Grand Portage is as far North as the Northern-most tip of Maine, but in Minnesota.
We expected this National Monument to focus on the eight mile trek between Lake Superior and Fort Charlotte: the great carrying place where men carried 90 pound packs between the big lake and the inland waterways to avoid rapids.
And it did, but Grand Portage is much more important than that trek. It was the great rendezvous point for settlers coming across the ocean from the East to meet and conduct commerce with natives and traders already working the new land.
When we visited, the Stockade and Great Hall were closed but the Heritage Center was open and we learned about the Ojibwe, their lives during the harsh winters and how they used the waterways in the beautiful summer months.
All of this was incredibly relevant to learnings from our trip to Mount Vernon, and Washington, D.C. Kenedy's 5th grade curriculum on the Revolutionary War.
I was awed and inspired by the leadership of the women in the Tribes at the trading post. I'm not sure any of us could imagine what it must have been like to paddle across huge, windy and wild Lake Superior in a canoe.
People were tough back then and are tough in different ways now. After a quick visit to find out how we might visit Isle Royal (no dice), we were happy to head back to our comfy, warm sleeping bags and tent.