As we continued our way west through Minnesota, we continued to enjoy new experiences and wonderful people. After leaving the North Shore of Minnesota, we headed inland through the north.
On our first day, we drove through the Superior National Forest, a lush 3 million acre landscape that comprises much of the north east corner of the state. We opted to bypass the northeast corner, though a stop in Ely was originally on our list. We had a deadline to get to Bemidji to sign closing papers (more on that below).
To make up for the loss, we stopped to hike the quite overgrown Lookout Mountain Loop Trail. Though wild, it provided the feeling of really experiencing the Minnesota wilderness.
On our second day, we explored Itasca State Park, a park most known for being home to the long sought after Mississippi Headwaters!
Like Cass and Beltrami before us, we ventured to this seemingly magical spot for our own glimpse of the birth of the mighty river…and crossed it in about 10 paces!
With limited time in the park, we next opted for a trail run to the Aiton Fire Tower along a loop comprised of three different trails. The views certainly paid off and the trail was well maintained and easy to run!
Later that afternoon, we made a beeline for Bemidji where we met a woman to remotely sign our closing papers at our delightful home for the evening, Hamilton’s Fox Lake Campground. No more mortgage!
On our third day, we explored all the wonders that Lake Bemidji State Park has to offer! The lake is quite large and the nearby park has multiple activities to enjoy.
We opted to begin with a jog on the bog! It’s a short 2 mile out and back interpretive trail that ends in a lake view. After that, we continued our run around a few other of the park’s trails ending up at the lake.
Next, we got our skates on and hopped on the Paul Bunyan Trail, a 120 mile rails to trail bike path that begins in the park. We rode just about 5 miles on the trail, but with a bike you could go much further! (Taking pictures while skating with a dog is a little dangerous :)).
That afternoon, we cleaned up ourselves and the camper a bit before heading out to meet a high school friend of mine, Jamie, and her husband for dinner at a favorite local haunt called Ruttgers. It was my first time to eat walleye!
On our final day in northern Minnesota, we continued west stopping briefly in Vergas to get a snapshot of the World’s Largest Loon.
Vergas is also home to the fantastic Forest Edge Gallery, but they were not open when we came through.
We ended our time in Minnesota with one more state park, Buffalo River State Park. Here, the change in environment became incredibly clear as we ran both their Prairie View and River View Trails.
The prairie was beautiful and full of wildlife (including some birds of prey who suspiciously circled overhead a few moments).
The river was evidence that we are now leaving the big eastern rivers and heading into country with much thinner water sources.
For more insights (and hilarity) on our Minnesota adventures, be sure to check our our Minnesota Youtube episode!