I absolutely could not wait to get out on the trail that first morning in the park. Karin had suggested this hike, saying it is one of her favorites (she's been to the park nearly 20 times). So we loaded our packs, me with cameras and binoculars and Karin with everything else, and we drove out to the trail head.
The first part of the hike is a linear trail that is fairly flat and passes through a moderately dense second growth forest. I hate to say that I was unimpressed, but Karin had built this up to be such a spectacular hike that I was disappointed in the first leg of it. Oh, but just wait--it got better.
We reached the Orphan Lake overlook in good time. Oh, what a view! OK, I decided this was worth it after all. The fog-shrouded hills lent great depth to the view.
The overlook is more than 300 feet above Lake Superior, which was invisible thanks to the fog. I really enjoyed the moody feel the fog lent to the day. We had a snack (I eat a lot when I hike--keeps my energy up!) then began the descent towards Superior.
Down and down we went until we reached the shore of Orphan Lake. The fog grew thicker as we descended.
We emerged through thick forests into an area that had burned in a fire in 1998. In front of us, past the shrouded trees, was another ridge, not visible through the fog, and to the left, Superior. The fog was billowing through this gap, blown in off the big lake by a stiff breeze. I wish I'd had a video camera to capture the movement of the fog, at once beautiful and foreboding.
The trail appeared to be heading straight into the fog, and I could imagine us getting drenched by it, so I covered my camera with a trash bag and put the caps on my binoculars.
No too far down the trail we came to this moss covered tree, known colloquially as old man's beard.
Before the trail reached the foggy gap it made a turn to the left and plunged downward. The fog stayed above our heads and we stayed dry. Thankfully, so did the trail, which by now had become steep in places and strewn with rocks.
This was utterly spectacular scenery. I scolded myself for doubting Karin in the beginning as I now understood why she loves this trail.
How can you not love a trail like this!
Next: Lake Superior and the Baldhead River