Thursday, May 5, 2016

Return To Hvoslef

With Johann Hvoslef's 56 observation notebooks compiled in the second half of the late 1800s, plus modern wildlife management studies, this might be the most documented parcel of wild land in the state of Minnesota. It is surprising that a number of local residents do not seem to know that it even exists. After we found a few morels in our Lanesboro lawn, Frank Wright mentioned that there might be morels at Hvoslef, so Lorna and I went back to search.

We alternately idled the truck and walked the road looking for fungus and birds. There was not much of either, but it was a great day to be out.

Lorna in the Skunk Cabbage
Flood plain

Plum blossoms
Beaver dam. 

The high point of the morning was hiking up a beautiful abandoned lane.

It was a cool dewy morning, but it was sunny and rapidly warming. As we hiked up the trail we began to hear moving water, so I was expecting to round a bend and see rapids. We didn't, we saw a pair of Canada Geese guarding a small pool which was fed by a rill spilling out of a narrow side ravine. 

 A short scramble up the little ravine revealed springs - clear, cold water flowing out of black holes in the hillside, threading over moss covered rocks, weaving together to become a rivulet which tumbles down to add to the flow of South Branch of the Root River.

This is one of those unexpected moments that a photograph simply cannot capture - the movement, the sound, the coolness of the air. You just have to climb over and under fallen trees, slip and slide up that grassy path yourself and be suddenly be ambushed by the scene. I am so glad we were. (Did I mention that everything is very, very green and clean right now?)

 Hvoslef is one of those little places on earth that one could be very easy to fall in love with. I am well on my way.

 - Gunnar

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