Monday, October 15, 2012

Gooseberry Falls State Park: October 8, 2012

It happened more quickly than I thought it would.  Two beautiful weekends on the North Shore, one week gone to a conference, one week of busy work...and here we are.  Summer is over and gone.  The glory of autumn has ended and we're onto what locals are hyping as the "see-through season" - when all the leaves have fallen and you can see long distances through the forest.  Someone's trying to sell that idea, but I am not buying it.  It's not magical.  It's the doldrums between full color and the first real snow.  It's the seasonal equivalent of static on the dial.

Thunderdog and I were feeling restless so we headed out to Gooseberry Falls State Park.  We weren't all that inspired, so we just did the Hiking Club trail.  We walked like zombies through a post-apocalyptic landscape.

Thunderdog in the thicket

In addition to being able to see long distances through the forest, sound carries remarkably well.  At no point in the hike did we get away from the sound of the highway.  It's amazing how the leaves muffle sound when they're on the trees.

The Visitor's Center in the distance

We discovered that, from the benches at the farthest point on the loop, you can see right down to the Visitor's Center.  I could have lived a long and happy life without ever realizing how close the Visitor's Center is to the trail.  The illusion of wilderness: vanished.

The naked trees waved in the breeze.

The shoreline cut like a stone knife into a steely gray lake.

You must be wondering if this post was written by Murky Dismal.  It kind of feels like he has invaded my psyche over the last few weeks.  The sudden cold, the dark, and the mass exodus of summer and autumn visitors to my town...everything is bundling up for winter.  I have no doubt that winter will be fun.  I've got my skis and my snowshoes ready to go, Thunderdog loves snow, and I am looking forward to the holiday season.  I just need to get through the doldrums.

Every few weeks I have to get to drive from the North Shore to the Iron Range.  It's a sublimely beautiful drive through the Superior National Forest.  Last week it snowed an inch or two inland.  I got a picture before the snow melted.

It's just a matter of time.

The summer's frenzy of hiking has come to an end.  It was an amazing summer, no doubt.  I logged almost 150 miles on the trail, did some biking, went on several awesome vacations, and got my 25 and 50 mile park patches.  Stay tuned for less frequent posts about snowshoeing and other winter adventures - as well as indoor stuff.  I promise to be more cheerful!

Total miles hiked today: 2.2
Total miles hiked (in 2012): 145.8

Total ticks today: Joe - 0; Thunderdog - 0; Elly - 0
Total ticks (in 2012): 49

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