This past weekend, my family took a day trip to Northern Minnesota. It was the first time we’d been together in six months and wanted to celebrate. We gathered our belongings, grabbed coffee at the local shop, and drove two hours to the port city of Duluth. After a brief picnic lunch on some boulders at a little park along the shore of Lake Superior, we continued along the North Shore–enjoying views of the lake through the pine forest.
Our mission? Hiking. We did a 6 mile loop on the Superior Hiking Trail along the Split Rock River. The trail was muddy and nearly impassible at points. After attempting to skirt around the edges, I gave up and slopped through the mud. It reminded me of the footpaths in England and wished I had a pair of trusty Wellies. By the end of the day, my legs were crusted in a layer of slime.
The scenery was beautiful. The river cut through forest and hills through red cliffs. There were countless waterfalls and rapids along the way. Near the end of the loop, the path cut away from the river, wound through the forest, until emerging on top of a large hill where Lake Superior stretches as far as the eye can see.
Near the end of the hike, I found myself alone. My dad and younger brother were far ahead, my mom and older brother were far behind. I was left with no one but the wind in the trees and my thoughts to keep me company. During that time, my surroundings felt more enriching than anything I’ve experienced in weeks. As I soaked in the sunshine that filtered through the whispering foliage, I felt the corners of myself shaken clean and filled with freshness. I found my mind turning to higher things. I found myself reciting poetry and wishing I had more memorized. I basked in the solitude, feeling complete peace.
When we finally reached Lake Superior at the end, we sat along the shore and washed our muddy legs in the cold water. It was refreshing to sit after several hours of going up and down hills on beaten trails. On the way home, we had dinner and drinks at a brewery to celebrate my older brother’s birthday, which was this past week. After this, the sun was beginning to set and it was just too lovely to go home so soon, so we got ice cream cones and ate them along the lakeshore.
Family days are the best days. I’m so thankful that my siblings, parents, and I still get along so well. We aren’t all together very often these days and the time we have is always so special.