Two weekends ago our family was able to spend a little time along the North Shore. For non-Minnesotans, that is the north shore of Lake Superior. When looking at a map, it really seems to be more the west shore of Lake Superior, but for some reason, unknown to me, we call it the North Shore. Can any of you Duluthians tell me why it is called the North Shore?

We visited Tettegouche State Park, getting there just before lunch. After hiking about 15 minutes we found a beautiful overlook at the start of Shovel Point. Another couple was just finishing up eating as we arrived. As they moved on, we settled into our usual picnic lunch of summer sausage, chips, baby carrots, apple wedges and juice boxes.

We had been munching about 3 minutes when my husband noticed we had a visitor. It never ceases to amaze me that the squirrels in protected wildlife areas are so much more tame than the squirrels in my own back yard. I guess it makes sense, as there are not numerous people sitting in my yard eating food everyday, leaving behind crumbs and purposely throwing out snacks. But I still find it to be an oxymoron to find tame wildlife in the wild, and wild wildlife in my suburban neighborhood.

I know that Funyuns and potato chips are not healthy food for red squirrels. They really aren’t very healthy for people, either. But he was so cute, we just couldn’t help but leave him some. When he came across a tiny piece of chip, he quickly ate it. But the apple wedge was grabbed up and whisked off down the boardwalk.

A minute or so later, he was back looking for more. This time, he found the Funyun. He took a nibble, then decided that should be whisked off, too. We were done with our lunch so took off after him, trying to see where his cache was. We saw him zip up into an evergreen, then jump back down and disappear deeper into the woods.

Upon close inspection of the evergreen,
this is what we found about five feet up!

Hopefully he remembers where he put it before someone else comes along to enjoy it! The next day, while driving home in a soft rain, I wondered about the Funyun, hoping it had been enjoyed before the rain melted it away.

This made me think of Matthew 6:19-20:  “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

Rambling Roads

My son and I went down to Chaska this morning for some mini-golf. It was a bit of a drive (40 minutes), but since he has class in Excelsior this afternoon (I am at the Excelsior library as I write, enjoying my forced free time!), which is 45 minutes from home, in the same general direction, the excursion worked.

The road leading from home to the course zips past a municipal airport, giving glimpses of far-off hills, with nothing in between them and the runways. Suddenly, the left-side of the earth drops away, and we are stunned. “Oh, look, Mom – my favorite place!” Dipping in graceful arches above the valley floor, and twisting thrillingly over meadering waterways with little flags celebrating their highest peaks, the Wild Thing, Highroller and Renegade greeted us like familiar friends. Valley Fair.

It really was quite a sight. I had always figured that the amusement park must be in a valley, due to its name, but I had never seen if from this side before. The valley was quite large, and really quite beautiful, though a bit marred, or enriched, depending upon whether you are me or my roller-coaster-obsessed son, by the park.

From mini golf to Excelsior, we ended up on a free rollercoaster. What a blast! The highway had obviously been a horsetrack from at least a century ago, with hairpin turns, no shoulders and rusty guard rails tilting into the abyss on either side. There was no need to go above the posted speed limits to get some good tummy tickles and side squashes. Well, I think I did take the 15 mph hairpin at about 18, but they weren’t kidding about needing to take the next curve at 35!

Since we had a little extra time, we drove the several mile stretch three times. Maybe this will become a new detour on the way home from class. It sure is cheaper than the fair, and seems to bring just as many smiles!