A big old lake wind kicked in overnight off of Lake Superior, plunging all of Duluth back into a familiar spring feeling. Not only "colder by the lake," but rawer and more forceful. Part of me really loves these big blows. But after a few days of it, I get pretty itchy. The wind is a constant nagging. I remember being windbound while on long canoe trips in northern Ontario. After a day of wind, it takes on an evil presence. Here, in town, I can still go about my life. But walking the dog isn't the same stroll down the Park Point beach; it's a exercise in survival. The wind blows right off of that scenic 300 mile fetch right into our backyard.
So for the dog's exercise and my own sanity, I did the nearly unthinkable: I drove to a dog walking trail. In day-to-day life, I really dislike driving in order to walk or bike. Duluth of course is full of hiking trails, but I wanted one nearby and, importantly, out of the wind. So we went to Chester Creek. It's about a three-mile drive there. I parked on Fourth Street near the old food coop (now the Burrito Union). It's gorgeous in there, with tall white pines, fresh little waterfalls, and more. A volunteer crew was clearing brush and regrading trails, led by trail-worker extraordinaire Judy Gibbs.
Chloe and I had a great walk up around the loop. I don't run or jog, but with the dog in the lead we had some good quick steps both uphill and down. The creek discharge has dropped significantly from its snowmelt peaks of a few weeks back. There was a nodding trillium just off the trail, and a few huge spruce had fallen down across the trail. One of the big spruce had been cut off the trail by someone using an axe...I'm guessing it was local trail angel Dan Proctor.
I know people flock to the North Shore to enjoy the oceanic views and the power of big water. But sometimes I need to get away from that power and the view that turns into a storm.