The next National Park gem on our journey was Cuyahoga Valley between Akron and Cleveland, Ohio. The park values and preserves the Ohio & Erie Canals. These waterway systems have a long history of development and industry for trading, transportation, and shipping, as well as a rich ecosystem of flora and fauna. The park is spread out along both sides of the Cuyahoga River, with several short hike-able “pet-friendly” trails. Andrew, Ame, and I chose a few hikes on the east of the river, including The Ledges and Brandywine Falls. One weekend afternoon we headed to Peninsula Depot to walk the Towpath, a hiking/biking trail that runs beside the river. However, the amount of weekend outdoor enthusiasts was overwhelming, so we took a detour on the Deep Lock Quarry Trail in the nearby metro park. My one recommendation would be to visit the trails during the week when people are working.
To continue with our fast pace, we said goodbye to Minnesota and headed through WI, IL , and IN. We’ve made a few stops in OH, which included touring the Airstream factory in Jackson Center and visiting the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.
Upon leaving International Falls, our traveling home headed a few hours east, along two winding and slow roads, to Grand Portage, Minnesota. This tiny native community, bordering Canada on Lake Superior, hosts a casino/lodge/marina/RV park combo, Grand Portage National Monument and a tour boat operation. We chose to travel to Grand Portage because of its’ proximity to Isle Royale National Park, which can only be reached via boat or sea plane. We opted for the shortest boat ride, out of Grand Portage; the other options were Copper Harbor or Houghton in Michigan which are 5 hours longer! We wanted more time on the island to enjoy a hike or two, and loved our afternoon at Windigo on Isle Royale participating in NPS’s 100th birthday celebration activities.
With two days in Grand Portage and an RV spot near the National Monument, we could resist popping over for a walk around the Fort Charlotte, once used as an important meeting point on the historical fur trader route.