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Waterfalls rise as snow makes a loud exit up North Shore (with video)

Kelsey Dawson of Duluth takes a photo of the snowmelt-swollen Gooseberry Falls northeast of Two Harbors on Sunday afternoon. The ice on the Gooseberry River went out over the weekend, and plenty of snow remains in the woods upstream to keep water levels high. (Andrew Krueger / akrueger@duluthnews.com)3 / 4
High Falls on the Baptism River in Tettegouche State Park, near Silver Bay, is open and raging on Sunday, April 28, 2013. Ice on the river above and below the falls was slowly starting to erode from the sun and above-normal temperatures. Waterfalls along Minnesota's North Shore have opened up the past few days. (Andrew Krueger / akrueger@duluthnews.com)4 / 4

ALONG THE NORTH SHORE -- It was a long time coming, but North Shore rivers finally are breaking out of their icy restraints and once again are putting on a show.

Thanks to the recent stretch of warm weather in this late-arriving spring, the ice went out on the Gooseberry River over the weekend. A steady stream of visitors made their way along the intermittently icy and muddy stairs and paths on Sunday to watch the snowmelt-swollen cascades.

Up the shore at Tettegouche State Park, the Baptism River above and below High Falls still sported significant amounts of ice on Sunday morning, but the river's swift current was slowly eroding it away. The sound of water going over the falls -- at 60 to 70 feet high, it's the tallest waterfall entirely within Minnesota -- was interspersed with occasional deep ka-thunks of ice falling over the edge. An eddy of water, ice, foam and driftwood swirled at the base of the falls.

This year's ice-out on the North Shore is more than a month later than last spring, when record high temperatures had rivers open and running high in March.

The National Weather Service reported Sunday that a snowpack of 18 to 24 inches remains in place in the higher elevations of the North Shore, which should continue to melt -- and keep river levels high -- this week.

Those who want to venture out to see the North Shore waterfalls should wear boots suitable for snow, ice and mud, and be prepared for icy stairs and paths that can be difficult to traverse.

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