Taking advantage of the sunny weather, we decided to cross the border into Minnesota to visit the Grand Portage SP and the Grand Portage National Monument. While we were waiting at the border, a cute fox meandered by.
|Just Meandering from MN to ONT|
|Kind of Cute|
The State Park is just over the border and features several short and long hiking trails to the various falls and rapids.We chose the mile long hike to the Big Falls. The waterfall is 120 ft, the tallest in the state on the Pigeon River. The park is leased to the state by the Grand Portage Indian Reservation.
|Trail to Falls|
|Pigeon River-Divide Between ONT and MN|
The entrance to the Visitor Center has a plaque that explains the forming of Minnesota and how the lines were drawn.
|Plaque About Minnesota|
|Plaque About the Northern Border|
The Grand Portage National Momument has a very nice Visitor Center overlooking Lake Superior with a short walk to the North West Trading Company stockade and great hall that has been rebuilt. Also the warehouse and canoe barn and kitchen. From 1784 to 1803, the company's inland headquarters located at the Grand Portage was the largest fur trade depot. The post was abandoned in 1803 after the company, owned by Scots, but operating on American soil, relocated northward to avoid complications of citizenship, import duties and licensing. When the area was surveyed 20 years later, only the remains of the 16 plus buildings were obscured by vegetation and fallen trees.
|Map of Portage|
|Native Village at Post|
All trade goods coming from Montreal and all fur trade going to Montreal came through the Grand Portage. It took voyageurs several hours to carry two 90 pound packs along the 8.5 mile portage from Fort Charlotte to Lake Superior.
It was a grueling voyage, carrying the canoes and two 90 lb bales over the portages. Totalling some 3,000 miles the routes of the north men from Lake Athabasca and the Montreal men to Lake Superior with over 100 portages as long as 13 miles was not without sacrifice. They met with discomfort,disease and drowing in the icy waters of Canada's wilderness.
|Exhibit in Visitor Center of Voyageurs|
Had it not been for the Birchbark canoes and the voyageurs, the fur trading empire would not have existed on such a vast scale. Canoes used by the northmen on the narrow rapid waters were on average 25 feet long and carried 4 to 6 voyageurs. Canoes used by the Montreal voyageurs were 10 feet longer and carried 8 to 12 men and 8,000 lbs of cargo.
|Warehouse and Canoe Barn|
|Between the Canoes|
In 1821, the North West Trading Company and the Hudson Bay Company merged putting to an end their violent feud over competition.