Don’t be afraid to scale down beside waterfalls.

Standing by the Mouth of the Huron River

Standing by the Mouth of the Huron River

I could tell you stories.

Every walk in nature writes a novella.

If you look carefully you can find the characters, the plot, the resolution.

Would you like to read four short stories?  (I promise they shall be short.)  At least I will try.

Driftwood in Lake Superior

Driftwood in Lake Superior

1.  The Mouth of the Huron Biting Fly Saga

We live near a paradise of secluded sandy beach known as the Mouth of the Huron.  Way, way from civilization it meanders along the Lake Superior shore, taking its sweet time, hosting eagles and driftwood and overlooking the Huron Islands five miles away.

To walk along this delightful half-forgotten stretch ignites such feeling of peace and contentment.  Except when the flies bite.  If the flies are biting, one must not stop walking.  If one ceases forward momentum, dozens of flies attach and latch on.  Bug spray helps, but cannot entirely succeed.

One finds owl feathers, sacred rocks, twisted sticks.

If the price of paradise is biting flies, would you walk?  Or would you run to the car?

Floating by

Floating by

2.  Freezing Silver River

One of us wanted to wade in the Silver River.  We took off sneakers, donned water shoes, and immersed.

One of us gasped uncontrollably.

Ice cold freezing water!  One might swear icebergs floated here not long ago.

Feet threatened to turn blue.

Hiker dashed to shore.

Two bald eagles meandered overhead, oblivious to the blue toes.

Another of us soaked our sneaker in mud.

We returned home, filled with nature’s beauty.  We thanked the Universe for its magnificence.

Tall trees by the Slate River

Tall trees by the Slate River

#3  Slate River hike

OK, so if it’s impossible to walk in the rivers because of cold, let’s hike beside them.

Let’s call a friend.

Let’s arrange to meet at 4:15 p.m.

Let’s sit by the Slate River and wait and wait and wait for friend to arrive. Fifteen minutes pass.  You wonder where she is. When, suddenly–there’s the friend, walking toward you.

She’s been there all along!  We just didn’t see her car, parked ahead behind lush green trees.

Let’s climb high up on the ridge overlooking the rushing river.  Those of us out of shape may pant and sweat.  The rest of us exclaim over the beauty. (Or perhaps we do both.)

“We should do this more often,” we say.

Why do we let everyday concerns become more important than the prescription of immersing oneself in nature?


Daughter walking on ahead

Daughter walking on ahead

#4  Return to the Slate River and Daring Escapades around Waterfalls

Let’s return to the Slate River, because one of us dangled toes in the water and determined this river really didn’t feel so cold.  Let’s don river shoes.  Let’s hike up past the “Slides” and then wade back.

We find river sticks to help us maneuver over slippery rocks.

You walk very, very carefully on the rocks.  Every muscle will burn tomorrow, but you beg not to fall today.  You won’t imagine broken bones.

You oooh and ahhhh.  You see a family of merganser ducks who bob over a waterfall, attempting to get away from the river-humans-with-sticks.  They survive!

The elder of you ponders her years and wonders how many more seasons she’ll be able to scamper up and down around falls and deep holes. (OK, maybe “scampering” doesn’t quite describe it.)

Oh what’s ahead?  A waterfall, around which the hikers must forge.  You can’t go up:  it’s a steep cliff.  You can turn around or you can inch down on your butt along a stiff rocky incline, begging the Spirit of the Falls not to take you.  You take a deep breath.  You perform acrobatic feats destined for a far younger body.  You cheer on your hiking partner and tell jokes, which can’t be repeated here, because hiking partner would not approve.

You make it down the side of the waterfall.  You survive!  You tell your partner you are climbing up the steep hill and walking the rest of the way back to the car.  Your fingers claw roots to reach the top. You succeed!

Gosh, can it get any better than this?

Your soul glows.

Circles of moss

Circles of moss

Oh, gosh, I typed 738 words trying to keep these stories short.  Please sit back and enjoy the photos and perhaps share your last favorite foray in nature.  How did it challenge and gift you?

