The Swinging Bridge Swings Again

I stood looking at the diverging river from the revived swinging bridge at Jay Cooke State Park and was reminded of Robert Frost’s famous poem, The Road Not Taken:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both . . .

The divergent St. Louis River in Jay Cooke State Park

In typical fashion, I got a late start and my early afternoon hike was now a couple hours overdue.  The day’s light already was beginning to fade as I crossed the St. Louis River.

Jay Cooke State Park swinging bridge

A little over a year earlier, the Park’s famous swinging bridge had been destroyed in the floods that overwhelmed the region in the summer of 2012.

jay cooke 18 swinging bridge 11_17_13

With news of the reconstructed bridge’s completion earlier this month, I decided it was time to pay a return visit to this beautiful landscape.

St. Louis River in Jay Cooke State Park

After pausing midway across the bridge, to gaze up and down the river in both directions, I continued on to review a few of the reminders from 2012 flooding.  

St. Louis River in Jay Cooke State Park

In the photo above of the swinging bridge, a rocky outcropping is identifiable to the left of the fast-moving water..  As we clambered over fallen trees and slippery rocks, we were able to inspect this tangled pile of large trees and branches, already taking on a weathered look as they face their second year on the rocky point.

Remnants of the 2012 flood, Jay Cooke State Park

Some of my favorite trails that hug the river’s edge were washed out in the floods, so my trusty four-legged companion and I headed left to the East Ridge Trail, catching views of the river through the trees and hearing its rushing waters as we hiked through the slippery mud and sodden leaves.  

Jay Cooke State Park, East Ridge Trail

Late fall has a beauty all its own — the leaves have departed, yet the snow has not coated the landscape with its delicate white artistry.  The lines of the forest are more pronounced, and the architecture of the trees is left in full view, without the window dressing of foliage.

East Ridge Trail, Jay Cooke State Park

The forest is hushed — no birds, no squirrels, no deer or chipmunks cross our path today.  A muffled shotgun in the distance reinforces my choice of blaze orange head apparel with a matching blaze orange collar on my companion.  Even though deer hunting is not allowed this time of year in this State Park, the Park boundaries may not be clear to all hunters.  Often, I will stick to hiking within the city limits during certain hunting seasons, but then one misses some of the seasonal beauty of these places.

Jay Cooke State Park, Swinging Bridge

The cloudy sky grew darker as sunset approached, signaling time for our return home again.  

Ciao! ~ Kat

5 responses to “The Swinging Bridge Swings Again”

  1. What a great area for an autumnal walk! The sheer power of rushing water is amazing, isn’t it? You’re wise to be leery of the hunters and to dress appropriately. In some areas, orange is quite fashionable this time of year. 🙂


  2. Oh my goodness, a swinging bridge post! I tried to walk across a swinging bridge at age seven and ended up sobbing and couldn’t make it, while the brothers ran to and fro. Wrote a story about it a couple years ago, trying to make it to the other side at least in story. Thanks for this blog.


  3. We haven’t been to Jay Cooke in a long time. I remember a couple times we camped there and it’s such a nice park. The new bridge looks really nice.

    Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2013 06:27:02 +0000 To:


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