Today is the first day of my Spring Break and I'm spending it in New York, waiting on my sister who will be arriving later this afternoon for a visit. For the first time in a long time, I've got a bit of time to kill, and I've been wanting to make another post to this photo journal that I started last Winter Break. I had a few adventures from the past year to choose from, but while going through my archive, "Flume" by Bon Iver came on my radio station– a song that played in the car while driving around the North Shore of Lake Superior with a group of friends in January– and I knew that was the trip that I wanted to recap. I hope you enjoy these images and the story that accompanies them.
This photo was taken just before entering one of my favorite cities in the U.S.– the city of Duluth. Our plans for this trip were fairly spontaneous. I knew that I wanted to visit the North Shore while I was home for break, so after figuring out a weekend that would work for all of us, we AirBnb'd a cabin just off the Scenic North Shore Drive, and set off for our 4.5 hour drive. What I like about this photo is that you can just barely make out the steam billowing from the smoke stacks on the horizon. For me, it's a reminder of the industry that built this amazing city.
Our first stop on this adventure was Tettegouche State Park. The high temperature for the day was 4ºF. Needless to say, the conditions were not perfect for a 1.5 mile hike, but after driving all that way, we were determined to make it happen. As you can tell from the smile on Callie's face, the cold didn't bother us a bit.
In this photo you can make out our trail as it winds between the pines. I had to share this one because I can't get over the subdued natural colors of the different trees.
One of the coolest, most adventurous couples I know. I love hanging out with these two because they are always down to go out and experience something new. Also, you can tell how cold we all were after about 10 minutes into our hike by the way they are both trying to hide their faces in their jackets.
Laura, stopped along the trail to take a photo of something... maybe the snow resting on the branches of the tree?
In this, Kenna is bracing herself on the trail sign just before walking down an icy slope. Shortly after, Ben (whose shoulder makes an appearance) slid down the hill, but I unfortunately did not have my camera ready to capture it.
This swinging bridge is a fun part of the High Falls Trail. It is suspended over the Baptism Rivier, which as you can see, is completely frozen and snowed over.
This is the frozen High Falls of Tettegouche State Park. This is the largest waterfall completely within Minnesota's state border. The water of the Baptism River makes a 70ft drop and flows on to fall again at at Two-Step Falls and Cascade Falls before entering Lake Superior. As you can see in this photo, there was no water flowing this day; just beautiful formations of ice and snow built up after days of sub-zero temperatures.
1. Ben + Kenna (Photogenic)
2. Zach + Laura (Obviously I'm much more comfortable behind the camera)
3. Callie + Emily (Not a couple, but it works)
This is shot from the top of the falls. I love the way the sunlight is hitting the drifted snow as it clings to the cliffside.
A weathered, old trail map along the path back to the lodge. I'm a sucker for weathered maps.
Here's a shot of the whole crew climbing a snow covered hill as the sun begins to fall, casting a golden light over the entire forest.
Our second and final stop before going to our cabin was Pallisade Head. This North Shore stop is a must-see. It's approximately an hour north of Duluth and offers one of the best views that Lake Superior has to offer. In the summer, it's often packed with visitors because there is a parking lot at the top which allows people to drive up the hill, but in the winter, the road is closed and you have to hike to the top. It's a short distance and the view is well worth the trip. It's by far my favorite stop along the shore, and I am looking forward to exploring this area more next summer.
On this trip, I brought my grandfather's Pentax 67 medium format film camera. This camera has immense sentimental value to me because it was given to me after both my grandparents had passed away. My grandfather was an accomplished photographer whose knack for visual storytelling clearly found its way into my life in many ways. I've held this camera countless times before this trip, but this was my first time actually using it. When I grab the wooden handle and bring the world into focus through the viewfinder, I can feel a sense of generation and tradition that adds a level of personal nostalgia to every frame that I capture. (Photo Cred: @lauratrahms)
I shot the entire roll of black and white film, but when I developed it, I realized that something must of gone very wrong because none of the exposures came out properly. I realized that the film had been expired for nearly 20 years, and this shot was the only negative that could be salvaged. Despite my best efforts and a high-contrast filter, the print came out extremely flat, with specks and dust, and a light flare on the side. Normally, I wouldn't bother with a photograph this damaged, but since it is the first one that I took on my grandfather's camera, I couldn't be more content with it. Today, the print hangs up near my computer where I can see it every time I sit down to edit.
Another shot of Ben and Kenna being all cute and couple-y. Notice how close they are to the edge?
This is a funny story: On our way up to Pallisade Head, we walked along the snow-covered road which is wide, easy to follow, and brought us directly from our cars to the top. However, on the way back, somebody (not sure who's idea it was) decided that we could take a shortcut through the trees to get back to our cars. Of course we got lost, and at times we had to trudge uphill and downhill through knee-deep drifts of snow that had built up in clear areas between the trees. We eventually made our way back to the trail, realizing that our shortcut was not even close to being the shorter option. In this shot, Laura and Callie are fearlessly leading the rest of us in the right direction... (maybe).
There is nothing better after a full day of being outside in the cold, than to warm up in a cozy cabin with food, drinks, and friends. I have to give big shoutout to Callie and Emily for supplying the tacos which were delicious.
The rest of the night continued on in an over-indulgence of snacks, alcohol and laughter– playing Cards Against Humanity and going "Live" on Instagram.
This is an iPhone photo of our morning breakfast at the Rustic Inn in Castle Danger, MN. This friendly little diner was just down the road from our AirBnb and served as the location of our last group event before Callie and Emily split off to go back to their house in Duluth while the rest of us got ready for our four hour drive back to Janesville.
After a long day of exploration, a late night of revelry, and almost nine total hours of driving, coffee was a necessity.
Salt on the windshield, overcast skies, and miles to go. I don't have much to say about this photo other than I like the way it feels. It makes me long to hop in the car and start driving toward another adventure.
I write these stories for my own enjoyment, but I hope that you're able to share a little bit of that joy with me. I hope that something you read or saw in here was able to make you smile, spur a memory, or inspire you to take your own adventure. If so, please feel free to share it with me.