Gooseberry Falls

July 12, 2018

We spent two nights at Gooseberry Falls but had to change sites after the first night.

As usual on this trip, hot and humid seemed to follow us around. Maybe Mother Nature thought that because we were from Maryland we liked hot and humid. If there had been a customer service number for Mother Nature I would have called to complain.

Southern North Shore geography – steep, rocky, little topsoil to hold water – explains rivers like the Gooseberry. As the summer progresses these rivers dwindle to trickles. Fortunately for our granddaughter Chloe, the Gooseberry wasn’t there yet.

The Gooseberry gets it start in wetlands. When plants there die and decay, acid is naturally released that turns the water brown. So nothing to be afraid of here. We still won’t drink it though.

In 1933 Minnesota designated Gooseberry Falls, the first North Shore state park, as “every man’s country estate” and it quickly became a go-to destination for vacationers. We could see why.

From the visitor center it was a short, hot, humid walk to the Gateway Plaza. The wall was built between 1936 and 1940 by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) as a retaining wall for the parking concourse. Designed after a castle, it was 300 feet long, 15 to 20 feet high and 12 feet thick. I like castles.

The paved trail led us to a walkway beneath the Gooseberry River Bridge. The views from this walkway were spectacular. This view shows the river below the Middle and Lower Falls.

Here’s a view of the Upper Falls as seen from the bridge walkway.

Being hot and humid, Chloe took the opportunity to get, and stay, wet for as long as possible.

Chloe played in the Lower Falls. In this picture she’s asking me if this counted as her daily shower. There are two lies and one truth here. First lie: she didn’t ask me that question and if she did I couldn’t hear it over the noise of the falls. Second lie: None of us showered every day. Don’t tell mom and dad. Truth: It certainly did count as a shower.

After dragging her out of the water, we found a very cool spot on the shore with a billion year old lava flow. The lava had cooled by this time, but it was still hot. And humid.

There were lots of pits and holes, many filled with water, much like a tide pool. So we just had to explore them. All of them.

Many of the pools had tadpoles in them. Most just had tails. Some had tails and two legs. But none that we saw had a tail and four legs. So Chloe went on a quest to find one with a tail and four legs. Knowing how persistent – stubborn – Chloe is, she finally found one. Mission Accomplished!

Let’s call this little guy a tadfrog. Or would that be a frogpole?


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