Monday, August 29, 2011

Lightning Only Strikes Once

There are times as a photogrpaher when you happen to be in the right place at the right time, and you need to be quick to capture a fleeting moment. Then there are times where you set yourself up for a shot and wait and wait some more. Waiting for a precise moment to press the shutter. Hoping for something amazing to happen. At times like this, it is important to remember two old adages: patience is a virtue, and good things come to those who wait.

I had some experience with this earlier this summer. Late one summer night, a lightning storm was rolling in from the west. I decided to try to photograph the storm since I had never tried something like that before. I set myself up underneath our deck for some protection from the rain. I proceeding to take photo after photo with about 30 second exposures. But everytime, the lightning would strike right after the shutter closed or off to either side of my view. It was very frustrating. But I persisted, snapping shots for almost two hours. And at the end of it all, I only had one decent photo. It is definitely not the best or most interesting shot of lightning out there, but it was the first photograph of lightning that I've ever gotten. So for me, it was worth standing two hours in the rain during a lightning storm.

Monday, August 22, 2011

To the finish: Presque Isle River

Monday - August 15, 2011

The next morning, we all got up going a little earlier than normal. We only had a little more than 2 miles to go. We were hoping that we would be able to be done early, so we could go into town for lunch. Everybody started packing as soon as we got up. It was our morning to do breakfast again. This time we went for a simpler breakfast of instant oatmeal. Since all we needed to do was boil water, it went fast and clean up was easy.

Finally all packed up, we set off for our last day of hiking. There was a lot more ups and downs on this
last morning, with steep gulleys we had to descend and climb our way out of. It was hard, but it kept your mind focused on each step you took. Unfortunately, we didn't make it through these ravines unscathed. Nicole slipped going down one and injured her wrist when she went to catch her fall. While she wasn't the first person to fall on the trip, she probably ended up the worst for it.

But soon, we came to our ending point, the Presque Isle River.

Darren and Mike left to pick up the second car, while the rest of us stayed to enjoy the river. I think this was my favorite area of the trip in terms of scenery. The Presque Isle River has waterfall after waterfall.

After spending a fair amount of time by the river, we went toward the parking lot to wait for Mike and Darren. We were taking our last steps of the trip.

And we were off the trail. In all, we did about 26 miles. We didn't push it too hard, but I'm glad since it gave us plenty of time to enjoy everything we saw and did along the way.

Oh, NOW you tell us.

If only Nicole had read the sign.

When Darren and Mike got back with the cars, we had one more group photo.

We loaded everything up into the cars and headed to Bessemer for lunch. We had Dairy Queen and it tasted great. After lunch, the two cars went separate ways. The other car went through Wisconsin while our car started the long trek across the U.P.

But our adventure didn't stop there. About a mile East of Sidnaw on Highway 28, we saw a column of smoke along side the highway. After passing by, I asked Jon if he thought we should stop and try to put it out. We turned around, poured out of the car, and proceeded to stamp out a surprisingly quick growing grass fire. I'm glad we stopped. With how fast the fire was spreading and with how much smoke there was, it could have turned into a real forest fire. We called the fire department and had to wait for a fire truck to arrive.

The rest of the drive home was a lot less exciting. At first, the plan was to stop somewhere in the middle and then finish the drive on Tuesday. But, we got done early enough that we decided to drive straight through. We ended up rolling into our driveway a little after midnight. Despite all the fun we had on our trip, it is always good to be home.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Back to the Shoreline

Sunday - August 14, 2011

Sleeping right next to the river was very peaceful. But, I think it had an influence in me having to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Justin actually slept in his hammock that night. He said it was pretty comfortable.

We were treated to pancakes by Susan and Darren. Breakfast took a while since the pancakes could only be cooked two at a time. Once breakfast was over, we packed up camp and hit the trail again. If you haven't begun to notice, backpacking trips generally break down to hiking, eating, and sleeping, with other various things in between. Today we had to finish hiking along the Little Carp River back to Lake Superior and then parallel to the shore until our next camp site.

After a short little bit, we came upon Trader's Falls, where one member of our group decided to quick cool off in the water. He unfortunately had an encounter with some leaches. Let's just say, "Sometimes marriage isn't all rainbows and roses. It is sometimes picking leaches off your husbands but."

We hiked a bit more. After hiking up a very tall hill, we decided it was time to break for lunch.

Then guess what we did. Yep, that's right. We hiked some more through the woods.

