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