hello summer boots, hello deer bones

hello summer boots, hello deer bones

Every winter is a little different, and this one’s primary characteristics have been perpetually white, thick, blobby, and completely unphotogenic. I appreciate the lack of grey slush and the fresh animal tracks to follow through the woods, but any photos I’ve tried to take are pretty gross-looking. I can’t wait for spring.

In the meantime, here are some photos of a snowman Vernon & I built on a frozen lake (or what would probably be a swampy oxbow of the St Croix in summer) in the middle of the woods this weekend. We felt guilty leaving him all alone at sunset, so we gave him a bird companion so they can face the impending spring together.

Had to buy all these animals at Walgreens or they’d be lonely

Had to buy all these animals at Walgreens or they’d be lonely

North Trip - Monday 9/17/12 - Tuesday 9/18/12

Had breakfast on pebbly beach by the abandoned boat house with seagulls and geese; learned that seagulls and geese like cheese sauce and hate canned pears. Drove up the Gunflint Trail into Superior National Forest to the East Bearskin campground. Swam in the lake even though it was about 50 degrees and cloudy. Put on winter clothes and left food out for chipmunks. Went for a long walk along the trails to the beaver dam lake, saw a grouse who was not happy to see us, and heard eerie loon calls echoing through the woods all afternoon & evening. Collected firewood on our way back to our campsite, where we found out that chipmunks love almonds but don’t care for crackers or tortilla chips, and will reluctantly eat bread if you don’t give them anything else. Built little boats as it grew dark and released our fleet on the glassy surface of East Bearskin at dusk. Campfire and food as it dropped below freezing. I’m afraid of the dark like always. In the morning we stopped at a nice little river off the Gunflint Trail and placed our dashboard deer skills to rest in the shallow water — a much better resting place than the hunter’s dumping ravine where we picked them up. Miscellaneous stops along the way home, and took a nice hitchhiking hipster couple to Two Harbors. Driftwood & seagulls that didn’t understand they were being fed. Home.

North Trip - Sunday 9/16/12

Stopped on Superior in the morning when it was foggy & white. Stopped at river with a sign telling us there was no public land on either side of the river from the road to the lake, so we took off our shoes and walked IN the river instead. Feet nibbled by little fish in the shallows, hid shoes in the woods & walked on slippery river rocks through the tunnel to the train bridge, climbed & sat on train bridge, bandaid on foot, stopped at tiny abandoned church. Picnic & beer on warm secluded rocky Superior shore off of Stoney Point Road. Vernon went a lot deeper into the cold cold water than me & found metal pieces presumably from an old wood stove, while I obsessed over my genius invention of putting food & things in the lake as refrigeration. Stopped at jerk flea market and awkward antique sale. Parked outside Palisade Head and walked up instead of driving to the parking lot at the top because fuck state parks. Left the trail and walked across rocks covered in the most beautiful lichens and the trees were autumny and backlit and thousands of dragonflies flew through the air wherever you looked. Found deer bones & later a bird skull and spine. Spotted a distant cliff and found old trails through the woods to get there. Got to the cliffs and threw rocks & branches down to see what would happen to your skeleton if you fell into Lake Superior from a height of 300ft (it would explode into tiny tiny bits on the rocks below). Brave chipmunks at actual Palisade Head. The restaurant owners of Grand Marais are very dumb, surprising no one. Walked in the pitch black with a lantern through the woods and out onto the rocky pier with food and ate beside the invisible crashing waves. Scared some poor little sleeping shore bird. Checked into the motel, then took beers & flashlights out onto the pebbly beach and started a tiny fire with driftwood that others had collected before us. Heard spooky things creeping along the beach & left for bed.

Still one more North trip post coming.

North Trip - Saturday 9/15/12

Went to bone place & collected deer skulls to put on the dashboard of the rental car, to keep us company. Dead ends & state parks are dumb, surprising no one. Watched buck eating in a field & he scratched his face with a rear hoof. Drove on a road under a train bridge at the same rate as the train. Cemetery with soft moss instead of grass & a dead sparrow. Through the woods behind the cemetery to the beaver dam. Deserted Wisconsin Point (largest freshwater sandbar in the world it said? Basically a thin strip of land with beach all down the Superior side) close to sundown when it was really too cold to swim. Beach picnic & feeding 50+ seagull friends. Tried to swim in freezing water & giant waves. 50 or so sand flea bites which I only learned of days later, they are miserable, I currently do not recommend ever setting foot on a beach ever. Changed from swimming things into winter coats because it was that cold, and walked on sunset driftwood beach. Driftwood is like tree skeletons and beaches are graveyards. Duluth cabin, firepit and beers and marshmallows. Walked down to the water and sat on rocks also with beers, didn’t fall in.

100+ photos is too many for one tumblr post, so more to follow. Also Vernon is the one who finds all the cool places for us to go, I take no credit.