September 15th, 2022:
A steady rain pounded on the Gooseberry Trailside Suite on Thursday morning. I took this as a sign to sleep in until ten and enjoy relaxing in the lakeside condo.
I enjoyed solitude and quiet, taking time to think as I looked out the window at Lake Superior until just after eleven a.m.
The sun peeked through the clouds and the rain lifted. I packed my day bay and headed out for another jam packed day of adventure!
After studying the map I decided to head north on Highway 61 to Tettegouche State Park. Like Gooseberry Falls, Tettegouche straddles Lake Superior and offers fantastic access to backcountry waterfalls and scenic views.
As I drove north, I stopped for gas in the community of Beaver Bay.
Highway 61 is lined with scenic ‘waysides’ – turnouts with great lake views. I took advantage to pause every few miles and take in the view.
As I drove through the town of Silver Bay, I noticed a sign ‘Scenic Vista’ sign directing me several miles off the main road, up a bluff. After parking my car I followed the short path through a gorgeous lush forest of birch and evergreen.
The path offers three vista points, including incredible views of Silver Bay and the hills of Sawtooth Mountains, Palisade Head to the northeast. I definitely recommend this twenty minute scenic diversion. The trail is fairly flat so it is easy to navigate if you want to avoid steps/incline.
Arriving at Tettegouche State Park, the clouds rolled in, but I wasn’t going to let a little rain get in the way of scenery.
I spoke with the park ranger, who recommended I focus on one of the four waterfall hikes. She explained that to reach High Falls there would be several hundred stairs and it was a three mile roundtrip hike.
The other option she recommended was the Cascade Hike – which is around 1.5 and cuts through thick forests. The trail follows The Baptism River, leading you to breathtaking backcountry cascades.
I opted for the latter given the impending rain storm. Hopefully I can hike High Falls on a return trip.
The hike to Cascade descends down several steps underneath the main bridge into the forest. The forest of the north shore is lush and shimmered in the fresh rain with shades of brilliant greens, yellows and muddy red browns.
The first portion of the hike follows The Baptism River from its mouth at Lake Superior. I often pray when I hike and found myself meditating on the concept of ‘baptism’ – a cleansing and renewal. This trip has definitely renewed my spirit with the fresh air and awe-inspiring scenery.
The trail does get tougher as you progress. I found it moderate as a veteran hiker, however as someone recovering from a herniated disc I did have to carefully scale a few of the rocks and chasms leading to the falls.
I definitely recommend wearing good hiking boots as these trails get muddy – even a tiny bit of rain leads to a slush pie of slippery rocks and mud. While I didn’t have my hiking stick – it doesn’t hurt to scale the last few feet of hard-scramble leading to the falls.
After my hike I stopped by the gift shop to purchase a few souvenirs then headed back south to the Gooseberry area.
It was just after four o’clock and I was hungry for a good meal. Taking advice from locals, I decided to dine at The Rustic Inn.
Located in the Gooseberry vicinity, this popular eatery in the small community of Castle Danger features world-famous pies.
Luckily when I arrived there was no wait and I was seated at a table near the bar.
The rustic inn is in fact a rustic woodsy lake cabin lodge with views of Superior in the distance. Constructed in 1927, it was converted into The Rustic Inn Cafe in 1988 and has been a North Shore staple ever since. It also has a funky north country inspired gift shop.
The Rustic Inn serves mouthwatering breakfast, lunch and dinner – but is the go to for it’s pie selection.
I have celiac disease and am on a gluten free diet so I was over the moon to see that The Rustic Inn offers two gluten-free pies – made with delicious meringue crust.
I knew I need to save my appetite for dessert – so I opted for a fresh salad with oranges and blueberries, topped with grilled chicken and pomegranate dressing. I usually don’t like dressing, but this was to die for!
I finished the raspberry pie in minutes – good thing I burned so many calories hiking 🙂
After dinner, I drove to Two Harbors to grab a few groceries before finishing my day at Gooseberry State Park’s Lake Superior beach picnic access.
I will be on to my next adventures up the coast tomorrow, but the memories of Gooseberry, Tettegouche and Two Harbors will stay with me forever.