Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Lake Superior and the Lakeshore Trail

Shewf! I am home and finally back together after a grueling four shows in eight days. I am ready to get on with the Pictured Rocks backpacking trip!

I woke before dawn that first morning but resisted getting up for quite a while. I hadn't slept well that night. The first night anywhere is always rough for me no matter where I am. Throw in sleeping in a tent on the ground in a mummy sleeping bag and it just gets worse. I do have a 2" thick sleeping pad which certainly helps but it is not my bed, which is quite comfy, and so I toss around a lot. Add to that the fact that the pad squeaks on the tent floor every time I move, and it makes for a really long night.

I did finally pry myself out of my bag and stumble down to the water to watch the sun rise and shine on the sandstone cliffs that give Pictured Rocks its name.

The mouth of Beaver Creek with the Pictured Rocks in the background.

There were lots of tracks in the damp sand, including these turtle tracks which lead from the creek, out a-ways from the bank, then back in.

There were kingfishers zipping up and down the creek. I had meant to come back down when the light was better for shooting moving objects but I never made it. Here is one of their nests though, excavated into the side of the far bank.

Beaver Creek is not a particularly long river, linking Beaver Lake with Lake Superior, but there was an impressive log jam near the mouth of the creek. Some of these trees had been here for quite some time.
It stretched for at least 100 to 150 feet upstream. I can't imagine how high the creek would need to be to get trees this size this far. I know some of them fell from the bank, like the one in the background is about to do, but water definitely piled them up here.

When I got back to camp everyone else was up and around. Our friend Karin had had enough of the biting flies and decided to head back to the trailhead on her own. We decided to stick it out--I didn't want to go to all that work for just one night. We decided to take a day hike to Trapper's Lake, our original camping destination. We had discovered when we were picking up our permits that Trapper's was a five mile hike, and while we didn't think we could carry 40 pounds that far we still wanted to see it. We decided to hike out along the Lakeshore trail, then hike back along the trail that hugged Trapper's and then Beaver Lake.

The Lakeshore Trail is 42 miles long, running the entire length of the park along the bluffs and cliffs above Lake Superior. It affords spectacular views of the lake. It was also, thanks to an offshore wind, a haven for stable flies. I hung back with my camera, stopping now and then to take a few photos, and every time I did I was besieged. I tried to not freak out, kept my energy low so as to (hopefully) not excite the little buggers, and got some nice shots along the trail. 

Lake Superior, looking east along the Lakeshore Trail. The beach was utterly deserted.

A first for my butterfly list--an American Painted Lady!

Pink lady's slipper with two insect friends.

Superior doesn't get any better than this.

I caught up to the girls once at an overlook and there was a breakdown going on thanks to the persistence of the biting flies. I assured everyone that once we got to Trapper's Lake the flies wouldn't be so bad. We'd be on the north shore and there was a strong--20 to 30 mph--south wind predicted, and that would keep the flies at bay. The other option was to head back the way we came, and we already knew how bad that was. So we pushed on to Trapper's Lake.


  1. Enjoyed your post. Looks beautiful!

    1. Joni: if you've never been up there you need to go. The UP is gorgeous, but especially along the Superior shore.