Sometimes words of inspiration can be just the thing a person needs to help them take the next step in life. Certain words, put together in the right way, can be calming, reflective, moving, or comforting.
A couple of months ago, when I had my surprise visit to Duluth, I was walking around one night shooting cityscapes when I passed this storefront window. You've all probably seen these wooden blocks featuring inspirational sayings that have become very popular in the stores. I thought it was kind of neat to see a bunch of them all in one spot like this.
Here are a few other quotes I came across some time ago that I like. I hope you find them inspirational too!
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
A Surprise Visit to Duluth
Originally published Feb. 2, 2013
I finally made it into the BWCAW (Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness). Living in Minnesota, I really have zero excuses for not having previously been there, but somehow I managed to rack up over 40 years of them. The BWCAW is a pristine 1 million+ acres of wilderness covering the northern most part of Minnesota and runs 150 miles along the border with Canada.
It’s a big deal to go there. You need to get permits which are given out on a limited basis to control human impact on the area. Access is either by foot or with a canoe at designated entry points. There are no motorized vehicles allowed. No motor boats, no cars, no snowmobiles. There is no cell phone service. There is no internet or electricity or toilets. There are no power lines running through your photos. There are no man-made structures, except for maybe a handful that were grandfathered in when the BWCAW was first designated in 1964.
In other words, you cannot book a hotel or lodge or cabin in the BWCA. If you go in overnight, you will be setting up camp.
There is one road that runs between two BWCA areas. It is called The Gunflint Trail. Look at the green strip that goes in between the two purple areas in the upper right corner of the state. I’m pretty sure that is where the trail is located. Along here there are lots of lodges, cabins, homes, and electricity lines. I was staying along the Gunflint Trail but I was able to walk into the BWCA, where I proudly filled out my first and second Self-Issued Entry Permits.
I have a lot to say about that trip, but the most ironic thing happened on the way home. In my last post I talked about a little ice storm from Lake Superior waters and showed some images of boardwalk structures coated in ice. Well, wouldn’t you know I had a car problem and my royal chariot ended up in a repair shop in Duluth. Here’s where the irony comes in. The hotel I ended up staying at was the very same spot where I had taken those images two years earlier. I didn’t know it until the next morning because I checked in at night and it was dark. Sure I knew I was in the general area, but since my reservation was made over the phone, I didn’t exactly know where I was going until I got there. Same hotel, same bench, same light post that I had photographed before.
I’ve always wanted to spend some time in Duluth. I wasn’t quite prepared to do it this week but then car breakdowns have a way of altering schedules and life like that.
When I woke up the next morning, I could see that there were ice chunks floating in the water. Water freezes at the edge of the lake but as the waves pick up force from time to time, the back-and-forth motion breaks up the newly formed ice from below the surface and that is why you see these various shapes of ice floating around. Sometimes they start stacking up on top of each other and then if a person can get the sunlight coming through those stacks they might be in nirvana because they just got some very beautiful photographic images.
I was about to do that, having seen two small stacks of those ice configurations, but decided to do a couple other things first. When I came back a few hours later, I was shocked to look out my hotel window and see that ALL the ice had melted or somehow disappeared. Look at the difference in these photos.
Then the call came that my car was done. It had been two days and I was ready to go home. The weather was changing though. The temperature was dropping and ice was starting to form again at the edge. I would have to wait for another time.
If someone had shown me a photograph of some guys ice fishing on Lake Superior,
I would have wondered whether they were catching anything or if the walleye fishing was any good.
I’ve only ventured to northern Minnesota in the summertime, and having no other reason to think about this, I was clueless that Lake Superior rarely ever freezes over entirely in the winter. It’s a big lake, as big as the state of Maine and holds 10% of the world’s fresh unfrozen water.
This provides some ingredients for a very interesting recipe. Mobile water, wind, and freezing temperatures are something we don’t see in the southern part of our state. The lakes down here are frozen solid, so if a winter storm moves in the only thing blowing around in the air is snow or perhaps occasionally, sleet or rain.
Up near Superior it is different. When a storm comes in, the unfrozen lake starts getting rougher and the waves develop white caps. The lake is 350 miles across, its deepest point is 1,332 feet, and it holds 3 quadrillion gallons of water. Storm waves can reach heights of up to 30 feet. No longer protected by the warmth of the deep lake (it stays an average of 40 degrees Fahrenheit, or 4 degrees Celsius), the waves become temporarily airborne and then brought down by the force of gravity where they promptly change into a frozen state of ice. This water starts freezing the shoreline and anything else that is situated along the point where water meets land.
A few years back, I drove my daughter up to Duluth for a day during her Spring Break. Let’s say she was a little ho-hum about this trip. Many of her friends were in sunny destinations like Florida and Arizona. Going anywhere in Minnesota did not count as a Spring Break getaway in her book. As it was, someone reminded us that a storm had just been through the area and that we should head down to the port to check out the ice formations.
Here are some images of what we saw.
On a side note, I’d like to wish Minnesota Vikings’ Tackle Phil Loadholt a very Happy Birthday. #71 is celebrating his birthday Monday, January 21.
Happy Birthday #71
I hope you liked these images and that you are enjoying the calmness of January.
I am a photographer who lives in Minnesota. I blog about Minnesota, photography, music, food and miscellaneous topics.