We started the day 1/4 mile from the Canadian border at Grand Portage State Park. We had a beautiful sunny day and we wanted to see High Falls which at 120 feet is the tallest waterfall in Minnesota (first 2 pictures). The High Falls and other waterfalls and rapids upstream necessitated a historically important portage on a fur trade route between the Great Lakes and inland Canada (see below). The state park, held by the surrounding Grand Portage Indian Reservation and leased to the state of Minnesota for $1 a year, is the only U.S. state park jointly managed by a state and a Native American band.
Grand Portage National Monument (next 6 pictures) is located on the north shore of Lake Superior in northeastern Minnesota and preserves a vital center of fur trade activity and Anishinaabeg Ojibwe heritage. The Grand Portage is an 8.5-mile footpath which bypasses a set of waterfalls and rapids on the last 20 miles of the Pigeon River before it flows into Lake Superior. This path is part of the historic trade route of the French-Canadian voyageurs and coureur des bois between their wintering grounds and their depots to the east. We learned that the most valuable pelt when the Grand Portage was at its prime was the beaver pelt. It was used to make top hats in Europe.
The next two pictures are of a waterfall on the side of the road. This area has so many beautiful waterfalls! Our last stop was unplanned. Leslie found a brochure for the International Wolf Center that had a picture of wolf puppies on it. We took an alternate route to International Falls so we could go through Ely. The center is a research and educational organization that, in its own words, “advances the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future.” The center had some excellent displays and educational material. Leslie also got to see the puppies. She did not realize how lucky she was until they said that they only get puppies every 4 years. These two brothers are 12 week old arctic wolves and they were very active playing and already trying to establish dominance.