Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Adjusting to the Weather

Bruce and I had planned to go with Lee, Eva, and Tucker to Judge Magney State Park on the North Shore today. We were going to walk into Devil's Kettle and then visit some other spots on the shore that Eva had not seen.

As you may know, we are under a winter storm watch today. During our wanderings at night we watched the temperature drop from 47 degrees at 4:00 a.m. to 33 degrees at 8:30 a.m. There was a nasty wind on Gunflint and some of those fluffy white things coming down. It didn't seem like the time to drive 65 miles and hike along Lake Superior.

On the other hand we didn't want to give up on the day. The five of us don't get many days to do stuff together. So we came up with a plan that worked for the day's weather. First we all dressed warmly. Even though it is October we had on long underwear, hats, gloves, etc. Second we picked a hike that didn't expose us to the wind. In other words we stayed in the woods. Finally we picked a hike that was near to home. That way if the weather really turned sour, we didn't have a long drive home.

We ended up hiking in on the Kekakabic Trail to Mine Lake. Eva had never been in to the lake. There are still some remains from the mining operations of the Paulsen Mine in the 1890's to be found along the lake.

In its day things were really hopping at Mine Lake. People thought that it would become a center for iron ore mining. Geologically, this area is part of the Gunflint Formation which is the tail end of the Masabe Iron Range. There was a railroad built from Thunder Bay to the mine. They took out one carload of iron ore and discovered it was taconite. Edward Davis did not develope his refining process for taconite until many years later so that was the end of mining operations.

Today it was just a nice hike for us. Tucker had lots of sticks to chase. We threw snowballs like kids. Mine Lake is small and quiet but very pretty. It is hard to relate what we saw today with what we know happened in the past.

But my point is that no matter what your plan is, you can always find a pleasant way to spend some time in the woods. The key is to be willing to adjust to the weather. In many respects it was a stinky day outside but we had a great time.

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