09 August 2011

The Grand Tour

 The Straight-haired girl and I spent the weekend together. We talked, we painted our nails, we had a mini spa. It was our own little staycation, complete with several outings. The biggest, most grandest thing we did was take a boat ride out on Rainy Lake with the National Park Service. It was well worth the splurge!

We are somewhat of an anomaly up here. We don't hunt, we don't fish, and we don't have a boat. The first two we don't care about. The last one is on our wish list, but not a priority. I'm thinking it might need to become one. The more I am out on the lake, the more I fall in love with it.

Can you tell who is very excited about this adventure? We didn't even have to wear life vests, since The Voyageur is a Coast Guard certified vessel. There's Sha Sha in the distance.The resort is named for a chief of the sizeable Ojibwe settlement that was on the point during the time of the Voyageurs. Before E.W. Backus dammed up Rainy River at International Falls, people were walking across the lake between the point and what would become Rainy Lake City. After the dam went in, the lake level rose six feet.

When gold fever hit with the discovery of gold on Little American Island, Rainy Lake City was born. We learned that the commute (by boat) to Little America was a mile one way. They also hauled all the ore to Rainy Lake City to process it. All that's left is one little shed and Grand Avenue. It's overgrown and grass covered, but still evident because of the trees that line it.

Rainy Lake is huge. It's easier to gauge the size of the Great Lakes, because they are so very large. Most maps of the United States show the Great Lakes and how large they are. However, Rainy Lake wasn't on any of the maps I saw as a child, or at least I didn't recognize that it was. Compared to the lakes (more like puddles) I knew growing up it's halfway to ginormous!

The little gray strip in the photo above is Canada, by the way. It seems very far away from where we were sitting.

 We also got to see the last commercial fishing establishment on Rainy Lake, complete with ice house. (That's the building on the left.) Nearby was a bald eagle's nest, complete with fledgling. The baby was out hopping around on a branch just below the nest. There are thirty-seven pairs of bald eagles in Voyageur's National Park. It is near capacity at that number. Eagles need a lot of territory.

The Grand Tour is two and a half hours long and well worth it! We even got to take a little hike and talk to some interesting people before we docked at the Rainy Lake Visitor's Center.


  1. Oh wow what a fun trip! Did you find any gold, lol! Hopping over from HSBA Post!

  2. No gold, Kathy but I hear the streets of International Falls are paved with it. =)



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