On the way back to Ely, Rob and I visited the International Wolf Center in Ely, MN while Paul headed back to Wisconsin to prepare for his class the next day. The Wolf Center has a resident pack of wolves to which they feed roadkill from the surrounding area every Saturday night. Then we camped for free in a Superior National Forest rustic campground near Isabella. Since it only had three sites, I was a bit worried, but turns out no one was there except a couple of woodpeckers. We grilled up some Minnesota sweet corn and Zupps smoked bratwurst with cheese that oozed out when you cut it. So good after a long day of canoeing!
Back on the road the next morning, we headed to Duluth via the scenic route 61 north shore drive. We stopped at three state parks (Tettegouche, Split Rock, Gooseberry Falls) for short hikes and lake views. At Tettegouche, we hiked to Shovel Point and to the highest waterfall entirely in MN appropriately named High Falls.
Split Rock had some great views of the historic lighthouse. Gooseberry Falls provided viewpoints of the upper and lower falls as well as some neat history about the park construction by the CCC.
Upon arriving in Duluth, we visited the Army Corps of Engineers Maritime Museum, walked the lakefront and browsed the Duluth Pack factory store. Just as we were coming out of the store, we heard a ship horn and managed to run and see the Aerial Lift Bridge returning into place.
On the way out of town, we stopped at Fitger’s Brewery for a growler fill of their El Nino IPA (the Oatmeal stout was pretty tasty too, but the nitro tap couldn’t fill our wide mouth bottle). Rob and I ended up chatting with some Duluth residents who warned us to be prepared to harvest whatever roadkill we made on the way to Conover, WI. As we headed into the Dairy state, a brief pit stop at Culver’s for fried cheese curds and custard snack was necessary. Then the drive east on highway 2 took us into Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, which is funny because it’s on Eastern Time. Turning south in Watersmeet, we crossed back into Wisconsin and drove around Stormy Lake to meet Paul at the Spitzfaden lake house.