Matt had a WHOLE WEEKEND off a couple weeks ago, and we were almost incapable with delight over the choices we had. Go hiking? Break out the canoe? Camp overnight? Go for a drive? Get work done around the house? Well, maybe not that. We decided to head up to the Iron Range and check out some things on the ground that Matt had seen from the train and always wondered about.
One of those things was the Jordan spur, an old logging road that went up to Ely. The tracks are still there, but it's pretty clear anyone wanting to take a train that way is going to have some difficulty:
We crossed the bridge and walked up a ways. Trees grow between the ties and someone comes by once a year, it seems, to take one for a Christmas tree. The line was crawling with wolf tracks and scat, and it was hot, quiet and isolated. The kids were nervous about the old bridge.
We got back in the car and headed to Ely, where Matt wanted to check out some canoe supplies. It was a gorgeous day and the new road to Ely bent and curved just like the old one, only safer. We came around a tight curve and almost hit a minivan with a woman standing next to it, taking a picture of, we assumed, a sign. "Oh, what a lovely sign," I said snidely, speaking for the photographer. "Look, it has our name on it," Matt responded, and then we turned to see what the sign said, and instead saw this:
Moose butt! Matt managed to turn the car around, which was impressive in that the highway there is narrow and bendy, and my car is a total beast when it comes to turning radius. By the time we came back the minivan was gone (by that time we had much respect for the minivan peeps), so we stopped and I took the picture of the moose, who stood for awhile, then walked quietly into the woods.
After Ely, we drove out to find a canoe for sale Matt had seen, but by the time we got there it was gone. We went past the osprey nest and it seemed to have changed a bit.
Matt said the pole blew down last year in a storm, and the nest came down with it. Someone put a traffic cone on the pole before they put it back up, so the osprey wouldn't rebuild there. It seems, however, that the osprey rather liked having a traffic cone in its nest, and built around it.
We saw a couple foxes on the way home. One flattened to the ground when we slowed, then shot off into the woods. The other one seemed to be watching the sunset, enjoying the evening coming on, and that's how we felt as we drove home, too.