A Hike to Bridal Falls

Ever since it started raining in early September, we have been talking about Bridal Falls. With all of the water that has fallen, we knew that the falls had to be running like we'd not seen before. The challenge was getting there.....and this proved itself true in a couple of ways.

Greg pulled the boat up in the usual place, just to the west of the creek. It's probably south, if I were to get technical with a compass, but it is easier for me to orient by saying west. We all got out, and found that without hip waders, we weren't going anywhere. The creek was easily overflowing whatever "banks" it might have had at one time, and had spread throughout all of the surrounding woods. The trail was no where in sight. We decided that we would need to get back in the boat, and try mooring more to the west of the usual trailhead---towards where the large hill that makes up so much of the south shore of Gunflint Lake might offer some higher and drier ground.

We found a new place to tie up the boat, and proceeded to disembark right through the dense shore brush, and pick our way through the woods. We headed generally in the direction of the falls, and for the most part were able to initially keep our feet dry. Soon that changed. We got into a large area that had been burned in the spring, and it, too, had standing water. Downed trees, blackened with char, sometimes allowed for crossing, if they were sturdy enough. Since Greg and I both had rubber boots on, we were faring a little better than the kids. But I found it imperative to first brush aside the bright yellow leaves of the thimbleberry bushes that were everywhere. Since we still had not had a killing freeze, the bushes were all standing tall. They hid the ground enough for me to know that I couldn't chance blindly planting my next step, as my left foot is still a bit unsteady following last winter's dancing escapade. It boils down to the fact that it was a very slow hike.

We eventually found our way to the original trail...or something close to it. Here is a photo of Addie, as she walks along side of the trail. The creek was still overflowing, and finding all sorts of pathways in its journey down to the lake.
As we drew near to the falls, we could hear it, which isn't all that unusual. This time, however, the volume was much louder. We went as quickly as we could, even though there was clearly no chance of the water slowing down. A spectacular view awaited us....

Bridal Falls, rushing over the edge, in five different places. I couldn't get it all in one photo.
It was fascinating to just sit and watch all of the water course over the edge, and then continue on down the stream. Paul and Addie bushwhacked up to the top, so that they could see the view of it from another direction. Greg went up to join them, but I knew that it was best if I stayed down below. My achilles tendon has improved impressively over the summer, but I didn't want to push my luck, since we still needed to hike back out.
When it was time to leave and start that hike back out, I wished that we had marked our trail with flagging ribbon. Once again, it was an interesting challenge to decide where to go next.

When I ended up on a log like this, I knew that I needed a picture of it. My kids know how much I do not care to be in this position....but sometimes I have to. Slow and steady, I can usually make it ...and in this case, I could even snap a photo. (Look Ma, no hands.)Finally we were back to the boat, and we started our bumpy ride back to the lodge. The wind had not died down, so a side trip to the east end of the lake was postponed. We won't make it down there this year, but that's fine. The water will still be high in the spring when the ice goes out. That will be a great time to visit the east end, and to see what is left of that beach!