Escape from Moose Mountain
Every time The H and I plan a trip involving Duluth something goes horribly wrong, which is a shame since we get really excited about the Superior Hiking Trail. There were two beautiful week-ends in October with weather in the 60s but we couldn’t go because of our stupid jobs, so we made plans for the first week-end in November. The H set up reservations at a cute bed and breakfast, The Cascade Lodge, in Lutsen and we both took off Friday. On Thursday the temperature dropped, by Friday morning it began to snow. But the air was crisp and it was kind of romantic. We threw our bags in the car and headed north.
On the way up we stopped at a cute little cafe, The Vanilla Bean, for grilled cheese and tomato soup, reaching Lutsen around 3:00. We had just enough time before dark to take a quick walk to scout out the trail we’d be taking the next day. For dinner we drove back down Highway 61 to My Sister’s Place, purportedly The Best Place To Eat In Grand Marais. The decor was fun, a mix of progressive bumper stickers and animal skins. I ate a gigantic chili dog, which is kind of out of character – The H and I are not health nuts, but we don’t generally eat huge servings of meat and I’m kind of obsessed with watching my salt intake. We learned from the waitress that it was the first week-end of deer hunting.
We headed back to the B&B thinking we would watch a Netflix on-line, but the advertised “free internet connection” was not quite up to streaming a movie. We checked our printed map which came from the Cascade River State Park website. It said, “The use of firearms, explosives, airguns, slingshots, seines, nets, bows and arrows and all other weapons are prohibited in state parks.”
In fact the big news from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources was:
Gypsy Moth Control Treatment
… If you have questions about the proposed treatment, please contact the Minnesota Department of Agriculture at 1-888-545-MOTH.
Great, all is well. We’ll avoid getting shot by staying on a trail inside the park. The map clearly showed which trails were in the park. We crashed early and in the morning were the first guests for breakfast at 8:01 am.
All bundled up with our hiking sticks and GPS locator we set off for Moose Mountain. We didn’t actually need the GPS but I want to practise using it in case we go on a bigger trip sometime. Also I had this great plan to put all the Waypoints onto my GoogleMap, but I can’t figure out how to correctly enter the latitude and longitude. I got all excited about setting up “My First Waypoint,” but then scrolled out and discovered I had put my icon near Ust-kamenogorsk, between Mongolia and Kazakhstan.
The trail was fairly easy, but interesting. We stopped at the waterfall for a bit. The water looks like rootbeer from the mineral deposits. A little ways on we saw two men ahead of us completely covered in bright orange gear and carrying very large rifles. We thought we must have gone the wrong way so we headed back on the trail. After consulting one of the posted trail maps we discovered that the map we had downloaded showed a different State Park area than reflected on the posted signs. We had been wandering out of the safe State Park area. We figured out a different trail and headed away from the border. I took off my orange undershirt and tied it around my neck (please don’t shoot me.)
About 20 minutes later we heard gunshots. REALLY LOUD GUNSHOTS REALLY CLOSE BY. We checked both maps again and realized that we were far into the State Park and that there must be people shooting deer inside those limits. As a person who has just recently been leaning towards supporting the second amendment I found this very frustrating – the freedom thing only works if everybody is follows the rules. Also, we were really close to the road and to cabins. I’m not usually one to throw around the “what about the children” argument, but in this case I was wondering about the kids staying nearby. And me. Did I mention me?
Basically we freaked out and headed down towards the river as fast as we could. We found a road and were walking on that when we heard even more shots and passed by a parking lot with several trucks with gun racks. We made it back to the lodge by 11:30. They kindly let us check out early for half-off the unused Saturday night and we high-tailed it out of Lutsen.
On the way back 61 we stopped at Betty’s Pies in Two Harbors and bought ourselves an entire pecan pie. We thought we could save our vacation by stopping in Duluth and checking out some antique shops and the used music store. But, like I said, we don’t have much luck in Duluth. By the time we got there the temperature had dropped again and there was this nice sleety rainy snow blowing horizontally. Plus, there are no free parking spots anywhere in Duluth and we hadn’t thought to bring a pound of quarters for the overpriced meters, and the closest parking lot was $10 and several blocks away. I ended up running into a restaurant to beg change from a bartender. We spent half an hour looking around Old Town Antiques and Books and The Electric Fetus then drove back as fast as possible to our nice cozy home in the suburbs. Next year we’ll check the hunting schedule. And maybe we’ll try out Wisconsin.
Have a tasty Thanksgiving!
Entry filed under: Hiking, Uncategorized. Tags: Cascade River State Park, deer season, gun control, Highway 61, Hiking, hunting, Lutsen, Minnesota, Moose Mountain, My Sister's Place, Vanilla Bean, weapons.