Archive for the ‘Family – Martin’ Category
The final stop on the trip was the badlands.
Emma in the magnitude that is the Badlands.
This is for Claire. We have an old black and white photo from the same place, but I can’t locate it at the moment.
On the ladder on the Notch trail.
Emma taking the ladder.
Emma taking the ladder in years gone by.
A bit of the terrain of the trail.
It is a rather ethereal landscape, much like what walking on the moon might be like (sans the spacesuits).
At the end of the trail.
Yes, it was hot!
Since Wind Cave was such a hit, we decided to go see Jewel Cave as well. Jewel is the 2nd longest cave in the world.
Since the caves are so close together, people often wonder about the differences between Jewel Cave and Wind Cave. Wind Cave has the cool blow hole and seems more intimate – the passages are narrower and you seem more like you are in a cave. In Jewel Cave, the passageways are much larger, most of the hike is on aluminum walkways, so you feel more distant and it’s a bit noisier, but the formation are much more varied and interesting than in Wind Cave.
This is from of one of the “wet” rooms in Jewel Cave.
More funky formations.
Then it was off for lunch and a hike starting at Sylvan Lake. Let’s just say there was a great difference in attendance between visiting in March and the weekend before the 4th. So, off to the trails to leave all the people behind.
Here’s our designated vacationers – we are now on 17 straight years of summer vacation!
Linda on the “trail” up the mountain.
More “trail” up to the peak.
A look down the trail, from near the top.
Finally, nearing the top, the Cathedral Spires come into view.
In the distance is Harney Peak, the highest point in South Dakota, at 7242 feet. This photo also shows the extreme fire danger, her it looks like about more than half of the trees are dead. It won’t take much of a spark to light the place up. It’s easy to see why the fire danger is “explosive” now and even outdoor smoking and BBQ grills are prohibited.
I happened on one of the most intriguing creatures I’ve ever seen on this giant thistle blossom. It’s a Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird Moth. It was as though some genetic engineers mixed up moth, bee, and hummingbird DNA and this was the result. It was only a bit smaller than a hummingbird, it flew like a hummingbird, but looked like a giant bee or a moth. It also had a very long proboscis.
Universally acclaimed as one of the best hikes of the trip was the Red Beds trail around Devil’s Tower, Wyoming.
Here’s a good-looking family in front of the exposed batholith.
This year’s vacation group shot, for the first time in about 15 years, not in Northern Minnesota.
The visitor center and parking lot were very crowded – so we took the road less traveled and instead of taking the 1 mile hike around the base, we took the longer three mile hike around the red beds trail.
The trail starts off in a pine forest – very welcome shade on a 97 degree day.
Eventually the trail opened up to some meadows.
There were wonderful vistas looking out over the Wyoming landscape and Belle Fourche river valley below.
At one point the trail dropped into the “desert” as the kids called the exposed red beds that is the trail’s namesake.
Up from the red beds, the trail traversed through an area that had been burned.
Martin taking a look at the imposing rock near the end of the trail.
A well-deserved break near the end of the trail.
I hadn’t noticed this strange object in the sky when I took this photo and didn’t see it until I arrived home!
All in all, the trail had great diversity of landforms, and on this trip we were the 1%. We only saw one other hiker on the trail. So we were in the 1% of people who left the visitor center!
We made the All-American visit to Mount Rushmore – almost like a constitutional requirement when visiting the Black Hills. But I sure wish someone would tell me if the cost of entering in a car is a tax or a penalty for not walking in by foot.
It is a nice public space, much like a monument in Washington DC.
You travel through stone pillars with flags from each of the states. There are usually four flags per pillar – if I had to be picky, I would have had each flag on its own pillar and make the walk longer.
The obligatory Rushmore replacement photo featuring Emma.
The same place as a toddler.
The obligatory photo featuring Martin!
Finally, the obligatory Rushmore ice cream.
The next visit was to Wind Cave, the 5th longest cave inthe world, named for the wind that blows through it. On the natural entrance – a hole only about as big as your head, the air is either blowing out or sucking in. This photo shows off the cave’s most prominent feature – boxwork.
More boxwork – this cave contains about 95% of the world’s known cave boxwork formation. It was nice to go underground for a bit to escape the heat.
Some more delicate cave features.
Family vacation is here! Family vacation is here! We’re on our way to experience the West. Our first stop is in Chamberlain South Dakota.
On the banks of the Missouri River, we stretch our legs after a long afternoon and early evening drive.
When heading west on I-90, I consider crossing the Missouri river to signify the beginning of the West. After crossing the river, farm fields are rare and open range becomes predominant.
With the continued onset of hot, dry weather, and much more ahead, it was time to augment soil moisture.
We filled a stock tank and dragged it around to give some plants a drink. We drained about 750 gallons from our wqter collecting tank.
The blackberries are vigourous this year, so they received some, in addition to the tomatoes and peppers.
A local music group is sponsoring a student summer music concert. Martin’s jazz band was invited to play.
Martin stood out in the band, because he forgot to tell us the dress code for the concert – black and white, while Martin showed up in shorts and a shirt!
What seems like years ago, the leftovers of a pile of sand from some project was a favorite place for a toddler to play. Now, years later, the sandbox has made a comeback! It was renovated by digging up all the grass and weeds that had found a home there.
Here, the boys wait for the volcano and waterfall to fill the empty river channel and lake with water. Sand has been sculpted, the hose has been split into two and buried to provide the energy for the volcano and the waterfall.
Success! The waterfall and volcano have both done their jobs and the river and lake fill with water.
