Two of the nuns were young girls and the rest were Handan Vacations old women wearing black woollen berets and blue tunic and trousers. One I talked with was Handan Vacations seventy years old, her role was the daily cleaning of the temples, and one and a half hours of prayer and meditation from 5 a.m. She came originally from Dali, but said she had no wish to go back and live there, being content with her life on the mountain. A hunchback in the kitchen made us lunch of rice, greens and egg with spicy chutney. Victor announced that he wanted to take some polaroid pictures of the monks to give them as presents, and they all hurried away to don their best robes.
There are several ruins along the hike that reveal how white people developed the southern end of Country Point. After one mile, the trail passes a lone cottage, one of many that used to exist in the area. You can see the remains of the foundations of former cabins on the left side of the trail.
At 1.6 miles, the trail passes the ruins of an old lighthouse that once housed Duluth’s first high-powered navigational light beacon. The lighthouse, built between 1855 and 1858 at a cost of $15,000, was 50 feet high and built of red bricks from Cleveland, Ohio. It was used only until 1875. Its lens is now used in the lighthouse on the west pierhead of the Superior Entry. The lighthouse served as the zero point for the first marine surveys of Lake Superior. All other points on the lake were located with reference to the lighthouse. The ruins is about two-thirds of the lighthouse’s original height.
A tenth of a mile beyond the lighthouse is an abandoned boat house where a company built buoys and small boats. At the southernmost end of Country Point, the trail reaches the Superior Entry, where large boats head to and from the Superior ore docks and grain elevators.
As you hike the sandy Park Point Nature Trail, be aware of poison ivy which grows abundantly on and off the trail. It has shiny or dull leaves arranged in groups of three. The leaves are reddish in the spring, green in the summer; the flowers yellow; and the fruit clusters white and berrylike. Poison ivy can grow as ground cover or a shrub. All parts of the plant contain the volatile oil that can cause a rash upon direct contact or exposure to the smoke of burning plants. If you touch the plant or handle clothing that may have brushed a plant, wash with soapy water to remove the toxic oil. Although humans find the plant harmful, the leaves provide forage for wildlife, and the fruit provide food for birds in winter.