Sunday, November 4, 2012

Gooseberry Falls State Park: November 1, 2012

It's November.  It's time I got over my seasonal ennui, eh?

Thunderdog and I went for a nice little walk at Gooseberry Falls State Park on what will be the first of many chilly November mornings up here on the North Shore.  The leaves are all pretty much down by now, and snow is not far away.

Gooseberry Falls

Every year I go through a bout with Seasonal Affective Disorder (the cheesily acronymed SAD).  The cold and dark sinks in, and I get moody, tired, and depressed.  I don't feel like going outside.  All I want to do is sit in my big comfy chair and watch Star Trek TNG episodes on my computer.  My October 8th post was a pretty clear indicator that it was about time for me to get out my light box for the winter.

Ice starting to form in puddles and shallow kettles on the river

Getting back out into the woods on November 1st helped me to remember that there ARE reasons to go outside in this strange see-through season, between Fall Color and Snowshoe Season.  First: now that all of the deciduous leaves are on the ground, the wind only blows through the pines.  There's something about the sound of wind in the pines.  It's lower and quieter than wind through leaves.  It's hard to explain, but it's one of my favorite sounds.

Thunderdog on the Superior Hiking Trail.
She doesn't care what the weather is like, so long as there's no thunder (ironically enough).

We took an easy path: we hiked across the bridge from the Visitor Center and then went along the river to the Fifth Falls, across that bridge, and back along the river on the other side.  It was about two miles.  It was a cool day - maybe around 40 degrees - but there was a nice sun.  I got warm and put my hat in my backpack.  I'm glad that we got out on Thursday...because it looks like we're going to have to stay away from Gooseberry Falls for a few weeks.

Deer beware!!

This is my least favorite time of year to be in the woods, but there is a particular subset of the population that LIVES for November: deer hunters.  Deer opener was yesterday (November 3rd).  I went to Subway to get lunch for me and Joe - there were six men in Hunter Orange in line in front of me.  Joe said that traffic on the way up here was unusually heavy.  Probably all of the hunters from the Cities heading up north to kill Bambi in my backyard.

As a kid growing up in the Twin Cities, I was obsessed with deer.  They were exotic, graceful creatures with large soulful eyes and the babies were impossibly cute.  I continued to love deer until a few years ago when I hit a buck with my Ford Escort going about 70 mph.  I survived, the deer and my car did not.

Moving up to the North Shore also helped to end my Bambi Worship.  There are deer everywhere.  Thunderdog has been driven nearly to the point of insanity by them - she wants to be friends, they want to kick her in the head.  As I kid I thought that hunters were evil (they killed Bambi's mother!!!).  Nowadays I am cool with it.  More than cool with it.  I still don't like to walk by a house that has two dead deer hanging from a tree branch, but I'm not going to knock people who help control the deer population.  In addition, hunters value our outdoor spaces.  We're on the same side: woods and wilderness = valuable and important.

It WAS a surprise to me that they allow hunting in the State Parks.  I'm going to have to ask my ranger friends about that one. Until the hunt is over, though, Thunderdog and I will just go for walks within city limits.

Total miles hiked today: 2.0
Total miles hiked (in 2012): 147.8

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

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