Our blog is to keep family and friends informed of our motorhome journeys.
We have dreamed of this for many years and finally our dream has come true.
We are looking forward to many happy miles ahead.
One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things. Henry Miller.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Grand Portage SP and Grand Portage National Monument-MN

16 July 2016

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.

Visitor Center

Trail to Falls

High 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

Visitor Center
Native Village at Post


Outdoor Kitchen

The post was also the site of Rendezvous, an annual gathering by everyone connected with the company. Food and liquor flowed freely landing some in jail due to fist fights and drunkedness. On the final nigh there was dancing and feasts by the partners in the Great Hall, while outside the post Voyageurs and Ojibwa stage their own celebration.

Great Hall

Great Hall

Great Hall

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.

Company Store
Beaver Prices

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.

Birchbark Canoe

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment