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The perks of April showers

Well, we had a nice long run of sunny days, but the rain must come as part of the spring package. Looks like we are heading into a stretch of rain/ snow mix here for the next few days. As enjoyable as the clear blue skies and warm temperatures may be, the gloomy days that bring along precipitation are equally as important to the North Shore environment and can be appreciated for their own reasons.

Reason #1) Roaring waterfalls

The runoff from the melting snow combined with the rainfall raises the water levels and rapid speeds substantially. This time of year is great for touring waterfalls and there are tons of rivers in the area that provide these wondrous views.

Caribou Falls

Caribou Falls

I took this shot a couple weeks ago on a trip down the North Shore. The epic Caribou Falls is located just outside of the Cook County border and is definitely worth the 1/2 mile hike down the Superior Hiking Trail to check it out. I awoke to snow covered ground on this particular morning but it did not stick around for long. I took a group of guests down here for a tour on a more recent occasion during our streak of warm weather and the ice and snow was obsolete.

Gooseberry Falls

Gooseberry Falls

I visited Gooseberry that same day and walked the “Falls Views” loop. It was probably about a mile long and offered amazing views of the high, middle and low falls from all different perspectives. Great leg stretcher while driving up for a visit to Lutsen.

Reason #2) Fishing

The steelhead are running now and the determined fisherman are lining the mouths of the rivers awaiting that promising tug on the line.

Poplar River

Poplar River

The mouth of the Poplar River flows right into the shoreline in front of the main lodge here at Lutsen Resort. As the water warms up, the steelhead migrate from the big lake and go upstream the rivers to spawn. Following the spawn, they return back to the big lake and must pass through the mouths of the rivers, creating an ideal fishing hub. I have noticed many fisherman frequenting here recently and a young boy reported yesterday that he had a few catches. Another local fisherman said the day after a rainfall is prime time to get out and fish because the rain increases the run of the steelhead.

Upstream the Poplar River

Upstream the Poplar River

The rivers are very brown with runoff right now. This creates a noticeable contrast between the water close to shore and the water further out on the big lake. The brown color hugs the shoreline and then dissolves back into the original color of the lake about 30 feet out. I notice that the blue hue of the lake on a given day reflects the sky; this morning it was a gray/ navy blue color:

Shore line of Lake Superior

Shore line of Lake Superior

Reason #3) Alleviate drought

Rain is an essential asset to our ecosystem in order for the vibrant natural colors of the spring and summer foliage to come out. A kin to human beings, plants also need water to flourish and the lack of such lately rendered very dry grounds. So this rain is contributing to the life cycle of the North Shore in a positive way. I was down in Minneapolis this week right after a rain spell and came upon this blossoming tree. The streets were also lined with green grass:

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Spring in Minneapolis

It will only  be a matter of time until spring makes its way up here, and we also will be surrounded by pinks, greens and blues. Until then, we can only appreciate the inconsistent weather patterns for what they’re worth. As an old Minnesota proverb says:

“There is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing.”

 

 

 

 

An evening excursion around Temperance River

I took a group of guests out on an evening excursion along Temperance River on a recent clear and crisp Friday night. This spot along the Superior Hiking Trail is ideal right now because the snow has melted off the frozen falls revealing the intricate ice formations.

Bird's eye view of the hidden falls

Bird’s eye view of the hidden falls

I did not make it to Temperance at all this winter, so it feels good to be back leading tours there because it is such a beautiful area. I enjoy looking at the variety of lichen, moss, and fungus that grow on the rocks. The combination of the green, orange, and brown hues with the bit of white snow left over juxtaposed with the dark rock creates a natural masterpiece of art.

Frozen cascade

Frozen cascade

The running water underneath the frozen cascades is visible as well, producing a flitting effect. Hearing the river flow again is very refreshing after the winter; sure sign of spring. The sun light shining through the trees as it goes down for the evening illuminates all of the different colors of the forest and produces a glistening effect on the ice, snow and water.

