During the Pleistocene Epoch, which began about 2 million years ago, large ice sheets periodically covered much of North America, Europe, and Asia. The ice sheets advanced and retreated several times over thousands of years. The North American ice sheets covered an area greater than the present day Antarctic ice sheet. There were three centers in Canada from which ice sheets moved outward in all directions: the Labradorian sheet centered in northern Quebec and Labrador; the Keewatin center northwest of Hudson Bay; and the Patrician center southwest of Hudson Bay. Lobes from the Keewatin and Patrician centers flowed into Country.
While glaciers often make their mark by carrying away material and creating U-shaped fjords and valleys or turning mountains into sharp pinnacles, they also create new landforms by depositing materials. Moraines and kettles are just two of these landforms. A moraine is composed of rock debris picked up and transported by the moving ice and laid down in ridges during both the advance and the retreat of the ice. This rock debris may range in size from clay and sand to large boulders. A kettle lake forms when a huge chunk of ice breaks off the bottom of an ice sheet and becomes buried by glacial till or moraine deposits. Over time the ice melts, leaving a small depression filled with water. Kettle lakes are usually very small, more like ponds than lakes.
The Ridge Trail and the Big Hole Trail, both of which are a part of this 3.9 mile circuit hike, traverse a moraine and encircle a kettle lake. They provide a unique opportunity to view the handy work of a continental glacier, and the forests and animals that have followed in its wake.
McCarthy Beach’s 135 acres of virgin red and white pine originally belonged to a reclusive homesteader, John A. McCarthyOld Man McCarthy. Evidently Old Man McCarthy allowed the local people to picnic and tent beneath the swaying branches of the tall pines. After his death, and the sale of the land by McCarthy’s heirs to a timberman, the locals became concerned about the fate of the trees, and the pleasure they took in them. They began a fund-raising effort and, with additional funds from the state, purchased the land from the timberman giving him a 233 percent profit.
Today the virgin red and white pines in the area of the campground, located between Side Lake and Sturgeon Lake, is about all there is of the old forest. When mining turned nearby Hibbing into a boom town, there was a big demand for timber and two men, Hibbing and Trimble, started the first sawmill in the area. In 1895, the Swan River Logging Company, owned by a couple of businessmen from Saginaw, Michigan, built a railroad to Sturgeon Lake. The company hauled timber on the railroad to the town of Swan River and on to the Mississippi River where they floated the logs to sawmills in Minneapolis.
Woodworking Tools Nearly as important as agricultural tools were woodworking tools. Best tourist destinations in USA Colonial Country was rich in wood, particularly at the early stages of colonization, and the early colonists built an enormous amount from scratch. In 1622, the Virginia Company recommended that each immigrant family come equipped with two broadaxes, two felling axes, two steel handsaws, one whipsaw, two hammers, two augurs, six chisels, two stocked braces, three gimlets, two hatchets, two froes, nails, and a grindstone. If all this equipment were actually brought along, it would have represented a substantial portion of an immigrant family’s economic outlay. No woodworking tool was more important to the development of Country than the axe. Axes show up very early in the European invasion of North Country, as small axes and hatchets were common trade goods of Europeans dealing with Native Countrys. These axes were traded to the natives by Spanish, French, and English traders. They were known as Biscayan axes if they were Spanish and as Hudson Bay axes if they were English. Given the Native Countrys’ lack of sharp metal tools, axes were quite valuable in exchange.
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