Today I headed up the Echo Trail to a hiking trail in the Superior Forest called the Bass Lake Trail. On the way I drove by Shagawa Lake and couldn’t help but stop (on the road) to open my car window and make a couple of photographs of the clouds reflecting in the lake. One of the beauties of traveling the roads around Ely this time of year is that it is often safe to simply stop in the road and pause to make a photograph, something I’d never think of doing in the Minneapolis area.
Here’s another view of the clouds in the lake. It was a beautiful morning to be out after having snow all day Monday and waiting for most of the snow to melt yesterday.
This time of year it seems that there is water running everywhere. Even on the high ridge trails there were often places with a lot of surface water puddled.
I’ve begun seeing wildflowers blooming here and there in the forest. They are few and far between but oh, so precious to me.
There was a big blow-down around Ely late last summer. The Bass Lake Trail was hit severely by the blow-down. I was often surrounded by downed trees that had been sawed up to clear a place to hike on the trail. In places a huge tree was uprooted and the tree root covered half the trail. It was sobering to see the number of trees that were felled by a single strong windstorm. Sam told me that the forest service crew he worked on spent over 2 weeks clearing the Bass Lake Trails last fall after the blow-down.
I wish I had photos of the steep rocky parts of the trail but I notice in hindsight that I only photographed the easy portions of the trail—probably because I was too busy making sure I didn’t fall climbing or descending the steep rocky parts. I brought my hiking poles with me on the trek and was so glad I had them! Even though it’s a little awkward stopping to make a photo with hiking poles around my wrists, I wouldn’t have been brave enough to hike parts of this trail without their help.
There was a waterfall I was hiking towards, so I carried my tripod along as well as my camera, hoping to make some photos of the waterfall. The trail was so challenging and tiring that I turned around before I got to the waterfall. Since I was carrying the darn tripod I decided to get some use out of it. I stopped, set up my tripod, and took a selfie with my camera on a 10-second delay, just so that I could tell myself it was worth carrying it all the way.
I happened upon the remaining feathers of a woodpecker that became a meal for some larger creature. I stopped and said a little blessing for the bird that lost its life and the creature that it fed.
I met no one the entire time I was on the trail. Taking a solitary hike among the tall red pines is a spiritual experience for me. It fills me with joy and even though I was totally tired at the end of my 2-hour trek I’m so thankful for the gift of time alone with the trees.
May you walk in beauty.