Upstream

Upstream

I shared this experience with seven other guests of Lutsen Resort. One couple had been to Temperance before, last winter, but said this time was a “totally different experience.” I have noticed that myself; no matter how many times I have walked the same path, each hike renders a unique perspective or observation. The way the sun is shining, the time of day, the company, whatever it may be makes every tour memorable in a different way.

My enthusiastic group of hikers

Our enthusiastic group of hikers

One of my favorite aspects of the Temperance River hike is that the trail goes on both the inland side and the lake side, so guests get to see a little bit of both worlds. The sunset colors over the lake offer a mesmerizing sight, and one can only look forward to the stargazing that is guaranteed with the nightfall of these clear skies.

Sunset over the lake

Sunset over the lake

Throughout my time here, I have lead morning, afternoon, evening, and night tours and I tell you, every hour of the day offers unforgettable views that you just won’t find anywhere else. A breath of fresh air and a picture of new scenery feeds and rejuvenates the soul- always worth your while.

Welcoming the new season

Happy spring everybody! To kick off the new season, we are delighted to welcome you to our new blog. The purpose of this blog is to inform you of the latest and the greatest activities, events, and scenery in Lutsen and surrounding areas in a narrative form. Sharing pictures and stories will hopefully provide you with the feeling of a year round experience at Lutsen Resort from your home. Each season comes with different activities that you may not be aware of, and sharing these various opportunities may spark a visit that is out of the ordinary.

The spring weather came earlier than we had expected, especially after the long winter from last year, but there is still quite a bit of activity going on. At this point, we have the option to participate in both winter and spring activities. However, the weather patterns are unpredictable at this point; a heavy snowfall could be a game-changer. Keep an eye on the weather so you can plan accordingly.

As far as what we can do with the little bit of snow left,  the continuation of Onion River Road of the Sugarbush cross country ski trail system is still being groomed for skate skiing. I was actually out last night skate skiing and it was the best skate I’ve had all year. Outside of that, I would not recommend skiing due to open spots and dangerous conditions.

Onion River Road, Sugarbush Ski Trail

Onion River Road, Sugarbush Ski Trail

Thanks to the hard working snow makers up at Lutsen Mountains, the base at the ski hill is thick enough for the conditions to hold up for another few weeks. This makes for a legitimate spring ski vacation that is not too far away.

Moose Mountain

Moose Mountain

Border cross track on Mystery Mountain

Border cross track on Mystery Mountain

As for the upcoming forecast, we are expected to get a few inches of snow mid week, which could shape up the conditions and extend our winter activities.

On the flip side, if you are looking to switch gears and dive into the spring activities, sections of the Superior Hiking Trail closer to the lake are open for hiking, but be cautious of icy and or muddy spots. These trails take you along rivers, such as Cascade and Temperance, and offer mesmerizing views of frozen waterfalls and the refreshing sound of running water.

The paved Gitchi Gammi bike trail is open this time of year for biking and running, but again, be careful of snowy and icy sections. The trail section on our area starts in Lutsen and winds down along Lake Superior, through Tofte and Temperance River State Park and ends in Schroeder.

Gitchi Gammi Bike Trail

Gitchi Gammi Bike Trail

Our Frisbee golf course is free of snow and the grounds are surprisingly dry enough to play a round or two of disc golf; it is a bit early yet to start golfing. Seems like just yesterday we put the discs away for the season and now it’s already time to start pitching again!

Pitch and Putt Course at Lutsen Resort

Pitch and Putt Course at Lutsen Resort

Now that the ice has melted from the shoreline, people are starting to pick rocks again. This is the time to get down there and find those prize agates and other unique stones that were washed up during the winter. In the evening hours, you can sit down and keep warm by a campfire on the beach where you can also gaze at the beautiful starry sky.

Beach at Lutsen Resort

Beachfront at Lutsen Resort

The wonderful thing about recreating in the Midwest, is that we have the opportunity and gear to find or create a way to be active outside year round. On the North Shore, we are lucky to be surrounded by a diverse environment that offers endless activities, in all weather conditions.

Regardless of your personal interests, Lutsen can provide you with a memorable experience that caters to your preferences at anytime of day, during anytime of year.