I still remember one day in the sandbox. I was kindergarten or younger and a friend and I decided to see why would happen if we kept shoving the hose down into the ground with the water running. It kept going down, further and further, we imaged the surprise the people in China would see when it went all through the earth. However we had the surprise when the water stopped coming up and the hose was stuck in the each – no amount of wiggling, water, and digging would free the hose. Dad wasn’t to happy losing a good portion of his hose and fitting!
Today was the last non-driving vacation day. We arrived near Ely with some time to spare before picking up the kids, so Martin and I just hung out at the public landing on Snowbank Lake.
Lunch on a deep, blue northern lake can’t be beat! After picking up the canoers, cooking them up a dinner, I took a couple hours of quiet time and went back to Snowbank for a couple of hours.
Once I found the pattern, the fish were easy to catch. They weren’t falling for artificial spinners or plugs, they weren’t falling for leeches or crawlers suspended off the bottom in deeper water, they weren’t suspended over deeper water, but they were hanging out about 10-15 feet from shore, so I actually had to cast towards shore from the dock, not out into the lake. The night was quiet, I only saw two boats go by, the same number of Bald Eagles that were screeching and circling nearby.
Today we settled in at friend’s cabin near Duluth. Spent some quality time on the dock.
In between kayaking and floating around on the lake, Martin still found time to join us on the dock for some fishing. He also managed to catch the biggest fish of the day.
Her looks a bit apprehensive about holding the prehistoric-looking pike.
A few ours on the boat yielded few fish, but fishing from the dock provided some pretty good action!
By all outward appearances, this photo is rather unremarkable. What’s really remarkable is the young boy in the picture. Or rather, how the young boy came to be.
About 32 years ago, somewhere very close to where this boy stood, was an old camp dining hall. All that remains now is the stone fireplace. In the dining hall was where his father first set eyes on his mother, (although she did not notice him that day – that wouldn’t happen until months later in another chance meeting in a calculus class at the University of MN-Duluth). The young boy is standing at approximately the spot where this first encounter happened. Happy Martin! (and Claire and Emma as well).
Part of a challenge course out in the woods.
Martin tries to figure out how this challenge works
A small climbing wall, part of the group challenge.
A lrger rock climbing wall, rare because it is guarded by goats!
While it was “work day” at camp, the staff had activities for the kids, so among other things, Martin got to try his hand at archery.
Part of the seasonal barn and horse corral.
One of the directors while i was there, Mr. Jeff Palmer, on hand for the work day and dedication of a new nature trail.
One stop on the nature trail is right in camp, these two different species of pines, apparently joined at the ground.
Another view of the pines. I was able to spend a good part of the day staining a cabin and catching up with friends I hadn’t seen for many years.
To top off our day, we spent some time near the St. Louis river south of Duluth. Eventually the river drains into Lake Superior forming a large estuary and exits through the Duluth and Superior ship canals, and his held behind by Park Point (the beach from yesterday). The Ojibwe call the river Gichigami-ziibi (the great lake-river). It is the largest river to empty into Lake Superior.
There was 6-9 inches of rain the week before the arrived, so the river was near its peak flow. There are the highest class rapids (class VI) at this point and below and ABOVE this picture is the take-out point for white-water rafters and more sedentary class IV rapids.
The root-beer colored water roars through this point in Jay Cooke State Park.
Further downstream, more ordinary standing waves and boils fill the channel. The river was a loud, brash spectacle of water, rock and energy.
We stopped for dinner at Canal Park, and Martin worked up an appetite trying to pull the William A. Irvin, an ore boat anchored in the harbor.
After our visit to the river, we spent the night at Camp Miller in Sturgeon Lake, where I spent many summers as a counselor, naturalist, trip leader, and camp caretaker. We stopped in and ended the day with a conversation long into the night with Bernie, a kindred spirit and fellow top-notch gardener and handyman. The highlight was hearing about his maple sugaring and his first prize ribbon at the Minnesota State Fair for his syrup.
This was a day so wonderful you wish you could lock it up and throw away the key. Martin and I bummed down from Ely to south of Duluth, stopping as we pleased. In fact, it was so scenic, I’m splitting it into two days, since it can’t all fit in one post. We even saw a moose near the road on the drive down to the lake.
It was a rare calm day on Lake Superior. This is a view of Shovel Point, north of Silver Bay.
We stopped in for a look at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center near Finland, MN, to see where Claire will be working this summer. Here’s a sign taken just for Linda.
The hike up to Marshall Mountain was fun.
Here it is, up on the top of the ridge overlooking Lake Superior.
Raven Lake to the left and Wolf Lake, not visible in this photo, to the right.
A replica Voyageur canoe, capable of taking 24 people along.
From the shore of Wolf Lake, looking towards the south.
The buildings at Wolf Ridge have the seashorey kind of look – this is the science center. I hope it’s a great place for Claire to live and work this summer.
A view looking down from Shovel Point towards Duluth.
A rare calm day – you can see Wisconsin on the horizon.
These are some underwater rocks on the shore. Superior’s got stones!
Straight down from these rocks, we saw a giant fish – hard to tell how big it was, but from the only thing nearby to get an accurate measurement, it appeared to be about 2 loon lengths long.
We also stopped a ways down the road at Gooseberry Falls.
The last stop on this portion of the day was a different kind of Superior shore, this one, a very long sandy beach from Duluth to Superior.
For better or worse, we agreed to allow Claire and Emma go on their first longer canoe trip (without parents) with a couple of friends who happen to be brothers and do not have BWCA experience. I used it as an opportunity to see them off and get them up and back. Since it’s about a 10 hour drive, we stayed for a night before the trip and after the trip at Kawishiwi Lodge where we have spent many summers.
I’ve recently received complaints about the lack of pictures of me on the blog. Here’s one at Lake One on the night of our arrival.
And one of Martin as well.
The crew the last night before heading into the wilderness.
The group just moments before they headed off down Moose Lake for points east and north.