Iona's Beach

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I’ve been stopping at Iona’s Beach SNA for about 25 years on my trips up the North Shore.

Now there’s a big, new-ish parking lot–usually almost empty. For a very long time, though, it was an easy to miss, mysterious place with a tiny, crumbling asphalt parking area surrounded by trees.

That seemed to be it, really. There was no building of any sort so unless you wandered a bit, or already knew what the place was, you might just leave, none the wiser. But, if you kept walking and pushed through a wall of some shrubby trees, like Narnia, there it was–a pink beach on Lake Superior. A pink beach of rounded rocks, not Caribbean pink sand, of course. And most always deserted, so your own un-tropical playground on the biggest freshwater lake in the world. Where the waves swished and the rocks sang.

Iona’s Beach did have a fairy-tale feel to me. Definitely the beach, but also finding the entrance on the curvy, ragged old highway as you barreled along at 60-plus. I first saw it out the corner of my right eye but was past it before I knew what it was. The next year I remembered not to focus on the old, rotting TV Repair sign off the highway’s left side but look quickly to my right for a little tarmac entry between the pines.

Then, each year after as I passed through Two Harbors, I’d wonder if it would still be there or if some new resort or big home would have usurped its place, banishing another bit of magic from Up North.

Luckily, that bit of magic is still around for other wanderers to find, if they look quick.

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