Slate formations and foot down by the river

Slate formations and foot down by the river


Unexpected underwater markings on the rocks

Unexpected underwater markings on the rocks


River reflections

River reflections


More underwater glimpses

More underwater glimpses


My hiking companion

My hiking companion


Slate in its ancient angles

Slate in its ancient angles


So many colors

So many colors


One of the Slate River Falls

One of the Slate River Falls





Hide n seek

Hide n seek


Stories stones tell

Stories stones tell


Don't forget to look up

Don’t forget to look up


My friend, Catherine, and my hiker daughter

My friend, Catherine, and my hiker daughter


Catherine and me

Catherine and me


Delicate twinflower

Delicate twinflower


More rocks

More rocks


More beauty.  Extra credit if you see the merganser ducks.

More beauty. Extra credit if you see the merganser ducks.


Your blogger by the falls.

Your blogger by the falls.

P.S. All photos taken by the hikers with smart phones and Sony CyberShot. I didn’t want to risk dropping the Canon Rebel in the river!

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in July 2014 and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Don’t be afraid to scale down beside waterfalls.

  1. lisaspiral says:

    It’s been a long while since I’ve taken a walk like this. It’s nice to be able to walk along with you in your beautiful photos. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Great photos and short (?) stories!
    Keep up the good work hiking. You will soon be as skinny as Kiah!

  3. Carol says:

    It’s a beautiful world about which to tell wonderful stories, for sure. Oh, and biting flies? Head to the car I would!

  4. Susan Derozier says:

    Kathy – Your photos are stunning, and take me back in memory of all my wondrous days spent celebrating the glory of the north. Your daughter must have returned home filled with all that beauty as well as the love you share. Lovely journey. Thank you!

  5. Susan D says:

    Lovely stories! Hard to keep them so short and to say so much. You rock!
    Ah, what a blissful reprieve this morning, going along on these adventures outdoors with you and your sweet companions. Brilliant, beyond “ooo and ahhh,” photos! Thank you for sharing, K!

  6. dorannrule says:

    I am sighing a sigh of relief because now I don’t really have to foray into nature. It’s all right there in your magnificent photos and words! You are definitely to be envied as an explorer of forests and waterfalls in the wild. Thank you for letting me scamper along behind you. 🙂

  7. lucindalines says:

    Thanks for sharing such a lovely walk, minus the flies of course. I cheated on the ducks and used the iPad to enlarge the shot. Great post as usual.

  8. Loved your stories and the nature photos. Also nice shots of your daughter, a friend and, you. Hike on. It’s godd for the body and the soul.

  9. Lori D says:

    Looks so serene. The last time I hiked was on a 3/4 mile paved trail uphill toward a waterfall. I kept stopping, worried that my age would surely mean I was going to have a heart attack. When we made it to the falls, I was embarrassed for stopping so much.

    Thanks for taking us along on your hike. Lovely photos.

  10. I’m fascinated by the slate Kathy! You’ve wet my appetite for trees and rivers and greenery that we don’t see here in New Mexico much. I cannot claim to have had much “nature” lately. We are planning to see Petroglyph National Park near us next weekend though. I’ll share some pics.

  11. john k says:

    Those are such wonderful pictures and much too short stories. I want to linger longer in the woods. My blue toe stories from this past week are limited to Second Sand beach. I am so grateful that my broken body can vicariously wander the woods and streams through your stories.

  12. P.j. grath says:

    Your stories are always inspiring, Kathy, and these were no exceptions, but my cup really raneth over (sorry! couldn’t — at least, didn’t? — resist!) with the abundance of images, each one more magical than the one before. Thank you!

  13. Heather says:

    It depends on how badly the flies were biting. On our last hike, I ended up running back for the car to get Tony who was not dressed for running. The mosquitoes descended seemingly from nowhere and were relentless. Now today I suffer swollen lymph nodes from a black fly bite. Mosquitoes just left two little itchy spots.
    The rest of the blog, though…you know I’d be right out there immersed in nature. I am a firm believe and practicer of its restorative powers. I aim for daily sojourns, but sometimes it doesn’t work out.
    Your photos this blog are mesmerizing. I love them all, but especially Kiah walking ahead. You can just feel the movement and the hugeness of the forest.

