Sunday, August 24, 2008

International Falls and Voyageurs National Park

I'm finally caught up on my blogs. I'm even including pictures taken today. Whoopee!

After Chisolm we headed north towards International Falls. There was an Elks Lodge which was listed as having RV parking. Well....... maybe before. There was the parking lot, and there were the hookups, but now the parking lot belongs to a restaurant and they don't allow RV parking, only restaurant parking. Several years ago the lot belonged to the city and the Elks used the lot, even installing electric for those traveling RVers who occasionally stopped by. But then the lot was sold, a new restaurant built, and now, no RV parking. We did find a vacant lot nearby and talked to the owner who would have let us stay there since we were Elks, but it was noisy and we decided instead to splurge and go somewhere with hookups for a change. It was recommended to try Arnolds RV Park, a small (about 12 sites), quiet, shady park with elec. We stayed there our week in International Falls. Yes, a week. Originally we were only going to stay a few days, long enough to see Voyageurs National Park, and then move on, but thank goodness our plans are made in "jello".

Voyageurs National Park is only accessible by boat. Although we planned on kayaking to the park, which is a series of small and large islands, the park service had several boat trips which you could take. We wanted to go on several of these boat trips, but couldn't get reservations until the weekend. And in the meantime, there was an International Bass Tournament going on in town with lots of festivities and CMA (Christian Motocyclists Association) was having a 'no boundaries' rally too. So we extended our stay, booked the tour boats and enjoyed the festivities around town. We are leaving in the morning to head to Lake of the Woods, but while here we did kayak to Kabetogoma Peninsula from the Rainey Lake Visitor Center (also the Voyageurs National Park Visitor Center). Our boat trip to Kettle Falls got cancelled due to wind, but we did take the Grand Tour today which included Little America Island, site of the gold fever which swept this area in the early 1900s.

BTW, do you know what International Falls is known for? It's claim to fame is "Icebox of the Nation".

They grow them walleye big up here don't you think?

They also claim Smokey the Bear originated here. I have heard New Mexico also claims this, so who really knows, but here he is in the park named for him. This is also the park which hosted the bass tournament and rally.

They said there was to be a boat parade. I couldn't figure out where since there is no waterfront area in International Falls. Here is their version of a boat parade.

This is the way to ice fish. Drive this baby out on the ice, set it up and open up the well, get the auger out and drill out your hole. Then start fishing. These ice fisherman have it so easy.

But my all time favorite site here was in the small town of Ranier, 2 miles east of International Falls. Look closely at the sign. How would you like to hire this guide who advertises to be a "fairly reliable guide service"? So much for a warm fuzzy feeling!

We rode our bikes out to Ranier. From the campground we had traveled about 4 miles. But it wasn't quite lunch time yet and we had planned to bike out, have lunch and bike back. So we decided to continue the bike trip on out to Island View Lodge, which we thought was only about 6 more miles down the road. We also thought there were no hills. Well we were wrong on both. Just before getting to the lodge there was 1/2 mile of steep hills and by the time we arrived we had traveled 14 miles. We stayed for lunch, then returned. It was a tiring trip since we fought a stiff headwind both ways, but by the time we arrived back at the campground we had biked 28 miles.

Looking out on the park.

On our boat trip today we went out several miles to a small island where this now defunct fishing camp existed. In its heyday, it was the site for a commercial fishing venture. What you are looking at now is the ice house, where they cut and stored several tons of ice during the winter to keep the fish cold in the summer. Yes, they actually cut enough ice to last all summer.

Another stop was Little America Island. This is what is left of a 210 foot shaft on one of the 17+ mines on the island, which couldn't have been more than 1/2 mile square (or round rather).

We also saw wildlife, several eagles and their chicks, an eagles nest, a deer with a huge rack, cormorants and loons. Here is a mother and chick.

We also took advantage of all the food offerings with all the festivals. We have eaten fish dogs, walleye fingers, and walleye sandwiches. I think I'm ready for something else.....

1 comment:

Barbara and Ron said...

Congratulations on catching up to yourself! I can't even say that right now. Love, love the boat parade!