she considers home.

Among the highlights she wants to show us is a road that appears run right into the water until, at the last minute, you see the turn that takes the road around the pond rather than into it.

She thinks she remembers how to reach this spot and we see water across the road far ahead; or maybe it is mirage. We aren’t sure. Then we come to a sign perched along the side of the road announcing “ROAD CLOSED” in big black letters.

We confer. The sign isn’t actually blocking the road and section of road visible beyond looks perfectly fine. We continue on.

North Dakota had a wet spring this year, followed by a very dry summer. Clearly this road was under several feet of water only a few months ago and, even now, large numbers of wading birds have chosen this stretch of roadway as their private beach.
It is so quiet here. There are no human sounds at all, only the wind in the tree, the birds, and the frogs that plop into the water as I approach.

And, yes, we continued on. The road really isn’t closed anymore.

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North Dakota

Grand Forks
Southeastern North Dakota
Fort Ransom (the fort), Ransom County (2013)


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Thursday, August 22, 2013 Home

Photo Thursday: Sunset over Sand Bay, Apostle Islands, Wisconsin

Every sunset is lovely if you can view it from a boat. At least, that’s how I see it!

For example: A summer sunset over Sand Bay in Wisconsin’s Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
This is my contribution to Travel Photo Thursday at Nancie's Budget Traveler's Sandbox. Head on over and see what she's posted this week and then follow the links to images from around the world.

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013 Home

Memorable Travel Moments: First Snowfall in the Black Hills, South Dakota (2000)

The same trip that brought me to Old Faithful in October included a stop in South Dakota's Black Hills.    

Despite living only a state away, I’d never been to the Black Hills. Thus, even though it was late in the day when we reached Rapid City, I refused to stay there for the night. I wanted to spend the night in the hills themselves.

The sun dropped below the horizon almost before we reached the other side of the city and it wasn’t long before I could feel the road climbing in the darkness.

Then the snow began.

Heavy fat flakes coated the road and obscured my view. Trees crowded the narrow twisting road, huddling together as if for warmth. My husband was right: We should have stayed in Rapid City. But now we were too far along to turn back, so we continued along the slippery twisting road in search of a place to stay. We finally came to a couple of hotels that were still open this late in the season. With limited choices and the snow still surrounding us like a fluffy white blanket, we quickly chose one and ate a really nice dinner at the neighboring restaurant before collapsing into bed for the night.

The next morning dawned grey and cloudy, but it revealed a fairyland of frosted trees and white-capped outcrops. It was gorgeous and, despite the evening’s snow, completely unexpected. Somehow it had never occurred to me that the snow that fell during the night would leave the world lightly frosted by morning. Nor had it occurred to me that the Black Hills are actually MOUNTAINS! 
 It would have been beautiful in any case, but the unexpectedness of it all made it absolutely magical.

Wine and Cheese at Old Faithful 

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Monday, August 12, 2013 Home

The Gardens of Leif Ericson Park, Duluth, Minnesota

Canal Park and the Lakewalk in Duluth are familiar to all visitors to the city as they provide an opportunity to get up-close and personal with Lake Superior just steps from some of the city’s busiest hotels and restaurants.

But the Lakewalk also takes visitors out of downtown along the lake shore. High above the shore, it provides great views of the harbor and the city’s signature lift bridge as it winds past art and plantings before running into the beautiful gardens at Leif Ericson Park.     
While formally identified as a rose garden, the park includes a number of gardens – all with views back to the harbor -- making it a beautiful place to visit at any season.
When I visited in mid-July it was too early in the season for most of the roses, but the peonies were in full bloom.
Of course, if you get tired of flowers, you can always spend your time watching the ships move below the lift bridge in and out of the harbor. 
The gardens are located north of downtown at 13th Avenue E. Parking is readily available.

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