“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” ~ John Muir
This John Muir quote came to mind as my son and I hiked up the old gravel road with one of our black labs trotting happily alongside of us. The hike may not have been long, but what it lacked in distance was more than made up for by the scenery that waited for us at the Tettegouche Lake Overlook.
Earlier in the day, as I sat down at the computer to catch up on some work, I looked outside at the sunny sky, with temperatures hovering around 60 degrees, and the knowledge that fall colors would be peaking soon (or fading fast). Reminding myself that life is short, and nice fall days in northern Minnesota usually shorter, I pulled up the Minnesota State Parks’ Fall Color Reports and selected a park for an afternoon hike.
One of my sons became interested in geocaching years ago. Motivating a teen to voluntarily accompany his mother on a Sunday afternoon hike is not the easiest task, but when I discovered a new geocaching challenge created by the Minnesota State Parks, the Minnesota State Parks Geocaching Avian Adventure, I had more than just the dog as a willing hiking companion.
We drove along Scenic Highway 61 to Gooseberry State Park (more about that in a future post), and after a short hike there, drove further north to Tettegouche State Park. We have hiked Tettegouche many times, but find it hard to tear ourselves away from the classic views of Shovel Point and other Lake Superior vistas. With the geocaching activity determining our trails for the day, we found ourselves exploring a section of the Park new to us inland from Lake Superior, at the Tettegouche Lake Overlook Trail.
The trail followed an old gravel road, climbing steeply through forests of still-turning golden-leaved maples and crimson-leaved oaks. Branching off from the gravel road, the trail turned into a dirt path winding through the woods and making its way toward Lake Superior. Acorns were scattered along the narrow path, like bread crumbs marking our way.
As the trail opened to the rocky ledge, we were amazed by the palette of fall colors stretching for miles in all directions. The leaves seemed somewhat lackluster along the highway as we drove to the Park, so I was prepared for an underwhelming display as compared to the year before. What a wonderful surprise to see the late afternoon sunlight illuminating the classic colors of autumn — rich golds, oranges and reds, in sharp contrast to the bright blue of Tettegouche Lake below, and Lake Superior far off in the distance. The colors changed in intensity as the sun sank lower in the sky. I reluctantly turned away from the scene to head back down the trail.
The task list looks the same as it did the day before, the laundry baskets are full. But, when you are given the gift of a fall day like we had yesterday, a person is wise to heed the words of John Muir and refuel both body and soul with the beauty of nature.
Ciao! ~ Kat B.