Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Original Blog Post: September 23, 2009- Mama's Retreat

 From Sunday afternoon to Tuesday morning I went on a personal retreat to the north shore of Minnesota.  We've been having such glorious weather here and Monday, my one full day away, was no exception.  100_2949 I drove up to Split Rock State Park.  It's a breathtaking park that hugs the Lake Superior lakeshore and includes a lighthouse built over a hundred years ago and ruins of an old fishing village built by Norwegian settlers a hundred and fifty years ago.
The only camping sites are cart-in, kayak-in or pack-in.  Since I haven't packed in for a long, long time, I chose the cart-in option.  Not knowing what to expect but figuring I could make several trips if need be, I wasn't too picky about what I brought.  I didn't even check out the path when I got there but loaded everything I had onto my little cart and started to my campsite.  The very first turn in the road showed me an awesome view of the lake and a very steep hill.  I had to lean back with everything I had to keep that little cart from shooting down that hill and out into the lake.  I took baby steps, almost slipped once, finally made it down, still about three more blocks to go.  The next challenge was a small hill going up.  Halfway up I lost momentum and nearly had to back up to get a running start but I muscled my way up that hill.  Now, I had it down: slow on the downhills, fast on the uphills.  I made it to the campsite and determined on the way out I would take two half loads!  100_3047
As I was checking in the ranger told me that the campsite I'd reserved was the prettiest they had.  I was excited about this because I'd actually tried to reserve a different one only to find out it had already been taken.  When I got to the site I didn't unpack but instead headed down a few little paths that led me right out to the cliffs over looking the lake.  Oh, so amazing.  I praised God for my 'home'.100_2958 100_2953

One path led me to this beautiful little bench, just for my campsite.  The view from the bench is the lake one way, and the lighthouse and island the other.

The ranger warned me to keep my food in the provided bear-proof locker, not because of bears but because of the over-friendly chipmunks and squirrels in the area!  Ha!  She warned me not to keep any food in my tent whatsoever so as I was unpacking my cart I quickly stuck everything in and locked the door.

It turned out her warning was not overly exagerrated but the varmints were even friendlier then she communicated.  My first night sleep was continuously interrupted by the scratch of little feet under my tent floor and all around me!  Talk about disconcerting!  I was constantly thumping the floor, trying to scare them off.  It seems all my camping neighbors had brought their dogs with them so the whole of the rodent population was focused on my tent.  They finally let up about 5, when we experienced a short rain shower.  I finally got a couple hours of sleep.

On Monday, I headed out to explore the Superior Hiking Trail.  There was a connecting trail a few miles from my campsite.  The SHT, for those of you not familiar with it, currently runs over 235 miles from the Canadian border to Two Harbors, MN.  When it's completed it will be more then 300 miles long and will be a segment of the North Country National Scenic Trail running from New York to North Dakota.  Awesome!  It was everything I had hoped.  So much like Colorado, only without the spectacular peaks.
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There's a rock formation several miles in that looks like a rock split in two.  It's unknown if this is why the area was named split rock but I took a picture of it anyway.  I also had a lovely foot spa at around the halfway point.  It's the best spa I've ever been to!100_3019 100_3013

Along the way, I met a little friend.  He sat very still so I could get his picture for my boys.
I hiked about six miles of the SHT then headed to Gooseberry State Park, a few miles away.  I took some lovely pictures there and splashed in the lake a bit.  Such a lovely, wonderful day!

That night I experienced the varmints again, only worse.  After just a few hours sleep the rain came with a steady vengeance.  I packed up in the rain and debated my wisdom in a cart-in site as everything I had got soaking wet on the return trip to the parking lot.  But it was still just so beautiful I couldn't be upset at all, and I was going home to my boys and my bed!

I'm very grateful for my amazing husband who encouraged me to go and who is so great with our boys that I didn't once worry about them.

1 comment:

  1. you went alone! wow!! :) i would never be able to do anything like that alone. but i am glad you can do those things! awesome! :):)

    i LOVE the north shore. i LOVE it. i would LIVE there. we try to go there every spare chance we get. this july 3 4 5 we are going to camp at gooseberry falls for the first time ever. its going to be awesome. at least i hope so. the weather HAS to be good. :P:P we hope to do some biking!
    gooseberry is a place i cant get enough of. we seriously love it every time we go. i love crossing the rivers, getting to different angles, getting pictures... sigh. i just love it.