Wednesday, September 24, 2014

First day of fall

Yesterday was the first official day of fall. Actually, fall arrived here about 2 weeks ago with a week of cold rainy weather, but it has cleared up again and is beautiful. The leaves are starting to turn. In fact, I could have sworn that on my bike ride last Saturday, they got yellower in the course of the 30 mile ride!

The cabins have slowed down a bit right now during the week (they'll pick up again next week with the leaves turning), so we only had two to clean yesterday. The weather was perfect for a hike in the woods, so off we went.

Our first stop was Temperance River with its magnificent torrents of tortuous waterfalls. Last Saturday we had hiked up the east side of the river on the Superior Hiking Trail to the point where it leaves the river, so we wanted to go up the west side now. We hadn't been up that side for a few years, but from the map (PDF), it looked like it might be a fun walk, too.

It was. It offered easier access to the upper falls and a magnificent panoramic view of the ridge, which was more colorful yesterday than it had been on Saturday. We soaked it in for a couple of hours, walking and then stopping.

The original plan had been to just walk in Temperance, but with the leaves so colorful, we thought we should add one of our favorite fall hikes, Oberg Mountain. But time was fleeting, so we covered the return trip along the Temperance in half the time that it took us to get there : )

We arrived at Oberg with less an hour of daylight to do the 3 mile loop. I don't recommend trying this if it's your first time there! As we were going up the trail to the loop, we met some people coming down. They asked us if we had a flashlight. We assured them we had a few—flashlights are standard equipment in our day hike backpack, we've been caught in the woods too often by the dark! The leaves were a beautiful yellow, reflecting their color back from the canopy, giving the whole thing a otherworldly glow. Beautiful!

The Lake Superior overlooks on Oberg are spectacular, but we were interested mainly in the overlooks on the back side where we could see the leaves on the ridges and in the valleys, so we sped past the 3 lake overlooks far too quickly. We'll come back another day and loiter there—maybe tomorrow?

The back side didn't disappoint. The sun was getting lower and gave a different glow to them. The small lake was like a mirror, reflecting back the trees. We paused and took it in, but not too long! We've been caught on Oberg before in the dark, and all those roots and rocks seem to reach out and grab your feet in the dark. It's almost as if they come alive...

We arrived back at the car just as it was getting too dark to see. I glanced at my clock. We had covered the 2.25 mile loop in about 45 minutes! That's flying for a walk in the woods. We'll be back for a more leisurely walk soon...but what a way to celebrate the first day of fall!

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