Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tettegouche State Park: July 28, 2012

On July 28th, Joe and I decided that we would try to do the Tettegouche State Park Hiking Club trail again. We were thwarted last time...we would not be fooled again!  We left Thunderdog at home and drove up the shore.  

Almost immediately upon getting to Tettegouche, we realized that the universe was once again conspiring against us.  The parking area was blocked off with pylons, and big signs said "PARK CLOSED".  We had no idea. 

"Whatever!" said Joe.  "We're not going to come back a third time."  Despite my Dudley Do-Right protestations, we crossed the pylon line, parked in the empty lot, and easily found the Hiking Club Trail.  I half expected the State Park Police to jump out from behind trees and arrest us, but Smokey and his buddies were not around.

There were trails "under construction"...more like "blocked off for no discernible reason"

The Hiking Club trail pretty much follows the high edge of the land above Lake Superior.  Amazing views of the lake - deep blue against the light blue sky.  Slight breezes kept it from being too warm.  We could have knocked off the two miles of the trail in about half an hour if we'd wished.  However, we took our time and enjoyed the views.  It's easy to see why this is my friend Mandy's favorite Hiking Club Trail!

Rock, tree, sky, sea

To our surprise, we were not the only people out there.  Several groups of rock climbers were hitching themselves up to the metal hooks in the ground, and preparing to leap over the edge and then climb back up.  At least, that's what I'm assuming they were doing.  You know me and heights.  I didn't get too close.

Rock climbers in the distance - see the metal clips in the foreground?

Out in the lake we saw several huge pleasure boats, motoring wealthily along.  I've heard that, if one is interested in seeing the REALLY big houses on the North Shore, they would need to either go on a boat or on a low-flying float plane.  The fancy vacation homes are all right on the water (of course), and hidden from the road by trees.  I know they're out there.

Thy sea is so great, and my boat is so small.

There were little lookouts built along the trail, for people (like me and Joe) to stop for a minute and take in the view.  Thunderdog would have HATED all of the standing around, looking out at the lake.  This is definitely a slow-walking trail.  For that reason - and I know I'm going to be in the minority here - I liked the hiking trail we took on June 16th better.  It's probably because I'm a spoiled brat who gets to look at Lake Superior every day.  Hiking up into the trees, seeing the waterfall and the river, and enjoying the woods is more of my cup of tea.

Checking out the view...of the landscape!

While on the trail, Joe and I had an interesting discussion about lichen.  (really!)  One of us said that lichens were a plant, the other said that lichens were a fungus.  Although neither of us has a degree in biology or had any way of backing up our claims (out of cell distance - no magic phone answers for us!), we stuck to our stances.  It turns out that lichens are a symbiotic life form that are made up of both fungi and alga.  Algae are different from plants, so it looks like Joe was half-right and I was all wrong!

I'm likin' this lichen

All in all, a beautiful trail in a really great park on the North Shore.  I looked up why the parking lot was closed - turns out, they're building a new visitor center!  I had just heard about that a few weeks ago.  I assumed that, since the news broke a few weeks ago, it would be a project for next year.  Nope!  Apparently they really want to get moving on it (or it's been in the works for years, and I just haven't known about it).  It'll be really nice to have a new visitor center for this sweet little park.

One more shot!

Total miles hiked today: 2
Total miles hiked (in 2012): 94.8

Total ticks today: Joe - 0; Thunderdog - n/a; Elly - 0
Total ticks (in 2012): 48

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