After a good night’s rest, it was back in the Jeep and off to Northern Minnesota. Northern Minnesota was as far east as we planned to venture due to the Covid-19 requirements for entering some states since for folk from California. We didn’t really think the requirements included those traveling by automobile, but we didn’t want to take any chances. There would be other years, years without a deadly, global pandemic, to travel across the entire country.
A full day of things to see and do was planned. This included a lot of time in the Jeep interspersed with several stops to stretch our legs, see some sights and hopefully get some good photos. Our first stop of the day was in Fergus Falls to see Otto, the 40-foot long otter squatting in Adams Park. Otto has squatted in the park for almost 50 years, built by local high school students in 1972 for the city’s centennial celebration. Even though the temperature was quite chilly, the pups had fun running around the park and we got some great pictures.
We said good-bye to Otto and headed to our next stop, an unscheduled stop at Battle Lake. We actually drove through the town at first, but decided we simply had to turn around and spend some time here. Battle Lake was beautiful and the fall foliage we found was absolutely perfect for pictures of the pups. We couldn’t pass up the chance to grab a picture or two of Chief Wenonga, standing tall as he looked out towards the lake. Battle Lake was the site of an Indian Battle in the 1790s.
We continued on to Lake Bemidgi, making a few stops along the way because the fall foliage was just too pretty not to photograph.
By Lake Bemidgi stood an 18-foot tall Paul Bunyan and his friend Babe, the blue ox. Paul Bunyan has stood here since 1937 when he was built for a winter carnival. Babe was added in 1939. Lake Bemidji provided a stunning backdrop for Paul and his friend, Babe. On a side note, we knew Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes, what we didn’t know is that legend says the lakes were made by rain filling Paul Bunyan’s footsteps as he explored the state. Pretty cool, huh?
We finished our day driving through the Chippewa National Forest. We stopped several times to admire the many shades of autumn. Needless to say we did several turn arounds, one of which was to stop and view the mouth (beginning) of the Mississippi River. Mom got a thrill out of this experience since she had the opportunity to see the Mississippi delta while attending a conference in New Orleans a couple of years ago.
After a fabulous, and tiring, day exploring Northern Minnesota, we made our way back to Fergus and our cabin for the next 2 nights. The cabin, named Gray Duck, was a pleasant surprise. Mom was actually ecstatic… the cabin was anything but what one pictures hearing the word “cabin”. The cement floors were heated, after all we were in Northern Minnesota, the kitchen was modern and very-well appointed, 2 lovely bedrooms, a great bathroom, gorgeous living room with windows from floor to ceiling and a gas fireplace. There was also an enclosed patio off the living room which ended up being my mom’s and the pups favorite place to hang out. Since it was dark when we arrived, exploring the outdoors had to wait until morning.
The next morning we headed out to find Sugarloaf Cove on Lake Superior. The drive to Lake Superior took us past awesome views of a beautiful autumn color palette. One of these picturesque views happened to be one of the many lakes of Minnesota, just down the road from our cabin. Of course we had to stop so I could, hopefully, capture the beauty in a photo.
A few minutes later, we were on our way to Lake Superior. Since this adventure was a last minute addition to our travel plans, we had no idea what to expect. To say we were not disappointed is an understatement. The walk to the lake’s edge was through a heavily wooded area crying out for a photoshoot with the pups.
When the water’s edge was reached, my mom was shocked to see a lake because it looked like the ocean! The pups had fun playing in the water and splashing about in the waves. The beach was more rocks than sand, but no one seemed to care. A little peninsula stretched out into the lake that everyone was excited to explore. The pups had a great time running through the trees on the peninsula and were well-behaved the many times I made them stop running to pose for pictures. We even traversed out to the rocky end of the peninsula to see what we could see. What we saw was water as far as the eye could see, surrounded by the yellows and oranges of fall.
Mom stayed back on terra firma to take pictures of the exploring escapades of myself and the pups. We spent much longer than anticipated exploring Sugarloaf Cove, but fortunately the only other activity planned for the day was to spend time enjoying and exploring the area around the cabin.
After exploring Sugarloaf Cove, I wanted to go check out a local waterfall. So we got back into the car and drove a few miles to Islip Falls. It was a gorgeous falls, but hard to photograph because we were at the top of the falls rather then the bottom. Which is always somewhat nerve wracking with the dogs. But they behaved while I explored and took some landscape photos. Before we headed back to the cabin.
Back at the cabin, I worked, Mom read on the patio and the pups slept. After everyone rested and got a second wind, we were ready to explore the backyard. There was a path down to a creek behind the cabin, unfortunately it was a bit too late to explore. I was a bit sad that I hadn’t planned for a longer stay here at the Gray Duck cabin. This only means another stay here is in our future, which I’ve already booked. Now after a tasty Italian dinner picked up at a recommended café and reading by the fire it was time to call it a night, for tomorrow we are off to Rapid City, South Dakota.