Last weekend was the annual Rendezvous Days and Powwow at Grand Portage National Monument in northern Minnesota. The Grand Portage was the 8-mile trail that fur-trading voyageurs took to bring the furs they gathered to the company’s remote headquarters. In August every year, the voyageurs would show up and the rich company owners would come from Europe, and Grand Portage became a rough and tumble celebration. After the celebration, the furs were loaded aboard massive voyageur canoes and paddled across the Great Lakes and eventually shipped to Europe where many became hats. In the states, the voyageurs would carry trade goods up the portage and then paddle 100s of miles back to their outposts. This repeated until beaver was almost extinct. Luckily for the beaver, the fur hats that their pelts were used went out of fashion.
Now, each year on the second weekend of August, fur trade reenactors descend on Grand Portage, sent up canvas tents, haul birchbark canoes around and the weekend becomes a fun family weekend. The local tribe’s powwow also goes on at the same time.
If you love canoeing, you should plan on coming next year. It’s a lot of fun.
Here are a few pictures: