Duluth, MN. I find myself there fairly often, either passing through on my way further north, or as a destination in its own right. Duluth serves as the gateway to the North Shore of Minnesota. Highway 61 stretches for over 100 miles along Lake Superior from Duluth up to the Canadian Border.
Most of highway 61 is a two lane road with occasional stop lights, but the first 20 miles are 4 lane divided highway. An older, two lane road parallels that stretch, but follows the twists and turns of Lake Superior. Along the way, turnouts and parking lots offer picturesque views of the lake. The two roads reunite in Two Harbors.
Of the numerous times I have traveled between Duluth and Two Harbors, over 95% of the trips were on the divided highway. Speed was prioritized over scenery. Even when traveling the scenic route, I never stopped at any of the many turnouts.
This past weekend, I was in Duluth with my husband. We had very little on our agenda and were just there to enjoy ourselves. We decided it would be fun to drive the scenic route, stopping to explore all the turnouts.
Exploring the turnouts meant finding the unofficial but well traveled path down to the beach from each parking lot. Some paths were an easy step or two across the boulders. Other paths were steep slippery scrambles down eroded channels, where we stepped on exposed roots and grabbed nearby tree branches to control our descent.
Each beach had its own distinct combination of ancient lava flows, rocks of various sizes, and towering cliffs that characterize that stretch of Lake Superior. At the water, we skipped rocks, took pictures, sat on rocky ledges, and listened to the lapping of water on rocks. As the rest of the world buzzed by on divided highway, we enjoyed deserted Lake Superior beaches.
What do you routinely pass by? Why not stop and explore? Share your plans in the comments below.