Sunday, October 21, 2012

Big Woods State Park & Lake Elmo Scuba

This weekend was average. Two days, two activities. Both fun in their own way but each was just short of great. I'm not thrilled to post ether but together there is enough content for a short story and it's worth the effort for the historical footnote it plays in 3 of our lives, 4 with Scooby.

BigWoods State park is a short 50 minute drive south of the cities. Its popular with photographers for it's wild flowers and large tracks of original growth hardwoods. They have a well defined set of hiking trails, mowed wide and reasonable length. Not too long or to short. Many parks have overly long loop trails like 8 miles or so. That could take close to 4 hours. Nerstrand has several 1 miles spurs so we link up Hidden Falls Tail - Beaver trail - Fawn - Hope Loop and that connect back to Beaver and we return on Hidden Falls for a 4.5 mile route.

Hidden Falls is the primary attraction and I'm sure it can be very impressive but it's almost dried up. I thought it was cool the way it was. I get distracted playing with the waterproof camera and seeing how the falls isn't more then a trickle I start making it more then it is.

I didn't hold my breath but I did put my camera down as far as I could to get these. I like both.

As a diver that enjoys local lakes I see this quite often but I don't carry a camera on a dive so maybe this is in some small way, a way to share what I see from under.
Scooby gets an impromptu lesson in rock climbing. He has a leash that is well suited to hold him is he slips a little. He takes to it with great energy but doesn't understand how to keep his center of gravity low and takes a short fall but I catch and he reconnects with the rock and powers on to the top, this time he stays low.

I think he enjoyed it. He liked running in the river on top a great deal.

Below: At the back of the Hope trail we find a table and take a break to heat up some Cider and have a small cookie snack.

The stove is a beer can stove. It burns alcohol. It's lit and heating our cider beverage on the left but you can't see the flame. I'm learning how to deal with that in daylight so this is more for learning then needing a hot drink but it goes down easy. Below: That stove is lite and has a 6 inch flame!

Lets get out of the wood and over to Lake Elmo for a scuba with my good buddy Terry and his lady friend, Cat.

I'm on the right; I don't recall why I'm so serious. I'm putting my glove on so that explains the odd pose.
 Snacks between dives. Jerky, Nuts and Oatmeal cookies.
 I jump off the back and lose my mask. I've jump off a boat 100's of times and today, I lose my scuba mask. Terry goes to find it, if he can in the silt about 26 feet below me. I float around for a few minutes and think, "How could I lose it?" and search around behind my head and find it! It caught on my tank valve and was between my tank and BC (that's a rig I wear to control my buoyancy). I go down to get Terry and after some confusing hand waves we are off to look around. We find a 22 inch plastic conduit that we believe is a gas line. We follow it for a few 100 feet but at 70 feet deep we turn around and follow it to shore. Its unmarked but there are two old post that must have held signs at some point in the recent past.
Scuba is exhausting so I air up my suit and drift. It's  so nice out I didn't want to come out but they told me a tow was out of the question.
I don't normally recover old junk but for the post I pull three cans that are common. We pass 100's of them sunk in the 70 when people didn't think so much about throwing stuff in lakes.

This is North Star Beer.
 I took this because it says "NO OPENER NEEDED" That's awesome. Before them you needed to use a can opener.

We always find anchors. This little guy may be the smallest I've ever found. Maybe 5 pounds. New. It still has a label on it.

We get off the lake just before sundown and now it's about 11:30 pm. I would like to re-author to get better content and story but I don't have the energy and it's only a historical footnote after all. Next weekend looks like it has more possibilities.

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