Who is Sue and what is Suelandia?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Da nort shore

Hey people.  It's been a long time (~since I've seen your smiling face~) -- Sorry-- That *Cake* song just leaped into my mind.  Dan and I were trying to remember the last time we took a trip to the north shore that wasn't an up-and-back-in-one-day art drop.  Probably at least 5 years--- before moving to the enchanted forest, before our last two cats, before mountain biking...  Long time.  Happy to report it is still awesome.

We've always both liked hiking around and checking stuff out.  Dan, like most guys, is fascinated by sheer rock faces with drops of 20, 30, 1000 feet that would kill you dead if you happened to slip on the edge of them.  He HAS to stand on the very edge of these and peer over into the abyss while I chew my lip and take puffy breaths and try not to suck all the fun out of it for him.  "Cool," he says.

Occasionally we get to a ledge I'm brave enough to scale down too where I proclaim, "If you can do it SO CAN I!"

 I always make him take a couple in case the first one turns out like the one above-- heh heh.

But mostly we hike, and hike and hike, and see cool stuff and say stuff like, "Isn't this cool?  Isn't this awesome?  Aren't you super glad we both like doing stuff like this???"

Hiking is different from normal walking (for me anyway).  At the north shore a lot of the trails are laced with large roots, because there is about 6" of topsoil sitting on solid bedrock in most areas, and large rocks, so you have to look where you're going, but also don't want to miss anything so there's this rhythm you get into where you'll scan about 10 feet in front of you, and look up and around as you go, and stop when you really want to see something so you don't trip and go flying into a rocky gorge.

In addition to the terrain being rough, when it rains (as it did our first couple days on and off), the solid surfaces you do find to step on become slippery.  You can never be sure the foot you plant will stay cooperatively put.

So (if you're me) you adopt this very light footed method of never quite putting all your weight heavily on one foot, but sort of plotting your next footfall one move ahead so you can be stepping to your next *spot* practically before your foot touches the last *spot*.  It's a little like dancing, a little like trail running, but slower.  The other option, often necessary along narrow ledges etc, is to just go really slow and be super careful.

Here's Dan in a rare moment of actually carrying the pack.  He said it wasn't his color, but when my shoulders got tired he gallantly offered to take it, saying, (it had begun raining quite heavily at the time) "That's okay, because if I slip off the trail, people will think I'm a girl when they see this Hello Kitty backpack and come save me."

We hiked the upper Gooseberry (most people don't even know about this and just check out the admittedly impressive lower and middle falls-- but if you go, hike the upper-- worth it!), the Cascade of course-- one of our fav's (but this time we went ALL the way-- more in a minute on that), what our hiking guidebook calls "the rowdy Onion", and the upper Temperance.  Dan found dangerous precipices to peer over and rushing torrents to stand too close to at all of these.

By going farther up, and exploring more vigorously, we found cool stuff most people miss-- like a bunch of little odd caves.  I told Dan to go pretend he was a caveman for this shot.

Also amazing tumbles of mossy boulders, and hidden streams, secret pools.

We hiked the Cascade ALL the way to the end this time.  We couldn't even tell, at the end, where the trail had gone-- it disappeared.  By process of elimination we decided it did not go into the raging river itself, now bordered by vertical rock cliffs at least 30 feet tall-- impossible to even consider scaling.  We started climbing across a stream on scattered boulders, and climbed over a fallen pine, and scrambled along what looked like nothing more than a muddy skidding deer trail along the lower edge of a rocky bluff turning back into the woods away from the river.  That's where we found-- the secret waterfall!  

It was a little private canyon bordered on all sides by tall cliffs.  The stream running from these falls was the only access in or out, unless you were up for climbing up the falls, which we weren't.  But it was super cool, just because we were pretty sure 99% of people never make it this far.  We were pretty psyched to find it.

This photo doesn't capture the maddening height of this cliff, nor was it possible to catch a pic of Dan tottering around the edge before finally getting down on the ground, because I was also laying in my own death defying spot, having a giant heart-attack and hyperventilating.  He tried to snap me being all daring, but, as usual, I just look like I'm pooping my pants.  It was seriously HIGH!

The Onion was a fun trail just because it was not even really a trail.  There is a parking lot in front of a giant cliff with no trail access.  On one end is a big rock slide.  I joked that "that must be the trail head because it is closest to the handicapped spot."  Bing-fricking-go.  It was a mad scramble up and down.  We were sure we were going to get taken out by giant falling rocks.  Once we found "the trail", which they seem to be in the process of building it was cool.  I LOVED the moss.  

 The ~trail~, such as it was, turned into nothing more than a deer trail skirting dizzyingly high cliffs-- over grown with small pines and brush, strewn with fallen trees.  You couldn't ever even get a very good look at the river we could hear roaring somewhere miles below us (it seemed), but was still fun because of the adventuring factor.

Gah-- this is L-O-N-G.  Sorry guys!  We hit the upper Temperance still wet from our rainy Onion adventure-- just before dark.  It was a short hike from a Superior Hiking Trail trailhead we found off an access road, and was def worth checking out--- tons of cool potholes next to respectably terrifying roaring falls through a rocky gorge.

Some potholes were bigger than others.  Some would be AWESOME to dip into on a hot day I bet.

Dan, as is his custom, had to perch dangerously at the edge of a roaring chasm (while I took shallow, puffy breaths, and shuffled tentatively too close to my own rocky outcropping's edge, to take his picture.  The things you do for love.  

Oh, who am I kidding?  We both love all this stuff!  Tomorrow?--- more hiking!  AND-- mountain biking on some cross-country ski trails we found today.  :)

4 comments:

Linda G. said...

Wow! Love those pictures. What a fantastic vacation. I believe I'm now suffering from Sue-envia.

irishk said...

Just testing the comment system again. Love your new pic on your blog site:-) You look so happy.

Maery Rose said...

We hope to make this trip soon and I'm inspired by all the gorgeous views you captured. It's funny that I used to go to that area and just pretty much stick around the lakes thinking that was the great attraction. Then I discovered all the river trails. Wow! I'm glad you and Dan got some time away to enjoy this treasure.

pseudosu said...

Hi Linda-
It was! I feel lucky all this is within a half day drive. :)

Kathleen-
Thanks. Yes, that was strange.

Maery-
You'll love it! I can give you some tips-- well, I guess my posts tell you a lot, but I can tell you the things we didn't get to in case you want to explore those. :)