A few members of my family took a short trip back in 2018 to Minnesota’s North Shore to visit family. This is beautiful area very similar to near-Northern Ontario. On our way home, we stopped at several scenic sites, including Gooseberry Falls State Park. There are five waterfalls that tumble down the river past Highway 61 to Lake Superior.

These are the Upper Gooseberry Falls. Three lava flows make up the base for the main falls (Upper, Middle, and Lower).The Ojibwe name for the river is shab-on-im-i-kan-i-sibi, which translates to River Place of Gooseberries. Why is the river so brown? Tannic acid. Tannins leach from decaying plant material into the water, “staining” it to look like tea or root beer.

This painting is of the Temperance River, Lower Gorge. This lively river is also on the north shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota.


The Lower Gorge below the bridge is near the mouth of the river. There is no sand bar at the mouth. That’s why it was named the Temperance River, as a pun on the lack of a bar.The Ojibwa called it Kawimbash, meaning “deep hollow river”. It’s a suitable name, as it is very deep in spots and runs through a lot of chasms. Walking the trail along the Upper Gorge above the bridge is challenging in places.The river has cut potholes into the igneous rock and carved its way down a series of waterfalls.The river is in the Superior National Forest and the upper portions are within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Fortunately, that means the river remains largely undeveloped and protected.