Salman Aslam

Candid Schmooze

Esplanade on the Shores of Lake Superior

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I was always fascinated by The Great Fresh Water Lakes of North America. This infatuation in retrospect could be traced to my schooldays. These lakes were encapsulated in the geography syllabi. At least my dream of visiting these lakes was fulfilled as we peregrinated to the captivating shores of Lake Superior.The wanderlust limits extending to Portage on the US- Canadian border.


The jaunt commenced from Eau Claire- a quaint town close to the Wisconsin – Minnesota border. It was about a 3 hour drive on Highway 53 to the town of Superior Wisconsin. The extremities of Wisconsin state jutting into Minnesota like a salient and sharing twin ports with city of Duluth Minnesota. The twin ports location in juxtaposition complimenting each other.


Duluth forms a metropolitan hub with city of Superior providing access to shipping up to the Atlantic. The city is a tourist bonanza featuring AerialLift Bridge, aquarium andthe infamous Congdon Estate. It is the jump off point Highway 61 along the shores of Superior to Portage at the periphery of the Canadian border.


Our first layover was at Duluth, but not without having a guided tour of the Glensheen Estate notorious for the murders of the last of the Congdons. The sprawling 12 acre estate with an edifice of 27000/square feet has 39 rooms. The figure 39 reminds one of the nerves tingling Hitchcock movie the 39 steps. The high watermark is the aesthetic Jacobean style of craftsmanship as depicted in its design and appearance.


We were really enraptured enthralled by the interior design, tapestry and oak panelled doors. Everything was laid as it was during the lives of Congdons. Elisabeth Congdon and her nurse brutally murdered by heradopteddaughter’s husband in connivance with the daughter. Their tragic deaths still overshadow and linger at this grand architectural marvel.


Once the guided tour was over we decided to bivouac not in the literal sense at Blue Fin Bay Hotel on the banks of Lake Superior. The view from the luxury rooms was breathtakingly stunning. The hotel had all the amenities to offer and is strongly recommended getting a 5 star rating. Promenade on the shores of the lake in the morning was really exhilarating. Minnesota known as the state with 10,000/ lakes is famous for its melange of fishes.


Mostdelectable and mouth savouring are Trout, Walleye and White Fish. Next day at dawn we embarked on the next phase of our jaunt hitting highway 61 along the Lake Superior coastline heading to Grand Marais and Portage. The drive was indeed scenic and picturesque. The coastline studded with wave hit rocks and pebbles. The horizon wide and expanse and the lake looked menacing. Lake Superior once in its utmost tempest and ferocity had gobbled thousands of ships and men.


The uneasy calm and serenity of the Enroute there are many sites to saunter along shoreline dipping ones feet. Places to see include Gooseberry Falls and a few Light Houses. It was a nearly 3 hour drive with stoppages to Grand Marais. Grand Marais was a bustling town with gateway to many pristine trails and sites.Notable ones are Gun Flint Trail, Eagle Mountainand Cascade Park. Alfresco activities included trekking, golfing, canoeing and fishing.


We set off on Gun Flint Trail to hunker down deep into the wilderness to enamour its serene tranquillity. Our hosts at Poplar Creek Guest House and Lake Cabin were the septuagenarians Ted and his wife Barbara. The ambience was intoxicating. Star gazing at night, fishing and tapping the trails deep inside the forest. Cloistered and secluded deep inside the trail one felt euphoric with joie de vivre.


Our stay was memorable. The host’s cordiality and hospitality made us feel at home. Finally on the last day Barbara draping an apron served us a really sumptuous breakfast. The last part of our wanderlust took us to the periphery of Canadian Border at Portage National Monument.


Thus visit to Lake Superior culminated. My dream which I yearned for of visiting the Great Lakes had been fulfilled. Our next adventure will take us to shores of Lake Michigan.

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posted by Salman Aslam @ 10:27 AM,

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