I started the day with a brisk 10-mile hike. No big deal, right?
My girlfriend and I walked from our townhome to Judge CR Magney State Park, home of the mysterious Devil’s Kettle. Why so mysterious? Because nobody knows where this particular ‘kettle’ empties out. The river splits; one half continues cascading, the other pours into a circular maw of rock never to be heard from again.
But the real mystery is how I can climb so many wooden stairs without dying. I mean, The Devil’s Kettle hike is my unrivaled favorite up here, but wow is it a lot of climbing.
On the way there, I was delighted (and I don’t use that word lightly–or at all) to see an airshow of flying grasshoppers. Black-winged and purring in and out of long blades of grass, these guys kept me going.
On the way there.
On the way back, they were thudding against me like drowsy bullets. Turns out the other side of the highway is where grasshoppers go to lose their GD minds. It is a crack-cocaine grasshopper rager over there.
So burnt from the sun and parched despite my stop at Magney’s “Drinking Water Toilet,” I needed more water.
Not to throw another Magic reference at you, but as much as I love green mana, in reality, mine would be blue. I gain all my powers from water. At the Kettle, I was misted by the river and hopped a stream and scaled a sheer rock face and slithered up under a fallen tree just to stand on the edge of the waterfall.
I was desperate for more water. Even the tiniest drop would invigorate me. But where would I find some?
I turned to the massive Great Lake literally sprawling to my left. Oh, yeah, there’s that, I thought.
So, much to the chagrin of my girlfriend, I took a detour down the hiking trail called Lakewalk (which also sounds like a Magic ability) and headed for the big blue. Legs of jelly aside, I stripped off my socks and shoes and stomped right into Superior.
Instantly I felt better. It took every iota of willpower not to just strip down and dive in. Why didn’t I? Not really sure, in hindsight. I guess I’ve never really been the guy to come across a body of water and jump in because it’s warm. I used to be too
fat subconscious to do that sort of thing. But I’m getting there.
On the walk back, it dawned on me that I never see or hear about people swimming in Lake Superior. As it turns out, it’s usually too cold to comfortably swim in but right now it’s unseasonably warm.
Boy, did I pick the right day to overestimate my hiking skills and push myself on a long sun-beaten walk.
But I did it. My summer goal of seeing if I could hike to the Kettle from my pad is complete. And I remembered how much I fucking love swimming. Time to get reacquainted. I also need to get my pals Brett and Joe up here again.
Two summers ago, the three of us went on a two-day adventure bender and lived it up North-Shore-style. Best two days of my life.
As I always do when I visit Devil’s Kettle, I try to recreate that same hike. I push myself to remember how Brett got out to that rock overlooking the falls, but I can’t seem to picture it. I try to remember what Joe and I yelled to him as he nimbly sprang out to the ledge, but the dialogue isn’t there.
I think it’s pretty clear that I need to get my bros up here again this summer. More pics, more waterfall-climbing…more tacos! And I’ll be sure to cover this one play-by-play for the ol’ blog.
Much like the Call of Narnia, I have to know: fellas? You in?
photos courtesy of Joe