Photos from the Northland

You gotta love northern Minnesota.

We are so fortunate to live in a state with such geographic diversity. From prickly pear studded prairies in southwest Minnesota to towering white pines and craggy shores in the north, you can find a wide variety of scenery in Minnesota.

The mobile weather lab had the good fortune to vacation last week from the Brainerd Lakes to the North Shore. Here are a few photos, and some seasonal observations from a weather geek on holiday. (Click all images to enlarge)

Brainerd Lakes area:

What can I say? The Brainerd Lakes area has it all, and looks great this year. Plenty of rain means excellent greenery, and lakes are at favorable water levels. Nisswa rocks.

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The view into Lake Margaret on the Gull Lake Chain near Brainerd.

Does it get any better?

North Shore:

You wouldn’t know it looking at the Temperance River photos below, but many North Shore Rivers are at very low flow levels…even for August. Some are mere trickles as they ease into Lake Superior.

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Inviting Temperance River swimming hole!

(This dad encourages his 6 year old daughter to make the jump. The family told us she made it last year when she was 5! It took a while to get her courage up, but she made the jump several times!)

The central North Shore and parts of the Arrowhead (along with a sliver of southeast Minnesota) are the only places in Minnesota listed as “abnormally dry” in the latest U.S. Drought Monitor. The drynes shows in the low stream flows along the North Shore.

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“The Flying Luke” makes the jump into the Temperance.

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Amber the Yoga Queen brings another “tree” to the forest.

Grand Marais:

If you’ve never made the trip all the way up to Grand Marais because it’s “too far” you don’t know what you’re missing. Think Minnesota with a taste of Europe and a splash of San Diego. The seaside hamlet would make a great movie location. Minnesota’s own “Bodega Bay” (The Birds) is worth the trip.

Grand Marais is a great mix of Sawtooth Mountains, the world’s largest freshwater lake & a funky little town with great eclectic venues.

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“Chamber of Commerce” shot of Grand Marais harbor.


The Angry Trout is a popular (and delicious) spot for lunch.

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Chilln’ seaside in Grand Marais harbor.

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Fog layer forming over quiet waters near Artist’s Point.

Artist’s Point Cairns:

One of the best surprises this year strolling onto Artist’s Point and the breakwater at Grand Marais is the sprinkling of cairns along the shore.

The number, strategic placement and variety of designs are impressive. Who knew traditionally stoic Minnesotans could be so creative and think outside the box?

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Cairn village near the entrance.

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Sombrero Man” stands guard over Lake Superior.

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The “Big Guy” stands over 6 feet tall.

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Weather Lab makes a smaller contribution to the scene.

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Weather Boy presdies over his creation.

It was a great week to get out of the Weather Lab, relax a little and meet a few more wonderful MPR listeners.

Now, back to the weather lab!


  • Craig

    The beauty and awe of nature. Priceless. Thanks for sharing these great photos.

  • Jeanne Tanamachi

    Loved the pictures. I will have to look for the cairns at Artist’s Point next time I’m up that way.

    The climate and plant diversity also bring a lot of bird diversity much appreciated by this temporarily deskbound birder.