Slippery Trail

jbdenham ha aggiunto una foto al pool:

Slippery Trail

It had been a few months since visiting the Carpenter Nature Center in Hastings, MN. The whole place was still covered in snow the last time hiking there, so it seemed like a good time to go back and see what the summer time offered in the way of trail walking and scenery.

The boy fell asleep around 2 PM on Independence Day and the wife said, "Go take some pictures!" – yes, she is awesome! So I packed up my gear and made the short trip to the Center.<br />

Everyone has to register when visiting so that they no what traffic levels they’re getting, and so they know who is on the trails in case someone comes up missing! One very cool thing about the Center is that they always have some predatory birds on hand inside, so going in to register also gave me a chance to check them out.

As it should be with Independence Day, they had a Bald Eagle in one of their stalls. Even though they are very common here, it’s still pretty special to se them – the feeling they install makes you totally understand why they are our national symbol.

I hate to say it, but that was the highlight to the entire afternoon. Once on the trail, two things were painfully obvious: 1) It was uncomfortably humid, and 2) the mosquitos were out in force. So I was sweating ridiculously while trying to fight off the blood sucking insects! Yuck!

In an effort to make the best of it, I decided to try a new trail called the South Beach Bluff Trail. The map shows it being an "off the beaten path" type of trail that runs down to the St. Croix River, which should offer some picture opportunities, right?

Well, the trail was dirt, wet, steep, and very slippery, which made me very uneasy in carrying my gear all while wearing worn out tennis shoes! Got to the bottom and the choices I had were turning left or right on an old railroad bed. The map did not show any trail to the left, so my only chance of getting out was to the right.

Even though the bed ran right along the river, the trees and weeds were so grown up, you could barely see the river. All you realyl could see was the long, straight trail where the old tracks used to be. It seemed to go on forever!

The map showed the bluff trail moving back towards the Center, but it did not show it scaling up the side of the bluffs, including the initial climb of a few feet just to get back on it! Once on it, the trail was wet and very slippery, and even more steep than the other end! Man it was a pain!

That’s where today’s image comes in. I found the sign to be almost amusing in that the ONLY part of this trail that was NOT slippery was this bridge! It spans over a washed out area that runs down the bluff to the river and was actually quite nice. Tried to capture the trail on the opposite side continuing up the bluff, but there is so much foliage, it’s hard to see.

Obviously, I made it out. No injuries or serious damage other than being totally exhausted, and soaked to the bone! As far as the Center, I think it will be a place to visit in the winter and early spring rather than in the middle of summer!

The shot is a 3 exposure HDR at f16.

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