#49 of my 52 Hike Challenge
Trail/Park: White Sky Rock Trail, Superior Hiking Trail
I want to acknowledge this hike took place on the traditional territory of the Anishinabewaki ᐊᓂᔑᓈᐯᐗᑭ.
Trash Collected: .2 pounds
It’s been an interesting year of hiking. Most of it has been solo thanks to the global pandemic raging across the globe. I have always enjoyed hiking alone because I had the luxury of hiking with friends whenever I wanted. No so much this year. The man I love is someone who enjoys the outdoors, but getting him to hike with me is always a bit of a challenge. I look for hikes that are short and offer what I know will be incredible views. Trails that are rated easy are a bonus.
In looking at the map of what was near our cabin, I noticed the trail to White Sky Rock. I did a little research when we drove into an area with cell coverage and discovered, while the hike is mostly uphill, it was short and would offer the requisite view to entice my hiking buddy. I’d scoped out the trailhead the day before (a Sunday) so I knew in order to meet my goal of remaining in our little bubble, we’d need to take the hike in the morning, during the week to avoid crowds. I was still anxious around other people due to the pandemic. I knew the trail would be narrow and it would be hard to distance from other hikers.
We headed to the trailhead in the morning and were happy to see only one car in the parking lot near the trailhead. Access is across the road from the lot so we carefully crossed. The trail starts uphill almost immediately gaining nearly 200 feet in 0.3 of a mile. It had all the potential to be similar to my hike last fall on the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT). Thankfully it was not. The trail to the overlook branches from the Superior Hiking Trail at about 0.1 of a mile from the road. While the SHT sign had been knocked down, we knew that our path would lead us to the north by the white trail blazes marked regularly on the trees. White blazes indicating a spur trail from the SHT.
The forest around us was beginning to change to the bright color of fall. Yellow, orange and deep red accompanied the late summer flower blooms in purple and the green still vibrant in the pines. Moss and lichen were growing on downed trees and covered the rock open rock faces.
As we approached the overlook, the trees thinned here and there, giving us glimpses of the lake and brightening morning sky. Our first view was a small break in the trees. This small viewpoint could easily have been taken as the overlook. As I looked around at the forest and view of Caribou Lake, I noticed a small trail along the edge of the bluff. It was too close to the edge for my liking but I new the main trail might get us further along.
I was grateful for following my intuition and walking another 100 yards further along. A larger spot on the bluff opened in front of us with a short step on the rock that provided a place to sit. It was far enough back from the edge for me to be comfortable while enjoying the view. We sat together taking it all in. I love these times because being with John forces me to slow down, not rush past. We sat for quite awhile before we heard young voices coming up the trail. A family with kids, a dog. We made space for them to take in the view before they moved on along the trail.
As we readied to leave, the family returned for photos. We waited to allow them to head down the trail ahead of us. Giving space for us to take our own time to make our way back to the trailhead.
On our way down the trail, we stopped to observe more of the flowers, for me to pick up the small amount of trash left alongside the trail. I took time to appreciate this man who knows my love of long walks in the woods, who encourages me. The fact that he’d come with me was a gift because I know it’s not his favorite thing to do. I contemplated the lessons this year has been providing – slowing down, staying close to home, putting the needs of others in front of my own, listening to the unheard voices and giving them amplification, of caring for our world and each other.
I’m curious to know what have you learned from this strange year? What will you take with you? Leave a comment with your reflection on this year. I’m listening…
Next Post Preview: What does nearly a year of trash collection look like? Check back and take a look. I’ll share the what, where and why I feel so committed to leaving the parks, trails and my neighborhood better than I found it.
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