  14. ahhh – I needed that hike 🙂

  15. Barb says:

    Black flies HURT when they bite. Thankfully, we have none at altitude, so I don’t have to think about surviving during their season. The photos show the wild beauty of your natural environment – I think it’s still one of the most beautiful and unspoiled places on Earth (because it’s not easy to get to!). A hiker (tourist) I met on the trail last week cautioned me that there were swarms of mosquitoes in the direction I was headed. She smelled as though she had fallen in a vat of perfume. She may have enticed mosquitoes from as far away as the UP! I had no trouble with them – I know not to apply lotion or perfume before going on a hike. They all followed her blissful scent and left me alone. PS Mary is now in Scotland – she doesn’t mention either flies or mosquitoes.

  16. bearyweather says:

    Lots of memories are grown when you find your adventurous spirit when you are out in nature and go off the “safe” trails … looks like great fun!

  17. Brenda says:

    Oh my gosh, Kathy! Your stories and pictures brought back so many memories from my hiking days along Lake Superior! Thank you so much for bringing me along on memory lane ❤ I showed Alex the pictures so he could see you and the area…he says it looks magical there. I agree! Except for the biting flies.
    I'm so glad you had the opportunity to wander through the woods and along the lake shore with Kiah and your friend, Catherine. ❤

  18. Kathy – I enjoyed reading every single one of your 738 well-chosen words and the oh-so-vivid photographs!

  19. Karma says:

    Wonderful short stories. Wonderful to have these times with your daughter. I find myself curious about the jokes of which she would not approve your repeating, lol. Assuming the aching back has healed enough to allow it, I have plans for another hike myself at the end of the week. I have many adventures in nature I’m anxious to get out and explore.

  20. dawnkinster says:

    Loved “Daughter Walking Ahead” and “Underwater Markings” and “Stories Stones Tell.” Such a good time you had with your daughter during her visit. My latest outdoor adventures are this week. We’re in Maine!

  21. Bonnie says:

    Thanks for taking me along on your hike, and for the beautiful pictures. Amazing how iphones etc can produce such nice pics.

  22. That was a wonderful hike! Thank you for taking us along!

  23. I Wilkerson says:

    What a wonderful (and beautiful) resource!

  24. Debbie M. says:

    My husband is originally from West Virginia and I am from the U.P. So, we go back and forth between the mountains of West Virginia and the scenery you captured so beautifully in your pictures. There are a lot of similarities with the rivers and rocks and green. But of course, home is always the best place!

  25. sonali says:

    Awesome! How come the river water is so clear? Some of the rocks pictures looks as if a gem like amber is cut through.. Hmm… Seems like a good time.. Not sure about the flies though…

  26. My last memorable foray in nature was hiking up a hill in the woods and then down a steep slope into the meadows of Machimoodus State Park here in Connecticut. I was definitely huffing and puffing and wondering much longer I would be able to keep having such adventures. The gift was spotting a scarlet tanager high in the tree canopy and also a spectacular view of the Salmon River from the top of the hill.

    • Oops – I forgot to copy and paste the first part of my comment:
      So much natural beauty out there in your neck of the woods, Kathy. I was fascinated by your pictures of slate in its natural setting. Thank you for sharing this wonderful day (except for the flies) with us!

  27. Reggie says:

    Magic!! Love these pictures… beautiful stories…

  28. Robin says:

    Such a beautiful series of stories, images, and hikes, Kathy. It’s refreshing, even with the biting flies. The answer to your question regarding the flies is yes, I would walk. I’m a fool that way. I went out for a walk in our woods today, and the flies were swarming and biting. As you mentioned, bug spray helps, but not entirely. Sometimes my walk was more of a run. I know I shouldn’t rush time or summer, but I can’t help looking forward to cooler days when the woods and marsh no longer belong to the biting insects.

  29. Janet says:

    Beautiful photos and beautiful words. I loved this post.

  30. Stacy says:

    My favorite part of one of the stories is “Let’s call a friend.” How lucky you are to have such friends close enough to share these experiences with you. xo

  31. Colleen says:

    Kathy, I so enjoyed this. Yes, our soul glows! Mine too when blessed with days like this.
    As a serial collector of rock and small(ish) stones, I am always drawn to your beautiful rock photos. My hikes with nature have been limited this year so it has been thrilling to be out in our hills again, a little bit wobbly but sooooo glad to be out 🙂

  32. Munira says:

    Beautiful stories. Loved all the photos ❤

  33. Sartenada says:

    Beautiful photos. First photo and the path thru forest are my favorite ones.

Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

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