Lake Superior is the largest of the Great Lakes. Its cold waters are deep and clear. The summer air at the lake is cool and fresh and smells like the boreal forest that borders its shoreline. While the air alone is worth the trip, an excursion north also offers quiet rocky beaches, bonfires on the shore, the milky way at night—and if you are lucky, the Northern Lights.
My love of fields and large bodies of water come from the lake and its shoreline. I miss it fiercely and think about it often, especially in summer. Some of my favorite places, things, and things to do on the North Shore of Lake Superior:
1) Picnic in the sand dunes and swim at Park Point in Duluth. 2) Drive up the shore on Highway 61 (yes that Highway 61) and try to spot my favorite abandoned buildings. Also see #8. 3) The waters of Lake Superior. 4) Look for wildflowers in the Superior National Forest…or along the side of the road…or anywhere for that matter. 5) Catch-and-release agate hunting. 6) Pick wild strawberries on the Gunflint Trail. 7) Duluth Packs in their natural habitat. 8) See #2. 9) Start the day with coffee on the rocky shoreline. 10) Buy smoked fish from Russ Kendall’s. Pick up enough for the whole stay.
+ North Shore…There and Back is a great blog with up-to-date information about the area with a focus on the outdoors.
Pinboard is a series based on images I’ve collected. Each week I pick a theme based on recent images and create a collection to illustrate that theme. The hand lettering and illustration are done by me. See more collections here.
Anthony came into my world with an Oympus XA in his back pocket. It is a point-and-shoot film camera, with which he is adept at capturing magical moments in a sneaky fashion. It is also a camera that my dad had when I was growing up. He let me use (read: take over) all of his cameras, so I recognized the XA immediately, kind of like someone I hadn’t seen in 20+ years. On this current trip home, I asked my mom if it was still around and there it was.
The gorgeous photographs that Anthony coaxes out of this little device made an alluring case for trying it out again. Also attractive was the prospect of working with film and the things that come with it; the need to be present and snap at just the right moment, the patience to wait to see the images, the imperfections, etc. And I’ve been feeling like I need to work from a different perspective and make myself think slightly differently about the things I am looking at and documenting.
So I brought the XA and a roll of film with me to Lake Superior and tried it out. I didn’t have the guts to leave my digital camera behind (I was using it to film the Field Report, afterall) but I wish I had. Maybe I am working up to that. Or maybe it is just good to do something different once in awhile.
I feel so lucky to have had two such fantastic weekends away in a month. As an added bonus (because of my geographical positioning and timing) I was able to see lilacs and lupine in bloom in three different locations.
I also loved it that the places I stayed, both on Lake Superior and Amrum, were real homes. Our cabin this weekend has been owned by the same family since it was built in the 1920s and was filled with their personal memorabilia including a full recipe box with Grama Forsythe’s Cheese Dish recipe inside, children’s paintings from the 1960s of the cabin itself, books and photographs.
The North Shore of Lake Superior is one of my favorite places. It is deeply ingrained in me—we have returned year after year, often several times in one year, since I was four. I find it constantly coming to the surface in my work and in my thoughts so it was good to visit again after a two year absence.
Best of all was spending time at such a special place with some of my favorite people and animals.
I spent the morning with Metro on my own private rock beach, not a soul in sight.