Posted at 7:14 AM on August 18, 2008
by Paul Huttner
Early roadside color splash along Highway 1 near Isabella, MN
The last two weeks of August often feature some of our finest weather of the summer in Minnesota. Warm air is well established, and lazy late summer breezes tend to the warm side.
I really enjoyed my trip to northern Minnesota last week. We spent several days at our favorite lake near Ely, and then took the amazing drive down Highway 1 to the North Shore.
Lake water temperatures near Ely are ideal now. The 70 degree water is cool compared to metro lakes which still hover around 78 degrees, but the swimming is refreshing. The smell of warm pine wafts through the air, and the loon chorus was particularly active with vibrant songs at all hours of the day and night. Fishing was pretty good for this time of year. My son landed some quality bass and northern on our trip.
In Ely I always enjoy hearing MPR playing in the loft bookstore at Piragis, and the pie at The Chocolate Moose is as good as ever.
The drive down Highway 1 is one of the most beautiful in the state. Some new sections of highway make the trip much more enjoyable. I was astounded to see some splashes of early color along the roadway. It's not that unusual to see some color as early as August 15th up north, but it caught me by surprise and reminded me that we are only days away from September.
Our arrival on the North Shore near Lutsen is greeted by sunshine and a stunning nearly full moon rising over Lake Superior Friday evening. The big water is fairly calm as the waves lap gently but still powerfully at the shore. Saturday and Sunday bring the warmest days of the year for many North Shore Locations. The Bay at Grand Marais hits 89 Saturday, and Silver Bay pushes 91 Sunday.
The flow along North Shore Streams and rivers is low this time of year. Our dip in Gooseberry Falls is still refreshing, and the low water makes for great hiking conditions in and around the falls.
The varied the geography of our state is really remarkable. We are so fortunate to have so many different landscapes to enjoy within just a few hours drive.
Now, on to the last two weeks of "meteorological" and "scholastic" summer. The State Fair is here this week, and the weather is putting on quite a show!