Donna and I just completed our annual Memorial Day weekend getaway, once again visiting Lake Superior. This year, we were along the North Shore, near Grand Marais and Grand Portage, almost to the Canadian border. It was a wonderful trip just full of amazing scenery. Visiting Lake Superior is becoming a thing for us, as we have now visited several locations around the lake over the last few years. For me, Copper Harbor last fall and the North Shore this year have been my favorites.
We stayed at the Cliff Dweller on Lake Superior and I would be amiss if I didn’t take the time to mention this wonderful little hotel with the friendly and accommodating staff that felt much more like a resort than a hotel. The Cliff Dweller is situated right on the shoreline and overlooks the lake from each room. Every room features a balcony where you can sit and relax to the sound of the crashing waves while enjoying your morning coffee. It was a lovely way to wake up and start each day!
The North Shore area features many hiking trails, scenic overlooks, historical landmarks, and astounding geological formations. In Grand Marais, we discovered such wonderful eateries as The World’s Best Donuts, Sven & Olie’s Pizza, and the Angry Trout Café. The smell of campfire permeated the town as several businesses had outdoor fire pits going. Being so far north, Spring was just beginning, but despite being so early in the season, the weather cooperated such that we enjoyed hundreds of miles of top down driving and dinner outdoors overlooking the harbor.
Two of the most amazing stops on our journey came near the Canadian border. The first was the “High Falls” on the Pigeon River. This amazing work of nature straddles the border and is simply incredible to see in person. As torrents of water plummet 120 feet over the falls and you are sprayed by the mist as you watch from the man-made overlook that you come to after a beautiful half mile hike through the forest. In days gone by, this waterfall was such an obstacle to river travel that American Indians created a nine-mile portage trail to Lake Superior that became known as “The Grand Portage”.
The second amazing site was the Grand Portage National Monument. Here a reconstruction of the old fort holds a wealth of information about life in frontier times, complete with actors fully in character who bring the era to life and answer all your questions. The visitor center contains many artifacts from archeological exploration of the area along with recreated items and knowledgeable guides to explain it all. The rich history of the area combined with the awesome views of Lake Superior was overwhelming to the senses and fired my imagination of what life must’ve been like in those distant times.
It was here in Grand Portage that I came across the following quote, posted on the wall: “I believe in going back to the magic of the earth and the lake, the sky and the universe. That kind of magic. I believe in that kind of religion. A religion of the rocks, the lake, the water, the sky. Yes, that’s what I believe in.” Upon first reading, this quote might seem profound, but it left me with a feeling of sorrow. I find the thought that any person could come to this exquisitely stunning area and come to appreciate its magnificence yet seemingly miss that it was all created by the Lord God Almighty profoundly sad.
To witness the majesty of this area is to see the wonderful works of the Creator firsthand. And such elegant beauty should deepen our admiration and appreciation of the God who created it all; it should move us to praise the Creator not the creation. But the quote above seems to resound with just the opposite, which reminds me of what the Apostle Paul was moved to write in his letter to the Romans: “They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature….(but) they traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.” (Romans 1:19-20,25)
Whether standing in the mist of the High Falls or staring out into the vastness of Lake Superior, I am reminded that, though these things seem magnificent to me, they are but a mere teardrop compared to our Creator God. For God is infinitely vast, having created not only the planet earth and everything in it, but also the entire universe, the size of which we cannot precisely determine. It is God who set in motion all the laws of physics and science which we so earnestly study but scarcely yet comprehend. And it is this same immutable, eternal, and infinite God who has numbered every hair on my head, who cared enough about me…and you…to send his very own Son to redeem us so we might also live eternally in fellowship with him.
Yes, to think anyone could experience the beauty of the North Shore and miss the significance of its message about the Creator and about the love He has for each and every one of us fills me with deep sadness. And I hope this little blog will help you see that the very beauty you see in nature pales in comparison to the divine beauty God sees in you.
“How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!” Psalm 139:17-18
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