We are back in Minnesota today after spending the last two nights in Wisconsin.  We drove along Lake Superior for most of today’s journey.  The lake was on our right with beautiful wildflowers and  hills on our left. We went through a few most towns, but most of this area is sparsely populated.

Grand Portage, Minnesota

Grand Portage received its name due to its historical significance as a portage or carrying place between the Pigeon River and the western end of Lake Superior.  At Grand Portage, travelers and traders would navigate the Pigeon River to reach the shores of Lake Superior. Due to the geography of the area, a portage of approximately 8.5 miles was necessary to bypass the impassable rapids and waterfalls of the Pigeon River.

 We arrived in Grand Portage around 3:00 and stopped at the National Monument Heritage Center before continuing on to Grand Portage State Park.

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The traditional winter lodge of the Ojibwe, also known as a wigwam or wiigiwaam, was typically constructed using a framework of saplings covered with sheets of birch bark or other available materials like cattail mats or woven reeds. Birch bark was especially valued for its waterproof properties and insulation against cold temperatures.  I can’t imagine this structure providing enough warmth for a southern girl like me!

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The Grand Hall is located within Grand Portage National Historical Park. It was historically part of a fur trading post operated by the North West Company during the late 1700s and early 1800s. The Grand Hall served as a vital center for fur trading activities between the Ojibwe people and European fur traders. It was here that furs collected from the interior of North America were traded for European goods such as tools, cloth, and metalware.

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After leaving Grand Portage National Historic Site we drove to Grand Portage State Park where we walked to the High Falls, the tallest waterfall in Minnesota. High Falls is situated on the Pigeon River, which forms part of the border between Minnesota and Canada.


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 The temperature has been in the low 60s all day, but felt quite warm in the afternoon while we were hiking.

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Boundary markers like this one were placed in 1908 and each has a specific number to identify a location.  They can be found at intervals on both sides of the  Pigeon river.

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It was a wonderful day and we ended it by listening to an outdoor concert at the Grand Portage Lodge Casino.

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Tomorrow morning we have to be at the Grand Portage Ferry Terminal by 8:00AM.  The closest campground was 51 miles away, so we are staying tonight in the Grand Portage Casino Parking Lot for free.  Price is right, but amenities are lacking.

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  • Miles driven in RV from last stop: 223 
  • Miles driven car today: 20
  • Total miles driven in car and RV: 1,828
  • No campground cost here.  
  • Groceries and food:  $169.46 for an average of $16.46 per day
  • Gas was $2.879 a gallon and we filled up the car and RV for $147.33