We drove up the North Shore to Grand Marais and then turned northwest on the Gunflint Trail. Originally we had wanted to stay in Grand Marais but it was Fisherman’s Picnic weekend, an annual celebration there. It’s Grand Marais' favorite festival the first weekend in August. There’s sports/fishing tournaments, kid's carnival, live music, parade, fireworks, sidewalk sales, activities and food vendors and a $10,000 grand prize raffle. And there wasn’t a camping spot around. So we trekked 43 miles further on to Gunflint Lake. A good choice.
On the way up we saw the results of the 2007 Ham Lake fire. The Ham Lake Fire of Spring 2007 severely impacted the Upper Gunflint Trail, burning over 40,000 acres in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and Ontario's Quetico Provincial Park. The fire lasted several weeks and claimed almost 200 structures, although no one was seriously injured or killed. It was started accidentally by an unattended camp fire at a campsite on Ham Lake. The fire drew national attention.
We also passed the Laurentien Divide, a continental divide in North America dividing the direction of water flow in eastern and southern Canada and the northern Midwestern United States. Water north of the height of land flows to the Arctic Ocean by rivers to Hudson Bay or directly to the Arctic. Water south of the divide makes its way to the Atlantic Ocean by a variety of streams, including the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence River to the east, and the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico to the south.
While setting up at Gunflint Pines Resort it rained on us but later the sun came out. Paul Lewis, Richard’s fishing friend from our days in Orono MN, drove his Ranger Bass Boat up and stayed with us for 2 days so they could fish Gunflint Lake. He and Richard had a great time and I enjoyed the peace and quiet. While we had water and 50-amp power (and a dump station) there was no phone service and no wifi. We had a campfire down by the lake every evening at happy hour. It was really beautiful.
I cooked for Paul but the last night Richard and I had dinner at the Gunflint Lodge down the road. Super good walleye.