Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The CCC had to PPP

There's a hiking trail at Gooseberry Falls State Park that you probably have not hiked before. To walk the park's "Gitchi Gummi" trail is to follow in the footsteps of gallant men...right into their private ablutions.

The Gitchi Gummi Trail makes a two-mile loop hike on the east side of the Goosberry River, tucked between Highway 61 and dramatic 100-foot cliffs on Lake Superior. You leave from the main visitor center, following the crowds toward the river and the falls. But you leave the crowds behind as soon as you cross the river, on a footbridge suspended under the highway bridge.

The work of the Civilian Conservation Corps, or CCC, is everywhere on this trail. You'll pass a statue of a CCC worker, a handsome strapping young man in bronze. On the Gitchi Gummi Trail, you'll find stone walls that make up the hiking trail's switchbacks. I'd never seen trail work as substantial as this:

Imagine those CCC workers building their way through this trail. First these stone U-turns. Then the shelter overlooking the mouth of the Gooseberry River. But before those young men built any of those, they built this one:

The only CCC-built outhouse still in existence, right off the Gitchi Gummi Trail. Now that just made my day.

The sign inside the door says, in a poor attempt to rhyme:

"If you have the urge to pee
Don't do it here, this is part of history."

It's a nice hike, just under a mile, with great views of the Gooseberry River, big broad Lake Superior, and the gurgling waters of Nelson's Creek. Just thinking of those gurgling waters makes me have to go.

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