Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Trapper's Lake, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Pictured Rocks continued:

The hike from the Beaver Creek campground to Trapper's Lake was about two miles. We were really hoping for wind off the small lake as the stable flies were voracious. What a relief when I caught up to the girls parked at an empty site along the banks of Trapper's Lake and discovered that there were only a few of the nasty biting flies. As hoped a 15 to 20 mile an hour wind was belting across the lake and the flies were seeking shelter elsewhere.

Trapper's Lake campground

We sat down--what a joy to be able to sit and not be attacked!--and ate a lunch of very soft cheddar cheese with crackers, apples and gorp. We had ideas about dipping our toes in the water until Lisa talked to the only other people around, a group of young men who had been fishing for perch. They'd had five or six on a stringer only to discover later that a snapper had come along and eaten them all. I'll keep my toes in my boots, thank you very much.

Trapper's Lake

We came across this green frog hanging out along the shore. He let me get quite close yet seemed unconcerned.

Green frog

Lori found this dragonfly larvae casing. Yeesh. It makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up!

Dragonfly larvae

Since I had dragged my camera and big lens all the way out to the back country I was determined to get a few shots of something, so I left the campground after a while and picked up the trail. I could hear birds twittering in the trees so I stood still and waited for one to appear.

After a few minutes I saw something flutter across the path. I turned to look and saw this Yellow-rumped warbler working the undersides of the bracken fern. He was gathering food for his little ones and was not interested in sitting still for a portrait. I was happy to get any shots at all he was so quick.

Yellow-rumped warbler

When the warbler left I moved down the path a bit and found this chickadee in a fir. Such a cheerful little bird, they always make me smile.

Black-capped Chickadee

The chickadee led me straight to this Brown creeper, nearly completely camouflaged against this dying birch. Everyone was very busy and didn't stay long for photographs.

Brown creeper

We stayed at Trapper's for several hours, enjoying the solitude and absence of flies. Before we left I decided to check out the rest of the campground. The lake has a bit of an L shape to it, and the campground nestles into the crook of the L, so a few of the sites had views of the water on two sides. I walked over to a short trail that led down to the lake to have a look. I heard a soft honking from nearby on my left, so I peered through the trees and finally spotted this Common merganser resting on a log. She watched me carefully but stood her ground while I took some photos, then I left her in peace.

Common merganser

I am usually so busy taking pics of birds and scenery that I often forget to take any of my companions. But I caught the girls just as we were heading back out on the trail for this cute portrait.

Bear Girls Lisa and Lori

The hike back was pretty pleasant, except for the heat. While we hadn't brought quite enough water for the day out, staying hydrated was not the issue--staying cool was. We made several side trips down to the water to soak our bandannas and to rest. The winds had picked up throughout the afternoon, and by the time we reached Beaver Lake there were pretty impressive whitecaps pounding the sandbar.

Beaver Lake with white caps

We made it back to camp without incident. We didn't see any wildlife other than the birds and frog, although that is not surprising. We did see bear and moose scat, so at least we knew they were around. By the time we got back to camp we were exhausted, hot and sticky, so we went down to the mouth of Beaver Creek for a swim. The flies were bad there as the wind was off-shore but we went in with our clothes on (sans undies) and kept ourselves as submerged as possible. The water where the creek meets Superior was a mix of warm and cold, and the creek current was swift and very refreshing. It was one of the best swimming holes I've ever been in and it was a wonderful way to end a long, hot day.

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