I snuck out on you. I'm in Duluth, MN. Though I am not much of a driver/navigator, I drove there on my own for the first time and made it safely. Yay, me!
Aaron has been working out of town, often in Duluth, four of the past five weeks. Since we miss each other, and I don't have to punch a clock, I came out to see him for a few days.
I have only been here one other time -- years ago -- at night. All I remember was a city on a big hill with lots of industry in beautiful Lake Superior. That is still the same. But this time, as I am on my own during the day, I venture out to the woods in the middle of town. I have been surprised by what I've encountered so far.
Before I moved to da U.P., I was more afraid of the woods than the city. The woods were scary and unknown, and the city was full of places to shop and exciting things to do. Now, when I go to a city, I look for the woods. And there, I am at home. This change in perspective amazes me.
Yesterday I found the trails along Chester Creek. Trails wind along each side of this creek. It was fun for me to hike up and down the trails to the creek and back up along the way. I noticed that improvements had recently been made on the paths and sidewalls. That's right, I reminded myself, this area flooded this summer, and they had to rebuild. It looks like they made quick work of it. Way to go, Duluth!
I was so glad to be among the canyon walls, trickling streams and rocky paths, that I really didn't want to come out. But I got thirsty and hungry, so I found my way back to the house I was staying at.
This morning, as I was looking for a place to go mountain biking, I saw a little snippet on a map that mentioned a canyon trail. Yeah, baby! I'm hiking there first! I walked the streets until I found Congdon Park. This was really awesome too with 30 foot canyon walls and multiple waterfalls. This one had lots of bridges crossing the water many times, but I tried jumping rocks when I could. I only got one slightly wet foot, but it was worth it.
I noticed many ways that Duluth is like Copper Harbor. For one, if I'm going to the woods, I'm either climbing or descending in elevation. It's fun to go up and get all sweaty, then come back down like the breeze. Also, lots of the local flora is the same. Here I found tansy, aster, wild rose, snowberry, yarrow, norther bush honeysuckle and even thimbleberry! Something about all the cars cruising on bridges over my head wasn't quite the same, though.
My favorite likeness is Lake Superior. I get a view of her right outside my hotel room. And, though I take a bridge over the highway to get there, she is right across the street! I went to her shore this morning to relish in her waves and vastness. The shoreline here is quite similar with the red swirled boulders and smooth beach rocks.
I'm slowly adjusting to the traffic, and I'm not as nervous as I was when I first arrived. I'm always surprised what a shock cities are to me. Especially if I have to navigate and drive myself. But once I cross that bridge to Wisconsin, the ride is easy going. Thank goodness!
By the way, if you want to read more about how it is for us Harborites to go to town, check out my article "Going to Town" in the virtual Copper UP. It's on pages 6 and 7. But don't skip right to it because my article about the Astor House Museum made the front page! Happy reading!