Voyageurs National Park / Ely, MN
Our next major stop took us to Voyageurs National Park at the top of Minnesota near International Falls and the Canadian border. Voyageurs is another national park that predominantly consists of water. You need boats, canoes, or kayaks (long kayaks 20+ feet or more) to navigate these waters. We planned on two tour cruises but the first was cancelled due to high winds. This actually worked out really well for as one of the interpretive park rangers spent a couple of hours telling us about the history of the land and the people and showing us lots of information about Voyageurs. Learning that the voyageurs were the transportation system who traversed the many northern waterways transporting animal pelts that were gathered over the winter season and taken to ports on Lake Superior where the pelts were traded for various goods brought from ports to the east via the St. Lawrence River. The voyageurs were the “truckers” of the time who performed a critical job under very dangerous conditions. The knowledge we gained about the voyageurs and local history was well worth the trip. We spent 5 days here exploring the area, but we could have easily spent a few more days . View Voyageurs Pictures
While exploring other small towns in the area we visited an historic mining operation in Chisholm, MN. Minnesota Museum of Mining was a great place to wander the grounds and walk among huge mining machinery, tools, and train engines that are/were used in big operation mining. View Museum of Mining Pictures
We also spent a day in Ely, MN, to visit the North American Bear Center and the International Wolf Center. Since this trip would be a bit of a drive and take all day, we took Sadie along for the ride. Both the Bear Center and the Wold Center were worth the drive. View Bear and Wolf center pictures. View Bear and Wolf Pictures
Next stop: Bemidji, MN, and the Mississippi River Headwaters!