February 20, 2023

Split Rock LightHouse in Two Harbors, Minnesota


Split Rock LightHouse in Two Harbors, Minnesota
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for February 20, 2023

February has been a whirlwind kind of month for me.  I spent a minimum of 2 nights in 5 different cities in a 2 week time period.  I didn't get to create weekly blog posts a couple of times this month so am combining a lot into this one.  This photo here was taken moments after I experienced some pretty rough turbulence shortly after flying out of Atlanta.  I was a bit shaken, but saw this beautiful sunset after emerging from a storm cloud and snapped this shot to try to calm my nerves a bit.  It worked.

On February 1st, Avery and I went to watch the Minnesota Timberwolves take on the NBA defending champs, Golden State Warriors.  It was a week night so we both complained a bit about  having to get up early for work the next morning.  Naturally the game went into overtime to make it an even later evening for us.

Lucky for us, the home team won by a score of 119 to 114.  It was our last time watching D'Angelo Russell in a Wolves uniform as he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers a week later.  I know he's had his issues, but he'd been playing great for us this season so we were bummed to see him go.  Now we get to watch him feeding the ball to Lebron and Anthony Davis and helping the Lakers win games.  It's hard to be a Minnesota Timberwolves fan.

We spent the first weekend of February in Iowa visiting Grandma Leona on the farm.  They've had a lot of snow this year.

We always have a good time with Grandma Leona, Uncle Jerry, Aunt Laura, & Cousin Karli.  

I spent a couple of nights in Atlanta for work visiting my favorite client.  It's a nice break to not have to wear a winter coat for a change.

Super Bowl weekend brought us to the shores of Lake Superior in Northern Minnesota for a couples adventure retreat.

Karl & Tina had done a similar weekend to this last year and invited us to join them for this year's winter excursion.

We were joined by Troy & Rhonda Brown for the experience.  Troy, Karl, & I have had several camping experiences together when our boys were all in scouting, but I had a feeling this trip wouldn't be quite the same level of roughing it as we did back then.

We had some fun restaurants on the agenda for the journey up north including OMC Smokehouse in Duluth.  They told me OMC stands for Oink, Moo, Cluck, but I didn't get if there was any hidden meaning.  My best guess was there wasn't much fish on the menu.

For some reason, there's a lot of different breweries in the area.  We stopped by Castle Danger and tasted some of the local refreshments.  I'm beginning to understand how people up north stay warm in the winter.

Eventually we made it to our destination, Cove Point Lodge in Beaver Bay, Minnesota.  It's an incredible resort with 3,000 feet of lakeshore on Lake Superior and cabins with incredible views.  

Lake Superior is a beautiful body of water.  It's so big that it feels like you're on the shore of the ocean, but the frozen shores helps remind us that we're still standing in the Minnesota Tundra.

This crew is a pretty athletic bunch so their ideas for fun on Saturday was taking long hikes through the snowy woods.  I discovered that months of being stuck in my home office working remotely hasn't magically put me in better physical shape, so I was pretty winded throughout the day.  Luckily for me, everyone was pretty kind and waited for me to catch-up so I didn't end up abandoned in the woods and eaten by the local Yeti families.

We saw some pretty incredible views along our treks.  I'm glad they had this fence here because I was way too tired to climb it in order to jump off the cliff.

Eventually we visited Split Rock Lighthouse which is an iconic sight in this part of Minnesota.  They say this is the most photographed place in the entire state.  

Our visit to Split Rock Lighthouse was both fascinating and haunting. Built in response to a devastating 1905 storm that damaged many ships on Lake Superior's North Shore, the lighthouse served as an essential beacon for navigating the treacherous waters. Today, as a testament to the danger that once lurked there, it stands as a haunting reminder of the many ships lost on those rocky shores. Despite its eventual closure in 1969 due to advancements in navigational technology, the lighthouse's history and legacy continue to captivate visitors.

We had a wonderful day visiting the lighthouse and exploring the shores of Lake Superior.  Of course it was cold and windy, but we were actually pretty spoiled because the temperatures reached the forties while we were there which was unseasonably warm.  That was pretty lucky for us.

Even though I belly-ached a bit about the length of our hikes, the crew was nice enough to find me places to sit and rest on a regular basis so I really had no room to complain.

Here's a couple TikTok videos I shot while we were there:

@toddswank Lake Superior from the shores of Beaver Bay, Minnesota. #lakesuperior #beaverbay #superior #minnesota #edmundfitzgerald #gitcheegumee ♬ The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald - Gordon Lightfoot
@toddswank Split Rock Lighthouse. #splitrock #lighthouse #splitrocklighthouse #twoharbors #minnesota #lakesuperior ♬ everything i wanted - Billie Eilish

 On February 12, Miss Sheri and I celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary.  The boys joined us for dinner and Avery brought his friend, Abby, along for the fun.  I can't believe it's been 29 years!

It was our first weekend at home for awhile so we pretty much played catch-up on a bunch of stuff we've been neglecting.  We did have the opportunity to go out with our good friends, Jen & Dan Walters.  It's always good seeing these cool cats.

Dan & I ventured out to his ice house for an hour to check out the boys.  Luke was there having a ball fishing with his friends so it was nice to see them enjoying the outdoors while indoors.

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