Ash River Visitor Center & Unplanned Detour

July 24, 2018

Ash River was our third and final visitor center at Voyageurs National Park. When we pulled into the visitor center parking lot, Chloe spotted a car covered in corks… totally covered. Anywhere paint would be had a cork glued to it… It was cool. There was no signage on the car to explain why.

Cork Car

Ash River has a cozy cabin feel to it with a comfy gathering area by the fireplace. They have loaner adventure packs, books, displays and a small gift shop.

They also have a boat ramp and marina and the largest chunk of land on the mainland. There are hiking trails and overlooks on that land. We spent a very short time here and didn’t get to hike. Chloe had been stung by a bee at the swim beach back at camp a few days back and her foot was seriously discolored and swollen so we were taking it easy. The ranger heard and asked to take a look. This was the second nasty sting she’d seen that week. She recommended urgent care… an hour away in International Falls so off we went. The end result was antibiotics and ten days later, a healthy foot. Apparently the bee had picked up cooties and injected it into her foot.

Ash River Visitor Center

This bee detour took a huge chunk of time out of our scheduled activities. Our already busy plan had been: North Canoe Program at Kabetogama Visitor Center at ten, Ash River Visitor Center in the afternoon, dinner somewhere on the road, then Vince Shute Bear Sanctuary in the evening. The run to the clinic notched about three hours out of that plan and John was wishing for chill time after but it was not to be. Chloe was seriously bummed about missing the bears so we “recalculated” and figured we could pull it off but would need quick food and would have less time with the bears. The race was on.

We were cruising rural roads so food wound up being cheese sticks, nuts and chips from a gas station (we were willing to sacrifice to see the bears). We figured we could hit the diner by the bear sanctuary after our visit so the junk food was “a snack” and not a total breakdown of healthy eating. Guilt-free living, right? Lucky we stopped because that was the ONE and ONLY place with any kind of sustenance along our path.

It wound up being a killer day with around five hours of driving and over an hour at the clinic added on top of all the activities of the day but it was worth it. We’ll forget the pain and the good memories will be with us forever. Read on for “The Bears”.


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