Temperance River State Park ice-capped boulders

Temperance River State Park

On a recent spontaneous weekend getaway we took a day trip to Temperance River State Park. We meant to just walk a little with the dog on the Gitchi-Gami State Trail, but ended up hiking all over the place. This was probably ill-advised since neither of us had hiking shoes on, it’s January, and the temperature was falling steadily, but who cares? Live in the moment, right?

First we just kind of meandered through the campsite area and found some trails that lead down to the shore. The Lake and frozen temperatures had put a good, thick coating of ice on everything so we couldn’t really get very close to the shore, but we kept exploring, trying to find new ways down.

Temperance River State Park ice-covered stairs
Stairs leading to the shore are coated with extremely slippery ice
Temperance River ice-covered cliffs
Frozen cliffs overlooking Lake Superior

Eventually we found a route and were rewarded with great panoramic views of the Lake and more ice-capped rocks.

Temperance River State Park shoreline
Ice forming on the shoreline
Temperance River State Park ice-capped boulders
Ice forming on the tops of boulders along the shore
Temperance River State Park
Husband and Puppy at Temperance River State Park

From the shore we hiked back up to where we had parked, checked a map, and kept going up the hill along the river. At one point very near the start of our upward trek were stone steps that were almost completely covered with extremely slippery ice. We did not let our non-winterized footwear stop us from climbing, often on our hands and knees, the treacherous stairs. We were well rewarded. Not too far from the top of the stairs is a pothole, created by swirling, turbulent water.

Temperance River State Park pothole
the Pothole, created by stones, carried by the river, getting caught in a circular current and wearing away the walls to form a pit

The river has a thin crust of ice over most of it, but as we kept hiking we could see the water flowing underneath it at several points. The cold temperatures have not convinced it to be gentle under all that ice.

Temperance River
After we were done staring into the pit we turned and continued up the river, crossed the bridge pictured here, and went up to another set of falls.

We kept going until we got to a bridge that was covered in dangerous looking ice and water; we decided this was a good point to turn around, but not before exploring a bit. This is what we found.

Temperance River Temperance River Temperance River

When we turned around to head back down the hill we were very nervous about having to go down those evil ice-covered stairs—we surely would have broken several limbs sliding down them—but as luck would have it we found another trail marked that took a safer, less steep route back down to the parking lot where we had left our car.

Even frozen this area was immensely beautiful and I can’t wait to come back in the summer!


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