We found the spot where we were going to spend our last night of the trip. There was two camp sites at this location. We found the first one, but there was already a tent on the site, so we went a little bit further to the second site. The site was small and lumpy, with stumps sticking up everywhere. Well, I guess our luck with amazing campsites had finally run out. We made do and set up camp. A few people had to put there tents on the path since the campsite itself was too small. After some of our group made a very long trek to an out house and had an adventure with indecent public displays of affection, we noticed that the tent on the other site was gone. Before anyone else could take it, we quickly moved all our stuff down the short path to the other site. This site was much nicer. It was huge with plenty of room for all of us. The site also had an amazing view, since it was right on a bluff above Lake Superior. I guess our luck held out.

At some point that afternoon, we made the treacherous journey down the bluff to go swimming in Lake Superior. We had a fun trying to turn drift wood into a make shift kayaks and then later trying to hit our drifting kayaks with rocks.

Justin, the trapper of our group, caught a crayfish.

Now clean and refreshed, we hiked back up the bluff to enjoy our dinner of macaroni and cheese with pepperoni. Don't knock it till you try it. With full stomachs, we sat on the edge of the bluff to watch the sunset.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

To the Top of the Waterfall

Saturday - August 13

We woke up early in order to try to watch the sunrise. Despite sleeping on the ground in a tent, I actually felt pretty well rested and ready to start the day.

Justin, Susanne, Jamie and I were the only ones who thought getting up for the sunrise was a good idea. We went to the shore, but unfortunately, it was overcast towards the east. Still, it was nice enjoying the stillness of the early morning.

This was about as much of a sunrise as we saw that morning.

After the "sunrise", we went back to camp to eat breakfast. This was our morning for breakfast, so we fried up our breakfast burritos. They were delicious and really easy to cook up. While they take a little more preparation before hand, I would suggest them for future trips. After breakfast, we went through the process of cleaning, packing, and everything else we needed to get done before we could be on our way. A few guys went back to the lake to fill up everybody's  water bottles.

With everything packed up, we put on our backpacks and were ready to go.

We had about 2 miles to hike going parallel to Lake Superior before we needed to turn inland.

After a short little bit, we came on a river ( I think it was the Big Carp River) emptying into Lake Superior. At this point in the trail, there were several cabins which were complete with out houses. So several of our group thought it was a good time to take advantage of the facilities. While they were doing that, Justin and I were having fun by the river.

We then headed inland up the Cross Trail.

Eventually, we stopped for a short break where we fueled up with some trail mix.

After going 4.5 miles inland on the Cross Trail, we came to the Little Carp River Trail. At this point in the day, we all decided it would be a good time to stop for lunch.

We were all starting to get pretty tired after lunch. We were glad to hear that our next planned camp site wasn't too far up the trail. So, we took off looking forward to our next stop. After quite a while, we began to wonder when we were going to come across it. There was supposed to be a cluster of three campsites, which should have been easy to spot. But apparently not. Eventually, we ran into another hiker, who informed us that we had indeed passed the three campsites, but there was another campsite up the trail about a mile or two. We could keep moving forward to the next camp site, or back track to the ones we passed. We all decided that we didn't want to cover the same ground twice, so we went on to the next camp site. This was by far the best decision we could have made. The next camp sight was absolutely AMAZING. It was nice and big, right along side of the Little Carp River. Only a little ways down river from the camp was Trapper's Falls.

We quickly set up camp so we could get to relax and enjoy the river and the waterfall.

Getting a chance to sit down and relax is much deserved after a long day of hiking with about 40 lbs. on your back.

And taking your shoes off is about as close to heaven on earth as you can get.

Once we got our tents set up and everything settled, we all went down to play in the river. The water was pretty cold, but anything to help rinse off the smell is worth it. Jon and I then thought it would be fun to try to climb Trapper's Falls. Everybody else thought that the rocks would be too slippery, but we went for it anyways. The rocks weren't as slippery as we feared. You just had to place each step carefully. The hard part was watching your step as the water raced by your feet. It was very dizzying. 

While everybody else was back at the camp doing various things, Justin and I went to take a few photos of Trapper's Falls. We got pretty engrossed in it, because we were taking pictures right up until dinner.

As you can probably tell, I really like waterfalls.

Eventually, we were dragged away from the waterfall for dinner. We had soup, hash browns, and sausage links. It was very delicious. I was constantly amazed through out the trip at how well we ate. You'd be surprised by what doesn't need to be refrigerated. For desert, we all enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate or cider. Full and satisfied, we sat around the fire until it was time to call it a night.