Sunday, July 13, 2014

Lake Bemidji State Park, MN to Two Lakes NF Campground, WI.

Some stops just appear along the way. And-----you have to stop.

This is one. In the small town of Rugby, North Dakota.  Not much notice , but a sign will tell you that this monument is here along the side of Route 2.

The geographical center of North America.

Notice it was not the center of the U.S., but the center of North America.

This one we can relate to.  Lubec, Maine is the most eastern point of the U.S.

Route 2 leads us right into Northern Minnesota and Lake Bemidji State park. In a state of 10,000 lakes, this is a very nice state park.  The sites were good and there are hiking trails as well as a short connection to the long Paul Bunyon Bike Trail. This web link will give you a little information about the over 100 mile trail

Even in Minnesota, the many public works started in the 1930's are evident.  This building is very similar to the CCC buildings in Arkansas and other states.

In terms of nature , we would have to say that the mosquito is the most obvious form to be found. In fact, maybe Wayne, who sometimes looks at this blog and lives here, could tell us if they really do have schools where they train the mosquitoes to attack.

Much nicer to look at the wild flowers.

Occasionally, even a colorful mushroom will pop up,

These ladyslippers are the state flower for Minnesota. They list them as wild orchids.  These were just finishing their bloom around July 7th.

On Cape Cod, the ladyslippers bloom around Memorial Day.

Even wild irises can be found.

Jan and I saw many of these spider webs around the ponds.

It took a while , but a closer look will tell you that the spiders are enjoying the mosquitoes.

The ponds are also home to a number of different kinds of dragonflies.

The large state parks have a constant need to keep track of trees that might be hazardous.  But when possible they are left to help with the cycle of the woods--hosting insects and feeding the woodpeckers and other birds before they fall and create that natural mulch.

Even the butterflies are happy.

Minnesota does have lakes everywhere you turn.  There are some wonderful lakeside properties you can see right from the roads. And we are sure there must be many more hidden on back roads near small and larger lakes.  Our next stop is on a Corps of Engineering campground near McGregor, Minnesota.

It is part of the Corps Mississippi Headwaters Lakes Project.  This lake would be used in the 1800's by the fur trappers to access the Mississippi River, just a mile or so away.

The sites, as usual at the Corps, are well spaced and well cared for.

Sandy Lake Post was near here for the American Fur Company.  This is still near the Mississippi Headwaters which we saw last year at Lake Itasca State Park.

By the way, that state park is over 32,000 acres and includes more than 100 lakes( of the 10,000).

Jan is checking the boat launch area.  As out-of-staters, we notice that every town here has a very prominent(or in many cases, more than one)bait shop and/or outdoor shop.  Minnesotans love their fishing.  Some of you will enjoy checking out this link to the Minnesota Fishing Guide Service to see what fish are in the lakes.

At this point , we are south of Route 2 and take Route 210 out of McGregor to Route 35 north to Duluth and into Wisconsin.  If you go this way, be sure to look for the rest area at the top of 35 before you cross the river.  You can see Lake Superior  in the far distance, and the St. Louis River  to the right.  Across the water is Wisconsin.
If you follow us at all, you know that Jan and I like state parks, Corps of Engineer parks, national parks, and also national forest campgrounds.  Wisconsin has a number of forest campgrounds.  We usually search the reviews online and also the Dow site to see if it will actually work for us.  Some campgrounds are too far for us down dirt roads and some are limited to tents or vehicles less than 20 foot length( which usually means rough roads and tree branches).  This one was great.  Two Lakes Campground in the Chequamagon National Forest.  It is listed in Drummond, Wisconsin and is on( you guessed it) two lakes , Bass Lake and Owen Lake.  This is the view from our Site # 83 on Bass Lake.

Our site is right above the "K" in Bass Lake.  The campground is busy on the weekend, but even then, there are many sites unoccupied.  Perhaps because it is remote.  The campground was about 25 miles south of Route 2 on Route 63.  Then it was about 5 miles in on a well paved road.

We had a chance to see butterflies, otter,loons,Ruffed Grouse, and, of course, mosquitoes.

Many to most of the campers here had also brought boats, canoes, and kayaks. 

One of the advantages of this area is Benoit Cheese in Ashland, Wisconsin, just off Route 2 and on the way to Two Lakes.  They specialize in Wisconsin cheese from all over the state.  We had to pickup some 10 year old cheddar, parmesan , and Raspberry Sartori.  This is a small store in the small village of Benoit. But all the locals seem to know it.  The following is a link to their website

Jan and I are lucky that our last night at Two Lakes is also the full moon.  A beautiful view right from our campsite.

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