I wander around the North Shore, sometimes knowing where I am going, and sometimes I make it up as I go. Most times, I run around by myself along with my trusty dog, Jade but sometimes, believe it or not, I have friends (Mark has friends?) that get a hold of me, say they are coming up this way and want to head out with me and have me show them the places that I love on the shore. I am always more than happy to accept the offer of having some others along for the ride. This past weekend, a couple of people I know said they had planned to come up this way and were hoping for a few nice day hikes on the shore and up the trail. I was more than happy to say, “Yep!” Even on my days off, this is what I do. It doesn’t matter to me if I am out there all by myself or people with me. The important thing to me is that I am just out there somewhere.
Times I get to share with others mean much more to me, if not more, than seeing all of this beauty along the shore on my own. The people I am with often get to see me in rare form—kind of in a reverting sort of way. I’ve been fortunate to spend a lot of my life on the shore and still to this day I get excited to explore the region. In my work here at Larsmont, daily, I get the opportunity to at the very least talk to people about the unique places I get to be around every day. When I talk about some of these, I get so excited when I describe a new place to someone else. Some days I get to take people with me and share these places with them, which is when they see the 12-year-old come out in me.
Those of you that have been on a daytrip with me may notice a bit of a difference from when we first talk about a place than when we get there and get going. I may seem like a fairly level-headed, easy-going person in the initial conversation, but when you get me on a trail, near a river and down in an immense gorge, that is where you will see the other me. I am still so intrigued by what I am seeing. It doesn’t get old to me. I love to talk about these places and give them meaning and history to more deeply understand the beauty of the place you are also standing in. There is something different about sharing these places with others. When you are by yourself, you get to take it all in, maybe take a few pictures but inevitably, something cool happens. It may be a massive bird of some sort dropping down into the water. It may be an otter sliding down the rocks, or it may be yours truly slipping and sliding down an icy trail that I told you would be just fine. No matter what that cool thing maybe, it takes on a whole new meaning when you are there with someone else. That is why those days when I go to work at Larsmont, and I get to meet a few people and take them somewhere, are my favorite days to work. I had the opportunity not only to discover something new but the chance to share it with another person or a group just makes it that much better. When whatever happens, I like to look over at whoever is with me and see how they react. It can be a look of surprise, a look of awe, or maybe even a little confusion. Any one of these reactions is a lesson learned about how beautiful the North shore can be.
I enjoy taking people out on trail or even to a brewery for that matter when someone starts a question with the phrase “What do you know about…?” I love hearing that! I have been here a long time, and of course, although I do not know everything, those things that I do know get to come out. When we are on a trail, and someone asks what kind of tree that might be or why the water looks like root beer, these questions make me open my eyes wide and start reeling off meaningful responses. I get real enjoyment knowing that I have helped someone learn something, and as I have often said before if guests leave Larsmont having learned something, that is great motivation to keep learning more myself. Not that I need an excuse to be outside in this place where I live, but the motivation to share all of this with others truly is why I look forward to going to work each day.
We are busy pulling the summer activities together, and it will be a busy one with all kinds of opportunities. You will have chances to see all sorts of places you have probably never been doing all kinds of things you have probably never done. When I talk about hoping that everyone who stays with us goes home, having learned something, it is sincere hope. I truly enjoy sharing all of the things that our North Shore has to offer, whether it’s sea kayaking on Lake Superior, fly-fishing North Shore streams, BWCAW canoeing for the day, or stand-up paddling boarding a safe harbor on Lake Superior.
That is how we hope to share the wealth with you of what this area has to offer.
I’ll see you when you get here. I’ll be the excited one that can’t wait to get going wherever we are going. It really doesn’t matter. Can we just go already?
As an avid outdoorsman Mark has explored the North Shore from Duluth to Grand Portage. And he's ready to spill the beans on the region's best hikes, vistas, and adventures. Stay tuned to his blog for trail reports, new activities, and more.
Mark runs the activities program at Larsmont Cottages which is open to all guests of Odyssey Resorts.