Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge lies just north of Rochert, Minnesota, about twenty minutes northeast of Detroit Lakes. The US Fish & Wildlife website describes Tamarac like this:
“Tamarac lies in the heart of one of the most diverse transition zones in North America. Here Eastern deciduous hardwoods, Northern coniferous forests and Western tall grass prairie converge, creating a rich assemblage of both plants and animals. Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge was established as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife by Executive Order 7902, dated May 31, 1938.”
I went out looking for some fall colors on the roadside and found more than enough here. These photos were taken in the second week of October, 2015, on the hiking trail known as Old Indian Trail.
The inscription on the monument reads:
“This trail was used by early settlers and Indians to reach the maple sugar and wild rice campsite located at the north end of Tamarac Lake. It extended east to the Ottertail River and then brached to the south and north the south branch followed along the west side of the Ottertail to the centuries old Indian crossing and campground at the outlet of Rice Lake now known as Mitchell Dam. The north branch followed along the Ottertail River to the outlet of round lake. Five miles north of this location the heavily used Yellowhead Indian trail joined the Ottertail. Look for this trail at the marker near the ancient Sioux burial ground.”
“Most of the maple forests in the vicinity of Tamarac Lake were used by the indians until the 1930’s. The trees were gashed into the sapwood and the maple sap was collected in birchbark containers placed at the base of the trees look for swollen bases on the larger maple trees along the trail the clearing to the north of this marker is the original family settler clearing of Mr. Ole Dahl who occupied the site in 1905.”
I walked about half-way up the trail with my family and we encountered a dozen other hiking parties and photographers. This is a popular place in the fall.
Photos by Troy Larson, copyright Sonic Tremor Media
We followed Old Highway 10 to the southeast and discovered the spot where it intersects with the present highway 10. Note the double lanes crossing from right to left. Traffic speeds by all day, oblivious to this passing lane.
This short stretch is right out in the open and visible from Highway 10 as you approach Detroit Lakes from the east.
This is our third gallery of stuff from the lost highway. Go back and read from the beginning.
Photos by Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC
This is a closed section of Old Highway 10 near Detroit Lakes. It was bypassed and abandoned when Highway 10 was widened and improved.
Terry and I made a trip to the “Lost Highway’ in May of 2011. The buds were just barely showing on the trees after a cold spring. Within moments of our arrival, the owner showed up, graciously gave us permission to photograph the property, and clued us in to the history of the place.
This section of old highway 10 is one of the last remnants of a railroad stop known as McHugh, Minnesota. He also told us one of the final standing structures from the town that was once McHugh collapsed in the winter of 2010 under heavy snow.
A vacant home stares down the railroad tracks from a ridge overlooking McHugh.
I had explored this part of the Lost Highway before, in the fall of 2010. You can see the pictures from that visit here. However I was unaware there was another section of Old Highway 10 yet to be photographed. See it in part two.
Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC
This vacant beach motel is in Detroit Lakes on Washington. It’s right next door to an operational motel, and not even a block from the beaches of Big Detroit Lake. It has a very 1950’s beach bungalow kind of vibe, but it would need quite a bit of work to become operational– it’s not in great shape.
Photos by Troy and Rat, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC
This is the former US Highway 10 near Detroit Lakes. It was closed in the seventies when Highway 10 was widened to four lanes, leaving this stretch blocked-off and abandoned.
Today, deer and snowmobiles are the only traffic. These photos were taken in the fall of 2010.
Through every crack in the pavement, nature intrudes.
The hike through here is effortless and the photo opportunities in the fall are incredible. I had to ask around on my Facebook for directions, but it was pretty easy to find with a little help from Google Earth.
We photographed another lost highway near Bagley, and one in North Dakota, created by a man-made flood.
In another century, this highway will be virtually indistinguishable from the landscape.
This visit to the lost highway was in the fall of 2010 and I was unaware of a deeper history waiting to be discovered. In the spring of 2011, we would find out this was much more than simply a closed section of blacktop. Continue the story here.
Photos by Troy Larson, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC
A photo taken by my son, Cole, when he was six years old. Fall of 2010 near Detroit Lakes.