Yesterday was the fishing opener in Minnesota. It was also a drop-dead gorgeous day in northern Minnesota. A fisherman I chatted with at Fenske Lake said, “It’s fishing opener and I’m not sure I know what to do when it’s not snowing, sleeting, or raining sideways. I can’t believe this weather.”
Sam said last night, “This is not the usual weather we have for fishing opener. Usually we’re out there wearing 5 layers of clothes trying to stay warm.” Unfortunately Sam had to work this weekend so he didn’t get out to enjoy fishing in this marvelous weather.
I took advantage of the beautiful day to head even further north to Vermilion Falls near Crane Lake, MN. It’s not the end of the road, but you can almost see the end of the road from there.
I drove up to Crane Lake just a couple of miles north of the falls and it looked a lot like the end of the road—tiny road with fishing and vacation-related businesses on either side of the road, a mom walking down the side of the road with her two preschool-aged boys wandering alongside her, a guy raking the lawn in front of some rental cabins, and fishermen on Crane Lake.
The day dawned bright and sunny and I wasn’t sure whether the skies would be conducive for photography by the time I got to Vermilion Falls but decided that I would enjoy the falls whether or not it was good light for photographs.
I headed north of Ely on the Echo Trail. It starts out paved but turns into gravel a little bit after you pass Fenske Lake. I made a stop at Fenske Lake Campground to hike down to the fishing pier and take a look at the lake. That was where I met the fisherman who was surprised about the weather. It’s a beautiful little lake with a swimming beach and the fishing pier. Across the lake you can see rental cabins, a dock and boats just waiting for summer vacationers.
After Fenske Lake I made only a few stops along the Echo Trail to photograph scenery along the way. The 45 miles of gravel road curves and crawls through beautiful forest with signs along the way pointing to various lakes and Boundary Waters entry points. I met very few cars on the road. By the time I got to the end of the 45 miles of gravel road I was full of gratitude to be driving on paved roads again.
Along the way north on Highway 24 I was amused to see no less than 5 signs with roads immediately following the signs for intersection with road 422. Each crossroad was signed 422 and some went off the left, a couple to the right. I can’t imagine how one would decide which 422 was the right one.
The forest road that led to Vermilion Falls was 5 miles of bone-jarring bumpy gravel. It made the Echo Trail look good! But it was worth the bumpy ride. The falls were the most magnificent falls I’ve seen. Two branches of the river come together a little above a narrow gorge. That’s a lot of water rushing over the falls. The sound is deafening and the water surging over the edge is full of power.
I had the overlook to myself the whole time I was there. The sky was covered with high clouds, perfect for photography.
Vermilion Falls is awe-inspiring and nourishing. What a wonderful place!
Wishing you adventures and awe-inspiring beauty.
May you walk in beauty.
Note: Today I decided to share black and white photos from my Vermilion Falls trip. Color photos coming soon…