Sunday, March 9, 2014

Cooke Out

Back when things were still green yet cold we took the RV to Jay Cooke for a weekend overnight. Forecast was for overnight lows below freezing but we only had time for a single overnight, meaning that if things went poorly we'd be leaving anyway.

Below is the visitor center just uphill of the falls and just downhill of the park entrance. It's really nice and if we didn't have a dog we would have hung out for a fire and snack, but we did, so we'll have the snack in situ when the moment feels right.

Just down from the visitor center is the main attraction. As a child I'm positive I was here but don't have any memory of it. Probably spent the whole time scrambling around too close to the water and scared the crap out of my parents. It wasn't my fault, I never did anything stupid outside of the time I fell in Bear Head lake 3 times before camp was even set up.
Personally, I think the geology is the most amazing part. <Warning: Science> The Precambrian Thomson Formation is located within Jay Cooke State Park. The formation is a layer of mud that was compressed and hardened into shale, then compressed further into slate, and finally folded. This formation is about two billion years old. <That wasn't so bad... Slate is very old mud.>

Scooby isn't being pampered per say, just behind me is several larger breed dogs and he was just too happy to play with them that he was being a distraction to everyone. He's not looking at me.

By the way, this bridge just opened after the massive flash flood and it's almost all new. The water was at the top of the stone pillars in the background!

Optional video below, 1 minute 37 seconds

Several miles and maybe 2 hours down the trail this bridge IS washed out so we do a barefoot crossing. I carry Scooby because it's maybe 45 degrees and he would have to swim the last few feet. K's toes go numb in the crossing. I make three trips and it's cold but not too bad for me. 

The cement bar is the last of the bridge. Lots of milled wood is about 100 feet downstream and crushed into a nasty tangle of trees, logs, flotsam and trash.

 Once we pass the creek it's only a mile or a bit more to the binoculars on the primitive map we have, indicating a worthy overlook. Look left... Look right... Yep, time for a snack.

Some tough as nails Boy Scout earning an Eagle Scout award organized this as a troupe project and we really enjoyed it. From the trampling and other 'indicators' aka redneck trash we think lots of hikers agree, but the guests need a lesson in picking up after themselves. The best I could tell it was snowmobile trash.  Do nothing but use a throttle and you don't respect the place as much.

 After everyone has a snack and some hot beverages it's a few miles to close the loop we started.

This was already our exit day. We arrived late the day before and had a camp fire and a quiet night reading. Once back at 'camp' we each get a hot lunch followed by a hot shower and I can't resist crawling into bed for a short nap before driving home. On the way out of the park we see this and I have to pull over for a hike around. 

Jay Cooke is amazing so I can see why it's overrun with people in the summer. As it was we almost had the place to ourselves. Of the few State Parks we've seen this is one of the best.

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