TEMPERANCE RIVER STATE PARK
LENGTH 6.3 miles TIME 3:45 DIFFICULTY Moderate-Difficult
ROUTE-FINDING MAPS & PERMITS
DNR Temperance River State Park map. McKenzie Map 102 (Lutsen and Tofte). USGS quads: Tofte and Schroder. A permit is not required if hikers use the parking lots along U.S. Highway 61.
GETTING THERE The trailhead is located on U.S. Highway 61 in southern Cook County at the parking lot just west of the Temperance River.
TRAILHEAD GPS 47c 33′ 16.1″ N 90° 52′ 28.9″ W
Cross River got its name from a cross erected at the mouth of the river by Father Frederick Baraga, a missionary priest, to mark his safe passage across Lake Superior after being caught in a storm during the crossing. Father Baraga, called the snowshoe priest by the Ojibwa, immigrated to the U.S. from Yugoslavia in 1830 to work as a missionary among the Native Americans. He was responsible for translating the Bible into Ojibwa, and writing the first Ojibwa grammar book and dictionary.
Father Baraga shuddered at the thought of the long paddle along the lake shoreline when he and an Indian guide set out in a canoe from Wisconsin’s South Shore for Grand Portage. Since the weather was favorable and the lake calm, the two set out across the lake hoping to eliminate almost 150 miles of paddling. However, once in the middle of the great lake, a storm arose and the two feared for their lives. They had to work hard to keep the canoe from being swamped by the large waves. Eventually they drew near to the North Shore, but then had to find a way to land the canoe without getting it smashed by the waves against the rocks. A wave, perhaps sent from heaven, carried the canoe safely over the bar at the mouth of the Cross River, delivering them into the calmer waters of this small lagoon. In honor of their deliverance, Father Baraga erected a wooden cross at the site and the river got its name. Today a cement cross commemorates this historic event.
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