Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Split Rock Lighthouse - "Before GPS there was a really Big Light"

The following day we awoke bright and early to drive Old Highway 61 to Split Rock Lighthouse. Every mile of the scenic North Shore Drive was breathtaking. I love this description of the Scenic Drive in the 2012 Duluth tourism book: "Beginning at Canal Park in Duluth, Minnesota's North Shore Scenic Drive is a journey through an unspoiled wilderness that kisses the sweeping shoreline of the world's largest freshwater lake. The breathtaking cliffs and beaches of Lake Superior's beautiful North Shore are bordered by the Sawtooth Mountains and thousands of acres of pine, aspen and birch trees. Rivers and streams make their rocky way to the lake, forging dazzling waterfalls along the way. Lighthouses recall the awesome power of the mighty lake, and dozens of trails allow visitors to experience the North Shore's natural beauty up close. Friendly communities are home to cultural and historic museums and exhibits, as well as unique shopping, dining and lodging. You may wish to drive slowly and stop often, as the North Shore Scenic Drive reaches its destination at Canadian Border all too soon!"

The fun part was knowing that after our tours of Split Rock and Gooseberry Falls, we would get to enjoy the drive all over again on the way back!

One of Minnesota's best known landmarks, Split Rock Lighthouse, once a beacon of safety for passing ships is now an icon for travelers. This century-old light sits on a 130-foot cliff at Superior's edge. "Born on the backs of the 29 ships damaged during the infamous storm of November 1905, the light was in use until 1969, when it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places."

Admission to the lighthouse can be used for a 45-minute guided tour or to explore on your own. The 25-acre site includes the original brick Split Rock Light, fog-signal building, keeper's quarters and ruins of the tramway. We opted for the guided tour with Cooper in the backpack carrier and Parker holding Rassie's hand.

A favorite for all of us was hiking down to the cobblestone beach for the classic photo of the lighthouse.

And hike to get down to the beach, we did!

We all agreed it was worth it.

Both boys jumped at the chance to play in, climb on, and throw the rocks.

We chose to take a different path on the way back up to the lighthouse. (The steps were fine, but I think we chose wisely on the way in by opting the lengthier scenic view that the wooded trail held.)

Apparantly, it was too lengthy of a trek...

These two were going back and forth between happily walking, running and riding on daddy's shoulders all the way back to the Visitor's Center.



valerie said...

Fabulous pictures!!!!!

carrie said...

Thanks!!! It was such a fun trip! You would have loved it! :)