It was the perfect formula. I had the day off, The Hermit had the day off, all of the kids were in all day school (finally), and it was a gorgeous day, weather-wise, for November in Minnesota. We hadn't had a day alone together in oh so long, so the plans were made. We headed to Duluth, my absolute favorite city in the world, and Park Point, my favorite place in my favorite city. I have written about Park Point before, I'm too lazy to link, but we've had some good days there with the kids, went to a totally fun music festival there this summer, and did some awesome birding there this fall.
I so apologize for the tipsy horizon in what was to be a perfect study in blueness. It's my camera's fault; I swear I had the guidelines lined up with the horizon. Anyway, ain't it blue?
We hiked a long way down the beach until we came to near the end, where there is a nice pine forest on the dunes. It was hard walking on the loose sand, so we took a break and just took it all in.
The pine forest contains an incredible lichen micro-forest. It almost looks magical. There are also plants like wintergreen, which typically grow on acidic areas with little topsoil.
We hiked back on a hiking/ski trail that runs through the pine woods. I had never been on that trail before, but The Hermit, in another lifetime, used to spend a lot of time there. He has seen snowy owls out on the end of the point. I was keeping my eye out for gray jays, having heard a few of them were spotted around Duluth. I didn't see one; in fact, I saw almost squat for birds. A couple of American tree sparrows were the highlight of my day. The shorebirds are gone, the ducks were few, even ring billed gulls were rare. But I didn't mind.
We ate lunch at a little Mexican restaurant, and perhaps regretted it. The special of the day was two tacos with refried beans and rice, but both of us could barely eat one taco apiece. Not that it was bad food, we just felt so full. And sleepy afterwards. I just don't go for quantity foods anymore.
Then a quick stop at the food co-op for organic greens and coffee, then a scenic drive on the bridge over the St. Louis River estuary into Superior, Wisconsin, Wisconsin being the home of the Green Bay Packers who routed our hapless Vikings 34-0 on Sunday. I don't follow football much, but I know this will be a major topic of discussion at work tomorrow.
We saw domestic freighters waiting out along the shore, and "salties", seafaring freighters carrying exported grain. I just love the excitement of living so close to the furthest inland seaport in the United States, seeing ships come and go. Sometimes I think I could live in Duluth. Lake Superior has a life of its own, always changing and beautiful.