Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hope Springs Eternal

We're exhausted after a big day of exploring the Gunflint Trail, searching for Moose, and spotting eagles and hawks and grouse, oh my!  As I type, Terry is taking his well-deserved birthday nap while I sit in the sunny window seat in our room overlooking the ski hill and the Big Lake.  OH NO!  The sun is ssssslllloooowwwwly dipping below the hill........ :(

The day began with an early drive to Grand Marais for breakfast.
Look at that lovely lake!  Good morning, lake! :)

We went to the Blue Water Cafe...

...and started with hot chocolate -- did I mention it was 34 degrees when we hopped in the car??!?  The hot chocolate was so good, we sucked all the REAL whipped cream off the top before I could get a picture (surprise!!).
Birthday boy is smiling this morning!!!  Sugar shock?  Caffeine?? Hard to tell. Happy 34th Birthday, honey (again)!

Breakfast was fantastic!  Swedish pancakes with Lingonberries imported from Sweden.  A first time having Lingonberries for me -- trying new things is the best!  They taste a bit like cranberries...small, tart and delicious!  Did I mention, MORE REAL Whipped Cream?? :)  Birthday boy had a ham + cheese omelet with blueberry pancakes (his favorite!).  Life is good!

Bellies full, we drove up the Gunflint looking for some fun hikes.  Our first stop was at a spot where we could hike into a moose habitat.
Here's the snow I promised you!  Eeeeeek!  It's really around the corner, isn't it??

At the head of the trail was this very informative sign, all about spotting Moose.  I LOVE these naturalist signs the DNR posts on hiking trails.  They are hilarious!  As instructed, we put on our Moose Sleuth hats and began our search...

...and found a '55 DeSoto, instead.  No, I'm not that good at my car identification...there was actually a little wooden sign with the details.  Crazy!

We arrived at the habitat and sure enough, NO MOOSE! :(

But, we got some gorgeous pictures instead.  Fair trade.

We continued on along the Gunflint.  I wanted to drive all the way to the end because I had never been before, so we did.  It's a long drive!  But worth every second of it.

Our second stop was a hike into the 2007 Ham Lake wildfire area. Devastating, and yet after four years, hope is alive in the form of... pine trees!  Go, little guys, go!

To give you an idea of how much work those little jack pines have ahead of them...
...incredible.  Gives new meaning to the word "tenacity".

There are days when I wish I wore a pedometer -- the map said the trail was 3 miles round trip but I swear it was 3 miles there and 3 miles back.  It took us forever to get to our destination...The Magnetic Rock!

From down the trail, at first view it looked like a Stonehenge type formation, but of course, it is only one rock (can't even imagine how cool Stonehenge's on the bucket list!).  It is noted to have a strong magnetic attraction...but of course, we'll have to take their word for it since we didn't bring a compass or magnet or anything else we could test it on.  I tried meditating near it to see if I could sense anything different but all the shaking I was doing was because the temps were still in the 30's!

To give a little perspective on how big it is, can you see little itty bitty Country Mouse taking a picture??

We hiked double-time back to the car because we were getting hungry...
...and drove all the way back into town (about 45 minutes) for a quick lunch at the infamous Sven & Ole's and visited a couple of shops before heading back to Lutsen.

We never did take our Moose Sleuth hats off, so even though we never saw a real moose, we did manage to find some moose tracks outside of the Sivertson Gallery!
Close enough!//

What's For Dinner Tonight?
For this evening's celebration, we're heading to Tofte to Bluefin Bay where we spent our honeymoon eleven years ago.  Near and dear to our hearts...

Have a great night!

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