Definition for Kayak :-)

Kayak [] n. 1. an oblong banana shaped boat with a hole in the bottom from which the occupant dangles. Can be propelled the wrong way up by experts. (definition courtesy of Pete Knowles)
(And I've got this one from Chris' Kayak Lexicon)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Jay Cooke State Park - MN Rovers Fall Extravaganza

Back at Jay Cooke State Park for MN Rover's Fall Extravaganza that had been so much fun last year! This year I decided to go for the full cardiovacular impact and only hike. My car is broken :-(, so it was just so much easier to leave the boat at home. With so much great hiking trail at the park that wasn't too bad of a sacrifice :-). Photo above is looking North on the St. Louis River with the Munger Trail Bridge close to the top and the dam just visible in the distance. Lovely red whitethorn berries are lending vibrant color.

The leaves are just starting to turn. St. Louis River just after Munger Gorge.

Munger Gorge.

They should have told me that before I paddled it last year and capsized partway down :-). Apprently it looked like quite an impressive stunt with the boat summersaulting somehow. (I don't know, I close my eyes when I capsize.) Folks were talking about Chinese acrobatics and serious concern that I would have hurt my back flipping, but I was just fine and was wondering why Mike J was looking so stricken, when I was catching the eddy on the right quite happily. That was definitely the height of my paddling skill to date. I hope I can revisit that next year!!

Lunch further down the River. John (?) and Marsha.

John F amusing Thea. Angie in the background.

I was chatting with Jeff and Brian about this that and the other and about the fact that I haven't seen a porcupine yet ever. Brian told a funny story about the porcupine, that he was trying to free from a large can of tomatoes it had gotten his head stuck in with its quills. When pulling didn't work, he picked up the needle hog by the can and tried to shake it out, which eventlually release a somewhat angry porcupine! :-)

Birch bark mushrooms. (As you can see it's a VERY good year for mushrooms.)

Angie up front, ?, ?, Marsha in the back.

Thea, Laura J and John F.

Big mushroom boldly standing in the middle of the trail with a little friend for company.

My first porcupine!!! I would never have seen that, since I didn't expect them to be up in the trees! Apparently they are really good climbers and munch on tree bark especially in the winter. Apparently we were one of two trails that the Park recommends for watching porcupine. Thanks so much Brian and Jeff for pointing it out to me!!!

Looking up with the porcupine looking down. Isnt' it cute and fuzzy from that angle!!

Colorful fungi.

Light in the forest.

Single fungus.

Weird looking fungus.

Ickle fungi. (One of these days I'll be able to give you a more scientific name :-)

Brave fungus growing its way through a thick matted bed of needles.

Miniature forest.

Chicken of the forest.

Aah! The view from Oldenburg Point. Breathtaking views of the Panorama, St Louis and its "Boneyard" stretch (lots of rocks, wide, shallow water). The pictures don't do it justice! (Especially since it was midday and not the right light to take photos...

Jeff, Barb, Tom, Brian and John.

Credit where credit is due. Jay Cooke is an awesome park, we wouldn't want to miss it! It is always astounding, that some folks had so much vision to start preserving nature and wilderness in previous centuries, when now we still have folks who just would let it all go to pot. When will they ever learn?
Very close by is the Pioneers Cemetary, which is a resting place of folks born as far back as the 17hundreds. Amazing. A lot of it now is only dimples where a grave was and a few forlorn gravestones. Not a bad place to rest though.

Jack, Karen N, John and Jeff.

It is fun for me to be able to see so far into the distance. I grew up in the low mountain range in Bavaria an do miss the relief sometimes.

I like the color of sumac in the fall. Can you tell?

There is one feature further up on the St Louis but after the hanging bridge called "Octopus": It has many arms pouring over the ledge which gives it it's name. That's Class V whitewater in case you were wondering...Check out American Whitewater for more info. One of my brave friends had actually run most of the Lower Louis and past the hanging bridge the set of rapids called Fin falls it the day before with a couple of others including an open whitewater canoe. I wished we could have watched that!!! I know some of our group caught and watched them because they were talking about them to Melissa H back at camp.


Thank you Henry Hornby for donating this beautiful land. You live on in all the joy so many people are getting from spending time here.

Cloud trying to fit in with the trees.

On Saturday night I had been chatting with Pat and she was showing me a beautifully colored maple leaf, telling me, that the bright colors of the maples were her favorite. She had it in her pocket folded in quarters and laught at herself explaining that showing someone the favorite leaf of the day is the sign of a true rover. Well look above, that is my favorite leaf of Sunday :-) still fresh with rain droplets keeping it moist and subtle.

Getting towards the end of our hike...
Waiting for Thea I had a chance to poke around a little more closer to the floor and here is some of what I found:

It's been a lovely weekend with great people and great hikes. Thanks Jeff for leading those two hikes! And also for bringing the Hammerschlagen game to camp. I never got round to doing it, because it was always crowded with folks, but I could hear how much fun they were having and it is kind of a nice memory of my homeland Bavaria. Guys check out a video of Jeff's invention Tavoyager that will revolutionize backpacking and maybe portaging.
Some of the really fun things I don't have pictures of are the Fireside Follies with great music and skits and singing around the fire with is ALWAYS a favorite. One really fun experience was talking to a woman who was on her first MN Rovers event and when we introduce ourselves she told me that she is very quiet and her whole body language was quiet and a little tentative. When I asked her Sunday afternoon how her weekend was she was beaming and inviting me over to lunch with her new found friends and chatting it up comfortably. It was really lovely to see you become a part of the MN Rovers this weekend. You know who you are. :-)