Note: On Saturday I will be taking our daughter for a visit “out east” until November 10. I will be off-line while staying at my mom’s, so if I don’t reply to comments in a timely fashion, you’ll know why. (P.S. We already cast our votes by absentee ballot, my daughter and I, and we are both very excited. This is our daughter's first time to vote.)
Although it is still October, fall is almost over here. Remember the picture I posted of the wooden-plank bridge a few days ago, the path leading to it overhung with leaves? When I took pictures of the park again this weekend, almost all the leaves had gone, including the ones around that bridge.
The wooden bridge, Oct. 4:
The wooden bridge, Oct. 25:
How quickly autumn passes. But it’s glorious while it’s here. Below are pictures of my favourite little park taken this Saturday. Although the leaves are down now, I still loved it in there. There’s another kind of beauty to the woods when they’re stripped, with the contours of the land laid bare. The muscled leaf-brown slopes ripple up the hillsides, studded with boulders and rocks, and stuck through by the verticals of tapered trees. The little bridges that seemed far apart turn out to be close together with no leaves to veil the paths between, and my “ruins of Gondor”* are more clearly cement pylons of a mid-twentieth-century aqueduct (complete with weathered graffiti). But it’s still lovely, the park, with its smell of fallen leaves and the noise of the creek. Saturday it was swollen from the week’s rain and it roared, echoing off naked wood and stone.
* Jan-u-wine said they reminded her of the ruins outside the gates of Moria. That is what I was thinking of, in fact, so I guess they would have been built by the Dwarves, or the Elves of Eregion, not the Gondorians.
To give you an idea how easy to miss this park is, here’s the entrance closest to my house. That little patch of blue to the left of the railing is someone going down to the park. Who would guess a park was there if they didn’t already know about it?
The photos that follow show various spots along the trail: woods, the creek full of water, the bridges, the “ruins of Gondor”.
Up the Shore.
In case we weren’t certain autumn was over, it was confirmed on our two-day family trip “up the shore”. (We just got back.) The first night we were there, Sunday, there was a light dusting of snow. It was our first this year. It had melted by noon, but it was fun to see it just the same. We stayed at a lakeside resort in the little town of Tofte, MN, a place we’ve been before. If you’d like to see where this part of the country is on a map, as well as photos of the area taken during the summer, click here. I made an LJ entry about it in 2005.
Below are a few shots taken during our stay (we took piles, but I'll spare you). We did a lot of hiking in the hills that range along the north side of Lake Superior, weathered, tree-covered ruins of what were once mountains. The rock ledges along the shore, exposed lava flows from an ancient era, are as beautiful to look at as they are fun to climb over. I am very proud of myself, since I was able to keep up much better than last time.
Here’s the place where we stayed. Our "unit" was on the second floor, just at the end on the left, where the string of condos goes around the corner from the cove. It was late in the afternoon, the light doing wonderful silvery-grey things to the water.
Here’s a view of the cove I was standing in (taking the picture above) in the morning. I shot it looking out the window of the resort’s restaurant, at breakfast:
This was taken at sunrise on Monday morning, right in front of our place. It was gorgeous, and seemed to go on forever. Northern latitudes are like that: the transitional times of the day are greatly extended.
Here’s the view up the lake from our balcony. This birch still had some of its leaves, as did other trees right near the shore.
Below are scenes from our hikes.
These were taken walking up to Carlton Peak. We hiked this trail early enough that there still was snow on the ground. So pretty—but slippery—especially at the top, which is mostly curving slabs of exposed rock.
The Cascade River Trail was new to us, but great. Starting at the lakeshore highway, it went up both sides of the river, which was full of water. It tumbled and roared over huge rocks and into deep chasms, louder than Smaug after he'd discovered Bilbo's theft. It made the creek near my house look like a modest rivulet. The river looked especially good pouring over its falls, with many shades of deep, dark reddish-brown, but frothy like beer.
The river got quieter at its mouth, which passed docilely into Lake Superior through an arch under the highway.
The Leveaux Mountain Trail was another one we'd never taken. Our daughter took a nap while my husband and I walked some of it. The trail began in the usual mix of aspen, birch and evergreens, but on the lee side of the mountain it wound through a stand of hardwood, mostly maple. It must have been gorgeous three weeks ago. All the starry maple leaves were now down, but the hillsides were strewn with broken stone richly covered with mosses in every shade of green. It was beautiful. I wish I had taken some close-ups.
Palisade Head is a gorgeous overlook, rising fiord-like from Lake Superior. Driving back it was finally sunny, which was all the more reason to stop. There are great views in every direction from the head, but I especially love the view to the north of another rocky formation, Shovel Point. The pile of rock seems to be sliding right into the deep blue of the lake.
Looking south, into the sun, the lake seems no longer blue but silver and white.
Well, dear readers, that’s it for fall in northern Minnesota. What fun to get an “instant replay” at my mother’s, starting Saturday. The leaves are only just turning colour there, she says.