I just had the most spectacular trip. Can’t wait to show and tell you about it. (This will be a photo-heavy post!) But first, a huge thank you to all the new subscribers! It turns out my last post about my job with the Minnesota Twins has already become my most popular! Thank you for reading and jumping into the mix with us here. I look forward to hearing from you! Also, please give me your thoughts on the survey at the bottom!
I decided to get out of town this past weekend…
Fall colors were peaking up north. I packed up a couple bags, jumped in my car in quest of the ultimate leaf-viewing experience, and headed up to the North Shore of Lake Superior. It didn’t disappoint—I had a spectacular adventure.
One of my first stops was Split Rock Lighthouse. I climbed out onto the giant rocks, near the crashing waves, and captured one of my fav pics from the trip. Yes, the water was sooooo blue and as cold as you could imagine. It seemed like I was at the ocean, outside of time. (p.s. you can click on any photo to make it larger)
I knew I wanted to have an “experience,” something that would challenge me, and probably involve me being uncomfortable to some extent. My fire-making skills were put to the test, and worked 50% of the time. The other times, it was very, very cold. I also heard what I’m certain was a giant black bear checking me out in the night.
A highlight was checking out Lutsen Mountains—a popular ski resort. Since there wasn’t any snow yet, and some of the most spectacular views, they offer gondola rides up the mountain. The line was down the street, but well worth the wait to see this view of the Sawtooth Mountains from the summit. I also rode the Alpine Slide to get the thrill of careening down the side of a mountain on a tiny sled.
I highly recommend this next place in Grand Marais… they also had a line down the block. To experience a plain cake donut that tastes like a fluffy, yet substantial, glazed donut with just the right amount of crispness on the outside…really felt like it might be the world’s best. I went back the following day for further research, only to confirm my original findings.
Other food highlights include Venison Strip Loin (w/French prune purée, Perigord sunchoke seared foie gras, and currants at the fancy New Scenic Café just north of Duluth. It had delicious flavors but I could’ve used a big helping of mashed potatoes with it. I had to stop at World Famous Betty’s Pies for a slice of bumbleberry pie—a multi-berry double-crust pie featuring Betty’s signature flaky pie crust filled with a whole bunch of plump, delicious blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries. Should’ve got a scoop of vanilla. Next time! I had the best fish & chips ever at the Angry Trout Cafe in Grand Marais. What made ‘em so good? The fish was herring! For breakfast one morning, I had an amazing Viking omelette at the Blue Water Café — sausage, bacon, ham, and shredded cheese in a 3-egg omelette served with hash browns or fries, and toast. And please, when you visit, add a homemade buttermilk pancake for only $1 more.
The only time I felt slightly frightened was during an off-road hike I took on Saturday. I was exploring unpaved roads out in the country when I saw a sign saying “Eagle Mountain Overlook” — which sounded legit. The vertical incline of the hike promised a good view…but it just kept going. And there wasn’t another soul around. It was amazingly gorgeous, like God wanted JUST ME to experience this setting. But, I couldn’t help but think about bears… or twisting my ankle on a rock and not being able to crawl back to my car before freezing in the night. I turned around without finding the promised overlook. Still, got these pics…
I made sure to leave time on my drive back home to allow for as many stops along the way that I wanted. Every mile up and down Highway 61 has a sign with an arrow pointing to a Scenic View, Picnic Area, or State Park — and I still had a desire for more exploring. The most popular stop (for good reason!) is unquestionably Gooseberry Falls State Park. Great camping, trails, smooth rock lakeshore, and picnic sites…but it’s the series of waterfalls that is the main attraction. There were soooo many people there (I enjoyed airbrushing them out!).
Do you feel like you just went on my trip with me?
I hope so! There is so much to experience in our amazing world—so much to appreciate. And you don’t actually have to travel too far to see a completely different world than the one you experience every day. There’s tremendous value in getting away from the normal routine. For me, the chance to meet people from all over the world is one of the best parts of travel. But also, being immersed in nature awakens my senses, helping me to be more aware of the incomparable beauty right in front of me. When we take the same roads every day, it can be easy for complacency to set in. I don’t want to settle for “been there done that” kind of living—and need to recharge my senses from time to time. When I’m curious about what’s around the next corner, everyday becomes an opportunity for a new adventure.
On this trip, more than anything, I felt grateful. My curiosity and desire for adventure were awesome fuel to get me out of town. But the whole way I felt like God was guiding me along, nudging me with a “You see that?” or a “Look at that over there!”
My form of worship is entering into a process of saying “Wow, Thank You, and Look!” My first response to something beautiful is “Wow.” Then I say “Thank You” to God because I believe there’s got to be a loving source behind this and there’s no other name I can imagine using. After taking these photos, I can then invite you into the process by saying to you, “Look.” And then, if you’re willing, perhaps you can also say, “Wow, Thank You, and Look!”
What a trip.
My camera is a Canon EOS 60D. I also use my iPhone 13 Pro Max, and find that many of its pictures are my favorites. I process the photos on my Mac using Pixelmator Pro.
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This is so awesome! I'm glad you let me experience it with you. I'm sure you remember our camping time on the North Shore with the bear when we all, including the dog, ended up in the same sleeping bag‼‼ Thanks for sharing your amazing photography and stories💕💕
Wow! And Thank You for sharing. Thank God for this spectacular world we live in.
I have heard so many times from people since COVID that It has ruined their travel plans and ability to leave this country to see the things they want to see.
I say to them, Look! Look around you.. There are so many beautiful things and places that you have never seen right here in the USA. Plan a different trip. Just get out in nature wherever you are at the moment.
Beautiful trip Mark! You are a lucky man. I've never been that far North but you definitely make me want to plan something soon.