The northland was blessed with another beautiful fall day and it served as an invitation to take a hike. The destination, Duluth’s Park Point, also known as Minnesota Point, a seven mile stretch of sand that begins at the Aerial Lift Bridge and ends at the Superior Entry ship channel. Once you get past the small Sky Harbor airport, which is about halfway out on the point, it is an unspoiled area with beach on the Lake Superior side, forest in the middle and views of the working harbor on the other. If you like driftwood, the beaches are covered in pieces from the very small to the very large. You can also find wildlife, interesting rocks, bits of glass polished by the action of sand and waves, plus the usual assortment of human waste that washes up during storms. The forest is a mix of pines and broadleaf trees, plus assorted undergrowth and wild flowers, not to mention the patches of Poison Ivy. The area has been designated as Minnesota Point Pine Forest Scientific and Natural Area. On windy days you can hear the sound of waves crashing on the beach as you walk through the woods.
Further out on the point is an old, crumbling lighthouse which I have photographed in the past, but now the fence protecting it has been repaired and it’s harder to get close to. There are other reminders of human habitation on the point. There once was a buoy tending station on the point with houses for the tenders. At the end of the point, which is not only the channel, but also the site of the natural mouth of the St. Louis River, you can see the Coast Guard station on the Wisconsin side and the lighthouse that signals the entry from Lake Superior. The end of the hike was blessed by a gorgeous sunset over the harbor.