VOYAGEURS NATIONAL PARK: Appreciating each little stroke (video)
With 50 parks down and only 9 to go in our yearlong Centennial adventure, it’s hard for a park to show us something entirely new. But that’s exactly what happened at Voyageurs National Park.
We’d read that to make the most of Voyageurs you really needed to get out onto the water. Out of all the area in the park, 30% is water. It has 26 lakes and over 400 islands.
We finally rowed into our island camp and dragged our kayak onto the sandy shore. I walked over the campsite with my bare, wet feet and enjoyed the feel of grippy, lichen-covered granite beneath my feet. While we laid out our tent a loud rustle of leaves revealed squirrel scurrying up the pine tree. He went up and down that tree with a new pine cone in his mouth about three more times. As the sun set we walked over to the water’s edge to stare at the lake lapping gently onto the folds of the rocks. A spider caught my eye as he climbed his web and silhouetted himself against the fading light and dots of islands in the distance.
Many times in the parks I find myself missing the trees for the forest. Yes, the collective beauty spectacular vistas of the National Parks are basically unparalleled. But there is so much beauty to be found if you look a little closer. If you go look beyond the masterpiece painting and focus in on each skillful brushstroke. It’s the little things that can make a park really come alive.
A few weeks ago I tried to open my ears to the Sounds of Glacier to get a deeper experience of the park. At Voyageurs it did not take long to realize that the real beauty of the landscape is in its subtle complexity. The pristine lakes with their maze of forested islands make for plenty of lovely views, but looking a little longer reveals some charming, fascinating and plain curious pieces of the nature puzzle.
There are mushrooms reaching out like shelves from the trees, trails of insects leaving perfect holes in a fallen log, birch bark laying in sheets on the forest floor, strange fungi that pop like paintballs, water droplets clinging only on the waxy leaves, a butterfly slowly opening and closing its wings and so much more! The only question is whether I can see and appreciate each brushstroke.
So take a look at the little things at Voyageurs we found to share with you. And next time you go outside, admire the forest, but also see if you can pick out any trees.