Thursday, May 2, 2013

Gooseberry Falls State Park, May 1st 2013

I didn't have to wander too far for the first Wednesday Wander of the year.  It may be spring on the calendar, but it's still cold out (38 degrees!) and there's still plenty of snow on the ground.  Where there is no snow, there is mud.  There isn't a lot growing yet - a few catkins, some grass, a single dandelion.  But there's one thing that's going gangbusters: waterfalls.

We've had a very long, snowy winter here on the North Shore.  All of that snow is melting into the small rivers and streams that empty into Lake Superior, and the North Shore waterfalls are at their most impressive.  More snow was predicted for May 1st, so I decided that Thunderdog and I wouldn't travel too far to check out waterfalls.  Good thing we live just down the road from one of the best in the state: Gooseberry Falls!

Our original plan was to take the Lower Falls trail out to the lake and back.  I rarely take the Lower Falls trail (actually, I'm not sure if I've been on it since I moved up here) because, well, it's usually very crowded with tourists and the lower falls aren't all that impressive.  We had some company on the trail, but definitely not the crowds that will be swarming about in another few weeks.  

Wow.  Pretty impressive, huh?  It was so loud that a nearby couple standing together had to shout in order to be heard.  Take a look at the Falls in September 2012, and in June 2012.  Just a little bit more water, yeah?

The paths down to the river disappeared under the churning, rushing brown water.

We followed the Lower Falls trail until it disappeared underwater after the last bridge over the river.  The trail was difficult: this section of it looked more like a creek than a trail.  Thunderdog definitely was in for a bath once we got home.

We gave up on the idea of hiking down by the river and headed instead for the Hiking Club trail.  The trail goes up on the ridge, so other than some snow and mud, it was passable.  It also provided an excellent view of the brown river entering the blue of Lake Superior.  I considered taking the Fifth Falls trail, but figured that the trails would be underwater as well.

I wish that I could find a satellite picture of the lake, with all of the rivers spilling spring meltwater out into it at the same time.  It's not easy to capture, but the brown water must have stretched a mile from the mouth of the river.

The Hiking Club trail is the same as it ever was, so I will not entertain you with further stories of the huts and views.  One very exciting thing happened, though: Thunderdog got to stare down a deer at the Visitor's Center.  The deer held its ground far longer than I expected, and didn't budge until Thunderdog could stand it no more and exploded into frantic barking.  She looked back at me proudly.  I showed that deer, she seemed to say.  You show him, Thunderdog.  You tell him who's boss.

Total miles hiked today: 3.2 (2.2 Hiking Club Trail, 1 Lower Falls Trail)
Total miles hiked in 2013: 3.2
Total Superior Hiking Trail miles hiked in 2013: 0.8
Total ticks today: 0
Total ticks in 2013: 0


  1. Such a cute picture of Thunderdog & the deer! The amount of water coming over the falls is INCREDIBLE!

    1. thanks! Thunderdog is nuts about deer (can't even say the word around her) and she was thrilled to get so close to one.

  2. Nice shot of the stand-off! Hazel and I encountered a deer this weekend and Hazel was oblivious - feels so good to get outside again :D