If I remember correctly, June 10th was a gloriously beautiful Monday up here on the North Shore. Thunderdog and I have hiked southwest from Reeves Road many times before, but have never gone far enough to see the waterfall. It seems kind of silly that we haven't gone that far (it's only 1.6 miles!), but most of our recent hikes out that way have been short due to poor trail conditions.
|Still haven't reported the sign broken, I am terrible|
The trail, which was a muddy mess the last time we were out there, was in pretty good shape this time around. There were a few muddy patches and the trail was a bit overgrown, but we had no problem following it. There were several large trees down - some of which had the blue blaze on them - but nothing that would cause a rookie hiker to lose their way on this section of the trail. The first section of the trail off of Reeves Road was still dark and gloomy. Perhaps this part of the forest NEVER lightens up? Mosses covered the ground, lichen covered the trees. It felt swampy, damp and cool. This was the only section that felt this way.
|Thunderdog in the spooky forest, again|
We hiked along to the waterfall. Now, I TRIED to get a good picture of it. That's what I do in this blog, right? Perhaps it didn't work because Joe wasn't around to pose in front of it. It was not a waterfall of the Gooseberry variety, it was ten-or-so feet of tumbling cascading water into a root beer-colored pool. The best place to view it was the campsite, not off the trail. Head towards the campsite and then follow the small trail that veers to the right just as you get to the bottom of the rocky uphill towards the site. Pretty little falls!
|Spur trail to the campsite, and hunting stand|
On the way back to the trailhead we saw a cool flower: a little Pitcher Plant! Pitcher Plants are carnivorous: the ones that grown in Minnesota have a big long leaf hanging over the "pitcher" part. Curious bugs will crawl under the long leaf and whoops! Into the pitcher they go, to be poisoned by the liquid inside and then ingested. Nature is so awesome.
|Pitcher plants: Nature's Flypaper|
We came across the most magnificently wicked tree that I have EVER seen in Minnesota. I almost hate to write about it: what happens if other people flock to see the Wicked Tree, ruining the surroundings with its newfound popularity? It is only my confidence in the low readership of this blog that makes me feel safe in sharing it here.
Long ago, a huge tree grew in the boggy northern forest of Minnesota. HUGE tree. Mammoth tree. It died, and the trunk became a hollowed out hole for animals. Over time, the top of the trunk fell over, crashing to the forest floor. It disintegrated slowly back into the soil. The remaining part of the trunk still stood, creating a shelter for a young birch tree that grew within. The last remains of the mammoth tree trunk spirals around, creating a vision of fire leaping and curling round and round the new young birch.
|base of the Wicked Tree|
When spring unfolds the beechen-leaf and sap is in the bough,
When light is on the wild-wood stream, and wind is on the brow,
When stride is long, and breath is deep, and keen the mountain air,
Come back to me! Come back to me, and say my land is fair!
Total miles hiked today: 3.2
Total miles hiked in 2013: 42.6
Total Superior Hiking Trail miles hiked in 2013: 10.9
Total ticks today: 3
Total ticks in 2013: 12