Lake Superior Agate Hunting

July through September 2011

Map of our 5,400 miles of summer travels.

Well we did what we said we were going to do on our web page. We left North Ranch RV Park on July 7th and traveled 5,400 miles round trip starting from North Ranch in Congress, AZ, up through Four Corners and stayed three nights in Cortez, CO. Then on to Buena Vista, CO (over 8,000 feet), we spend 11 nights here. We visited friends in Leadville, CO and crossed two 12,000 foot passes before moving on to Interior, SD where we spend a week looking and finding bubble gum agates. Then we spend three nights in Mitchell, SD waiting on a shipment to be delivered to Cabelas. We check out the Corn Palace while in Mitchell then on to Sioux Falls for a week to renew our drivers license, and pick up our mail. Then through Minnesota all the way to Knife River Campground for a month along the shore of Lake Superior gathering Lake Superior Agates. While at Knife River we did a day trip even further north to Grand Marais, MN and another day trip with our neighbors in the campground to the famous Wolf Center and the Bear Center in Ely. MN. After a month in and around Knife River we start back stopping for three days to visit friends in Glenwood, IA then hop on I-80 across Nebraska, south through Colorado and New Mexico, then followed I-40 to Flagstaff and I-17 west and arrive at North Ranch on September 23rd.


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This formation in Arizona is called 'The babies'.

Nancy standing in four states at four Corners.

This formations in Arizona is called 'The Church'..

From Buena Vista we took a day trip over the 12,072 foot Independence Pass (12,100 elevation according to my GPS). It is a beautiful drive on a narrow twisty road. The only problem we encountered was that the road ends down in Aspen, where there are 50,000 people looking to park and shop with only 25,000 parking spaces. What a zoo.
The first real road over Independence Pass was built in 1880-81 by B. Clark Wheeler, one of Aspen's most prominent boosters and businessmen. Using hand tools and manual labor, Wheeler's crews established a toll road along the route of the trail that had been used by mule trains over the years.

We reach the top of the pass

Pretty waterfall on the way down Independence Pass into Aspen.

It took 30 minutes driving around Aspen to find a restaurant to eat lunch.

Cottonwood Pass was a beautiful drive, and it was a paved road all the way to the top. I thought it would be a graded road, to the pavement made it even more relaxing. From the summit down to Taylor Park reservoir it was a hard pack dirt road but was not wash board so it was also easier than driving on a wash board road. The lake is huge and there is a lot of RV's, campers and ATVers there. We ate lunch there and headed south to Gunnison then east on hwy. 50 back to the RV Park. What a great day…

We made it to the top.

Snow at the top of Cottonwood Pass.

View from the top of the pass.

We drive down to Taylor Reservoir.

We ate lunch at that restaurant/lodge by the reservoir.

We follow the river south to south to Gunnison.

Leaving Colorado along the west side of Nebraska is Carhedge.

Nebraska traffic jam.

A week in Interior, SD these are a few of the bubble gum agates we found.

Three days in Mitchell, SD we visit the Corn Palace.

Another week in Sioux Falls before driving on to Minnesota.

The Big Sioux River runs through Falls Park in Sioux Falls.

Wild Turkeys in South Dakota.

100 mph winds damaged to this silo.

The winds also damaged lots of trees.

We reach Knife River Campground in MN.

Knife River Campground.

Campground is where the red arrow is pointing.

Click on the picture to see a video of the train that goes past the campground twice a day.

Nancy looking for agates, about four blocks from the campground.

This is the beach where we found most of our agates.

Exploring the Knife River.

We were looking for agates on the Knife River.

Didn't find any agates on this part of the Knife River.

Deer in Knife River.

Some of the agates we found on the beach.

Some of the agates have lines in them.

There is a Scandinavian gift store a few miles from the campground that we went to a few times because the owner (Brad) made all his own Scandinavia beads and other stuff for sale. Brad wanted to trade some of his stuff for a bunch of knot necklaces Nancy made. So Nancy picked out a Scandinavian bead and I picked some agates.

Some Lake Superior agates Nancy traded some of her knot necklaces, they sell for $100. - $150.00 on ebay.

David traded this Lake Superior agate, then found out it is a collectors piece selling for $600. - $800. on ebay. Brad had a $15.00 price tag on it.

Nancy traded some of her knot necklaces for this $90. hand made silver bead.

Gooseberry Falls State Park on Lake Superior's North Shore. The shoreline of the Big Lake and five waterfalls are the prominent features of this Minnesota state park. Several hiking trails allow visitors to view the falls and some of the parks abundant wildlife. We checked out the campground first, didn't look to have a spot big enough for us. Then we went to the visitor center and down the path and steps to the falls. Lots of steps going up and down and a loop where you could take in the falls was pretty long so we just went on part of the loop trail.

These are the middle and lower falls, one person said this is the least amount of water he has ever seen the in the falls.

The upper falls are on the west side of the highway.

Click on the picture to see a video of the Waterfalls.

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