If I had to pick one place to spend my long summer, the answer would be the Gunflint Trail. My grandpa and grandma have a house up there, and it is one of the most beautiful places on earth.
I have so many good memories of being there when I was younger. My cousins and I would spend days there. We would paint rocks, go to Baby Beach, lie in the hammock and play “It Stick.” We would bake with my grandma, go four-wheeling and go fishing in the canoe. We would also go to Trail Center and get malts and hike Honeymoon Bluff.
The rocks we painted are still on the left side of the path going down to Baby Beach. It is named Baby Beach because we would wash our dolls in this little cove at the lake. We were always falling asleep together in the hammock, which is one of my favorite memories. “It Stick” is a tradition when we go to the Gunflint Trail. It is just like tag, but you use a stick to tag people and it is played deep in the woods.
We still enjoy Baby Beach and playing “It Stick,” but since we were young we have created many new favorite activities. In the winter, we get all suited up in our snow gear and walk about a mile to “the big hill,” which should be named Mount Disaster for the many crashes that occur. We slide for hours and have an absolute blast.
Another favorite is putting out raw chicken on the deck to see what creatures show up. We wait for a while, and soon enough the foxes come. It is an amazing experience. We have been able to get them to eat out of our hands a few times. They are quite tame and very curious. We also hand-feed the birds, chipmunks and sometimes, but very rarely, the pine marten.
In the summer, we all pile into the fishing boat. We stop at several places on Poplar Lake to jump off the rocks or cliffs to swim on a hot day. We explore many islands on the lake and stop at Trail Center for the best chocolate malts ever. We love to go exploring on the four-wheelers while picking blueberries to help my grandma make her famous “Jams by Jan.” We might even make a blueberry pie with the leftovers. Portaging into unknown lakes to fish and jeeping old roads in hopes of seeking a moose is always an adventure.
It is always a fun experience when we go to my grandparents’ house, and I look forward to visiting my favorite place on earth.
(Ireland Schindel, 15, of Crosslake, wrote this for an English assignment in school. She is a freshman at Pequot Lakes High School. Her brothers also attend school in Pequot Lakes. Her grandparents are Rod and Jan Johnson of Grand Marais. Her parents are Kriste Schindel and Bryan Schindel of Crosslake.)