Thursday, February 26, 2009

Duluth and North Shore trip pics and snowstorm report

Mondays are the one day a week I dont have school or work and after last week's hectic week I needed to get away and have some time to myself so I decided to take a day trip to Duluth and part of the North Shore. Headed out a little before 9:00 am and got to the Twin Ports area around 11:00. Stopped off at the Thompson Hill rest/travel info area to get some advice on getting down to Canal Park for some pics of the lift bridge. Spent about 45 minutes at Canal Park taking pics of the bridge and the lake. After the drive up and the time down along the shore I needed some lunch. I couldn't resist the urge for Grandma's, and since it was right there I figured what the heck. It was really good as expected, and the service was really good too. After lunch I started heading up 61 towards Two Harbors. I stopped at the breakwater to see if it was walkable. To the normal person it probably wasn't, but to me, with some careful walking, it was do-able. It definately took me a while to get to the end, but I did actually make it to the light house. I was suprised how far north the lake had froze, I thought it usually only froze around the Duluth bay area, and it was cool to see all the broken ice up against the breakwater. I got a couple pics and then kept goin north. I didnt have to go too far, there is this wayside stop just north of Two Harbors with a path up the lake side of a tunnel. The best pics I got from this little stop wasn't the lake or the rocky side of a cliff, it was of a bald eagle that was sitting in a tree about 100-150 yards away sitting on the top branch of a tree. Unfortunately my telephoto lens still wasn't long enough to get a full pic of him, but I was able to crop the pics and get a pretty good view of the monster. I'm not sure how big bald eagles usually are since I've never really been this close to one, but this one seemed especially big. I spent a good 30-45 minutes watching him hoping he would leave the tree and I could get a pic of his big wingspan, but that didnt happen. So, I decided I might as well try to hike down the hill and walk through the woods to get a closer look. That was a fun hike down a rocky, steep, snow-covered hill. There were plenty of deer tracks meandering through the woods. So, I finally made it down to the bottom (I'm sure anyone else would've had an awesome time watching me try not to slip, and get out of a snow drift that was up to my knee with one hand free as the other hand held my camera from rocking back and forth), I got somewhat close to the tree with the bird on it, but I dont know if it was me or if he just finally got bored but he ended up flying farth up shore, and of course caught me off guard and alas no pics of the nice wingspan on him. Finally, last stop of the day was to Goosberry Falls State Park near Castle Danger, MN. The paths to the lower parts of the waterfall were extremely icy but some how I managed not to fall (atleast all the way down). The pics from Goosberry below are from two different spots along the waterfall, the first pics are from the first waterfall that runs directly under highway 61, the other pictures are from an area that is lower than the first waterfall. So, anyways, pics are below:

This is the Duluth lift bridge taken from Canal Park:

This is the light house at the end of the breakwater in Two Harbors, MN:

The next three pics are cropped images of a bald eagle just north of Two Harbors righ along highway 61:

A quick picture of a squirrel havin a good time underneath a bird feeder at Goosberry:

Some giant icycles hanging off to the side of the waterfall. Just to give you some perspective on how big these things are, there are two people in the lower right hand corner:

Just half of the frozen waterfall:

Open ice with water quickly moving:

The next three are my first attempts at long exposure with running water: I think they were all taken with ISO of 100, and an aperture of f/22, but I think the shutter speed may have been a little different on them, but somewhere around 1/15.

Lots of cool looking ice on the lowest part of the falls:

The frozen lower falls:

One of the rare oppurtunites, a look behind the lower falls at Goosberry, albeit it was frozen but still very cool nonetheless. This picture doesnt do it just at all:

A cropped pic of a deer downstream:

And one last look at the lower falls from the other side of the river:

I took well over 300 pictures on Monday and these are only 20 of the ones I thought were the best, so I may post more later but I really wanted to get atleast some of them up. ~360 miles and 11 hours well worth it on my day off. Only way it could've been better would if it were spent watching a sup. If you have not been to the North Shore during the winter, I HIGHLY recommend it, its some of the best photo ops I've ever had. Between the landscape and wildlife, it was an awesome day, being able to walk on top of Goosberry falls and even walk behind it and look out downstream was something I will wont ever forget, and something I'm sure I will do again sometime in the coming years.

And now for the snowstorm report:
We got dry slotted up until 12:30 pm which really cut down the totals here in the north metro (we were the last ones to get filled in with snow). The snow isn't really "wet" heavy, but its more like the snow is stick to each really well and was really compacted together even before the blowing/drifting started. I've gotta say it's the worst driving I've ever had in just 4" of snow, I've done better in 8" than I did today. As of ~8:00 pm here in New Brighton we had roughly 4" of snow but we may be closer to 5 now as the snow didn't stop till about 9:30 pm so I will go out and measure it and post an update before I go to bed. Most of the MPX cwa looks to have gotten about what was expected, with the exception being the north metro which got about half of what was expected.


Timothy said...

Awesome pics along the North Shore, sounds like you really enjoyed yourself...That's cool! Those water photos are awesome! We had about 4" here in Duluth...2 inches from the storm, 2 inches from Lake Superior...Pretty much what was forecasted up in the city. undless

mnwxchaser said...

Day trips are awesome. I really like the deer pic and the vertical shot of the falls with the ice.

Midwestchaser said...

Thanks guys! I had an awesome time up there, I love bein out in the woods doing this kind of thing. I'm probably gonna make another trip soon, not sure exactly where though. I want to get up to a couple of other parks and do some actual hiking before spring really gets here. I'm thinkin maybe Tetagouche and a couple other ones and then make my way to Grand Marais for a final stop with some lunch/dinner at Sven and Ole's.