Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Up the Shore (and a couple new quotes)

Saturday was fantastic. We went up the shore. I love going up the shore, and we had not been yet this year. I wanted to go before I got any fatter (or more swollen, more sore, more out of breath)
We met at my parents house to consolidate into one care, and then headed north. Participants were myself, DH, Benjamin, and my parents. It was a full car! We stopped in Two Harbors at the grocery store to stock up for a picnic (and get some donuts!). Benjamin picked a donut called a Honeymooner. Never heard of it. It was amazing. It was like an apple turnover, very buttery, but it also had some sort of honey glaze and honey/caremal frosting on it. Good choice Ben, good choice.
I was sort of in charge of the planning and knew what I wanted to do, so we headed all the way up to Tettegouche with the plans of working our way back. For those of you who are not familiar with "a trip up the shore", "the shore" is the Northern Shore of Lake Superior. You can drive around Route 61, near the water, all the way up to Canada if you want. Its about 150 miles from Duluth to Canada (At an angle up the shore). There are countless stops along the way - multiple state parks, overlooks, public beaches, piers, harbors, cute little towns, restaurants, etc etc etc. Many I have done, more I haven't. So, anytime you go up the shore you have to decide which exact attracts to attend. Today was my choice.

Up to Tettegouche! It is the biggest state park along the North Shore (though not the most visited, that goes to Gooseberry Falls, which is closer to Duluth, extraordinarily accessible, and has beautiful water falls). Tettegouche is known for good hiking, and the Baptism River. I wanted to go to Tettegouche in order to walk the Shovel Point trail. A loop trail that goes about a half mile to the end of a unique rock peninsula that juts out into Lake Superior. I am not sure how long it has been since I hiked out to the end of Shovel's Point. I can tell you that last time I was at Tettegouche, DH was visiting me over a summer home from College (think 2003 or 2004), and I don't think I did the trail that day. The trail has been changed DRASTICALLY. It is no longer just a dirt path that takes you on a relatively gentle elevation change to the point. It is now a series of boardwalks and staircases that routes you down and then back up up and up. The weather was sunny and warm (getting hotter every second). Some parts of the trail had a great breeze, most of it was shaded, but still it was HOT and us, being geniuses, did not bring water with us (we had it in the car, but not on the trail). But we all made it. Benjamin did GREAT. He walked nearly the entire way himself, maybe was carried 100-200 feet the whole way for quick breaks. The view from the top and the end was wonderful, and I had forgotten how unique and interesting the coast line north of shovel point is (lots of small cliffs, caves and inlets). I really would be interested in kayaking along there someday. Meanwhile, the whole point in my head for walking to the end of Shovel Point is to look back on Palisade Head. We took in the scenery and then headed back to the visitors center.

Back at the visitors center, we found a nice shady picnic table and indulged in a wonderful picnic. Ben was hilarious, he was obsessed with his bottle of juice. We don't give him juice often and he doesn't get to drink out of bottles with screw off tops often, so it was a novelty. He did eat some other things but the main thing he wanted to do was open the bottle, take a drink, but the lid on the bottle. It was adorable.

After Tettegouche we headed south to Palisade Head. Its only about a five minute drive. I am SURE I have blogged about Palisade Head before, seeing as its probably my favorite place in the world. We get to the top of Palisade Head (you can drive up), and the small parking lot is FULL of motorcycles, some sort of club cruised their together. DS loved it! The bikes started to leave right after we got there and everytime another one turned its engine on he would spin around to watch it leave. Palisade Head is almost always a mandatory stop on our trips 'up the shore'. This time I wanted to go there to look back on Shovel Point, where we had just been. I have no idea why this amuses me so much, but it does. Well away from the cliff, there are plenty of rocks for climbing which Ben thoroughly enjoyed.

Our final stop of the day was Iona's Beach. If you google it, you will find it on lists of "hidden gems". Its a great place that very few people seem to know about (though more every year I think). It is a beach covered in pinkish colored rocks. Very peaceful. If the wind is strong enough, the rocks washing up on the beach can take on a musical quality. The weather was quite hot, perfect weather to sit on the beach with your feet in the cold water (or, in rocks cooled by the cold water). We spent quite a long time just sitting their enjoying the lake and weather. We threw some rocks in, DS "swam" in the rocks, kicked the rocks around, climbed on his dad, and in general a good time was had by all.

By this time it was past 3pm. DS fell asleep within minutes of being put in the car and we made the drive back down to Two Harbors (another stop at the store for dinner supplies), and back to my parents house. Because it was so late already, we decided to just stay for dinner. Most of us (Gpa, Gma, myself, Ben and my little sis) went swimming in the pool there. DS loves swimming. We have had many swim lessons, but this is different. We got him a Puddle Jumper, which is a type of life vest. He is learning quickly. He learned today how to float on his back, that he doesn't need to flail to stay afloat when he is wearing the vest, and about the consequences of jumping in without help (dunking). He did NOT want to get out. There was a storm moving in and we all got cold, but he claimed he was not cold. He was shivering so hard. This situation is how we got the following gem of a quote:

ME: Ben! We need to get out. You are cold. You are shivering.
ME: You are shaking!
BEN: I am shaking my head because that means NO. I said NO.

He repeated this last part several times while we all laughed our heads off about it. He wanted to stay in that pool SO BAD. We eventually got him out, inside and warmed up though!

It was a really fantastic day. Before I sign off, one other recent quote/development. As of last night, Benjamin started talking about the baby in a new way. He has said several times now "I am going to put my ear on your belly and say to Felicity I am waiting for you to come out!" (the exact words vary slightly but the phrase "I am waiting for you to come out" is recurrent). It is adorable. And he did it this morning (said to my belly, "I am waiting for you to come out". So cute.

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