Hike to Superior
Elizabeth, CS17, Prairie Du Chien, WI

In the car for the 45-minute ride to the parking lot that leads to Conglomerate Falls, I was trying to imagine how long a 10-mile hike really was. Growing up in a small town, too close to the city to call it “the country,” I haven’t really explored much, much less hiked for 10 miles anywhere. I was excited, more than anything, to see Lake Superior. I had never seen it before. Most people find it strange, but I also live so far from it. It was a true privilege to see those crashing waves against the rock, with driftwood piled high on the beaches. It was serene, graceful. 

students hiking

Photo contributed by Caitlin Lemley, Math Teacher, and Trip Leader.

Before I could even think about seeing the lake, I had to hike 5 miles to it. If I was alone, I feel it would've been a much more daunting task. I’m glad that other people were there hiking it with me, it made it so much better. I wasn’t afraid of getting lost. As we began our hike, Conglomerate Falls was our first feat, ¾ of a mile in. It was a beautiful, large rush of a waterfall. As we continued on, we saw Potawatomi and Gorge Falls. The majority of these waterfalls required us to climb steep hills to see them, or to go up and down a large number of stairs. I think it was worth it, though. Seeing the falls felt like a reward for making it that far, and it was a reminder to keep going. 

Waterfall

Photo contributed by Emily, CS17 Student, Bayfield, WI.

After Gorge Falls, we didn’t see many more waterfalls. We ended up crossing the road at one point into entirely different surroundings: from a hemlock forest to a forest of maple and birch. Even the ground felt different. We hiked the stretch of forest for about 2 miles, balancing on logs to get over creeks and washed out bridges. After a while, I had forgotten our end goal. I felt present in the moment, the harsh brushing of the leaves sounding through the air as we shuffled them with our feet. 

Sun on the trees

Photo contributed by Emily, CS17 Student, Bayfield, WI.

Eventually, we climbed up a large hill. At the top, our goal could be seen: Lake Superior, in all her glory. I was elated, we made it! We hiked down the hill onto the other side, and we walked through Black River Harbor all the way to the lakeshore. As we got closer to the lake, I started to really see how magnificent the lake really was. The power and beauty held in a body of water is astounding. We found a nice spot, took a seat, and enjoyed our lunch, proudly looking out into the deep blue of Lake Superior. In that moment looking out into the lake, I promised that lake that I would come back. It’s too beautiful to only see once.

 a waterfall

Photo contributed by Caitlin Lemley, Math Teacher, and Trip Leader.

The hike back felt a lot shorter than the hike there. We were making 15-minute miles. When we arrived at the car, I finally realized the hike was over. I was sad, but also proud. I hiked 10 miles that day, something I’d never done before. I also was reminded of the saying, “All good things must come to an end.” I believe that even though good things DO come to an end, you can always go back and do them again.

Lake Superior

Photo contributed by Elizabeth, CS17, Prairie Du Chien, WI.