North Shore Mn, Route 61, and the superior trail

My travels destinations are sometimes based on looking at a map and venturing to a place I had never toured in person. 

The North Shore scenic drive, designated “Route 61.” Begins north of the City of Duluth MN. However, Route 61 is a 1400 mile north and south road from Grand Portage, MN, ending in the City of New Orleans, Louisianna. The route has a significant national and international musical connection.

Boy Hood Home of Robert Allen Zimmerman aka Bob Dillon

Route 61 passes through Duluth, MN, which is the boyhood hometown of Robert Allen Zimmerman, aka “Bob Dylan.” His home is available for free tours, located at 519 N. 3rd Ave E Duluth MN. I did not stop because I was excited to see and photograph the views along North Shore Drive and Lake Superior.

Route 61, carries several nicknames: the blues highway in the Mississippi Delta known for famous blues legends like B. B. King, Albert King, no relation, and hundreds of others singers and musicians. In Louisianna, Route 61 has the nickname “Saints Highway,” which ends in New Orleans Louisianna, which is the home and birthplace of Dixieland and Jazz.

The Superior Hiking Trail

Two Harbors was the first town to explore more. I met one of the managers of The Superior Hiking Trail and discovered why and how a place took on the name Two Harbors?

Every area I have toured has an origins story based on European people’s perspectives. However, the indigenous people’s origins story involves the Ojibway people who live in what is now northern, MN, They were hunters of the land, fished the lakes, and cultivated the land, to include rice, which is still done by tribes and villages today.

Walkway along the breakwater

The Ojibway people, were a part of the Iron Confederacy, joining the Cree, Assiniboine, and Metis. The Ojibwe population is approximately 320,000 people, with 170,742 living in the United States as of 2010, and approximately 160,000 living in Canada.

Walkway along the breakwater

Two Harbors is actually two separate communities, Agate Bay and Burlington. Burlington was incorporated on May 23, 1957, with an operating post office from 1856 until 1862. Agate Bay was own by Thomas Sexton which basically was a 14 by16 shacks on the 4 acres of land he owned.

Iron ore railhead

Now, because of the harbors, the two areas became a railroad destination for the iron ore industry and the state of Minnesota’s first iron ore port in 1884 with the completion of the railway.

Ore cargo container

The two rail docks are used to load cargo ships with iron ore for shipping along Lake Superior for destinations unknown. I collected images from the Duluth Tribune of the types of cargo ships used at the railhead.

Image courtesy of the US Army Corps of Engineers
Detroit District Website

Two Harbors Corp of Engineers narrowed the natural entrance by constructing two breakwaters 1,628 and 900 feet long, from eastern and western points of the north side of the harbor to 28 and 30 feet deep. The walkway along the breakwater for public use.

I lost a lot of time in the Two Harbors traveling less than thirty miles along Shore Drive. So, when I sat for lunch I listed destinations in my Google Maps, knowing I will not get to tour properly the route and I want to return to hike portions of the Superior Trail. I see a nomadic future where I will stay in Minnesota for a month or more.

Shoreline of Lake Superior

Now, I have to move further northwest of Two Harbors to see what is next.

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