The Hike That Almost Wasn’t

20 Oct

A couple weekends ago I headed up to one of my favorite state parks – one which I explored the first time in the dark…in the dead of winter. Who in their right mind can claim a favorite park based on such a first visit? Well…..yours truly can! 

My first time there I was all alone. I’ve mentioned in a previous blog that I love being alone and under the grandeur of twinking stars and shining moon. That winter night made me feel small, but at the same time, I felt alive. How could I not? Literally millions upon millions of stars on a clear, cold night! Twinkling! Pulsating! Looking out over the frozen lake I saw fog adding to the ambience of the scene before me. No wonder this state park quickly became one of my favorites. I knew I needed to come back again during the day. Here’s an image below from that night.

Winter Night Bear Head Lake State Park-110 months later, I finally made it back to that state park. The name? Bear Head Lake State Park just south of Ely, MN. Once again, I arrived to find myself the sole adventurer, at least at the trail center location. I decided to walk the Norberg Lake Loop which is a 3.5 mile hike. I perused the “bulletin board” before gearing up for the walk and saw this sign…


I don’t know about you but I’m not a fan of these signs. Toward the bottom of the right column, under “Remember” you see the statement, “Bears don’t like surprises! Make noise when hiking.” and “Safety in numbers. Don’t hike alone.” Well, I tend to hike alone. Strike one. I don’t like surprises either! I can make as much noise as I can but if a bear decides to ignore it and approach me anyways, I’m not going to hear it! I’m hearing impaired! Strike 2. Lol. It turns out from talking with a photographer last weekend at the Art Crawl I was a part of that the bears were most likely already in hibernation and have been since the previous month. But I didn’t know that at the time.

Well, I hit the trail. I had two things in my favor. One, it was light. It was actually a drizzly, gray day but it was light. Two, I made noise. I even talked to myself out loud and did some singing. If there was anyone on the trail that I wasn’t aware of, I’m sure they were thinking, “cray cray” 😜. That’s okay though. I’m sure I’ve been called worse behind my back. I wouldn’t know, though, cause I’m hearing impaired. There are benefits to that disability!

About 5 minutes or so into the hike where the path becomes ungroomed (rocky, tree roots, etc.), I heard a soft growl. If I heard it, then it probably would have been loud to you. I looked around for a few minutes and then continued hiking. My hiking gait became more of a stomping march for a little bit interpersed with more singing and talking out loud. I heard and saw nothing. I settled back into my normal hiking groove, turned quiet and enjoyed the splendor of yellow and orange colors cascading all around me. About another 5 minutes later, I heard another soft growl. My first thought was, “Crap. I really am hearing a bear”. I stopped again, looked around and made noise. I started fighting the notion that maybe I should head back.

One thing can really derail us. Fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of hard work. Fear from lack of confidence. Fear that maybe we aren’t good enough, qualified enough, smart enough, (you fill in in the blank). You know what? We might not be good enough, qualified enough, smart enough, (you fill in the blank). At that moment, we all have a choice. We can listen to that voice and give up. Head back. Go home. Be safe. Or we can move forward, one step at a time. We may stumble a thousand times before we succeed. But we will succeed if we keep at it. Explore the unknown. Take on the hard work. Step out in confidence. Thomas Edison is a great example of this. Read some of his quotes. He certainly had his own experiences with stumbling on the way to success!

Thomas Edison quotes

I did not head back. I kept moving forward. And then it hit me. There wasn’t a bear near me. My stomach had been growling and my mind was playing tricks on me. Lol! My stomach does seem to have a wide range of resonance, full of consonance at times and full of dissonance at other times. Sometimes it roars like the MGM lion for all to hear. Other times it just vibrates within my stomach. Were I to remove my shirt, you might see ripples like the November waves crashing along Lake Superior shores.

The rest of my hike was uneventful in terms of bears. But very eventful in shooting the fall colors and landscapes. Here are a few from my travels that day.

Bear Head Lake State Park 2-1Follow The Leaves-1Fall Leaf And Water Drops-1

What are some fears in your life? Are you content to just play it safe when it comes to fear or are you the type to move forward and take a head-on approach with them? Perhaps some of you might be willing to share some experiences in the comments below. That in itself might be a fear to overcome.

Any comments and thoughts are always welcome regarding the blog and/or image(s) posted. Feel free to share them below in the comments section as well. Thanks for allowing me to share with you “images from a quiet world”.

Interested in these images for your home/professional environment? Clicking the links below will take you directly to the gallery page where you can order it.

Winter Night At Bear Head Lake

The Tamarack

Follow The Leaves

Red Leaf And Water Droplets

18 Responses to “The Hike That Almost Wasn’t”

  1. phoenixraay October 20, 2018 at 12:35 pm #

    I have had to turn around on a hike because of a Grizzly bear before – still haven’t made it back yet! haha hopefully I will return to finish it one day. Nice post 🙂


    • Steve Hadeen October 20, 2018 at 1:07 pm #

      Sounds like a blog right there! You actually saw one or evidence of one? Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

      • phoenixraay October 21, 2018 at 11:06 am #

        People ahead of us saw one on the trail and everyone was turning around lol the park had a lot of bears present in it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Terri Chartrand October 20, 2018 at 5:51 pm #

    Steve, your photography just gets better and better. These are beautiful!


    • Steve Hadeen October 20, 2018 at 6:17 pm #

      Thanks Terri! I really appreciate when people say that. Means I’m moving on the right direction!


  3. Wanda Hadeen October 21, 2018 at 1:03 pm #



  4. Wanda Hadeen October 21, 2018 at 1:06 pm #

    Great Blog


  5. Wanda Hadeen October 21, 2018 at 2:13 pm #

    You obviously take after your dad when it comes to writing. I so much reading your blog and your thoughts on fear. Thank you. Also especially love the picture of dew drops on the leaves.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Steve Hadeen October 21, 2018 at 2:17 pm #

      Thanks mom! Glad you like the image. It was an area I almost passed over but went back to look it over again and saw this composition


  6. Sue (Mac's Girl) October 24, 2018 at 8:17 am #

    Great post, Steve! I literally do have nightmares about coming across dangerous animals while out walking, which is why I never feel confident when I’m hiking even when it’s somewhere relatively safe. Splendid pictures!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Steve Hadeen October 25, 2018 at 7:04 am #

      Thanks Sue. Always push through except if the threat is real-lol. Glad you liked the images

      Liked by 1 person

  7. nextgen4god October 26, 2018 at 5:27 am #

    Wow, Steve that was a great blog, and you just write great! I lived every moment of it! I need to take some time and read your past blogs!
    And your photographs are awesome!
    Keep writing, Steve … you are an inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Steve Hadeen October 26, 2018 at 9:43 am #

      Thanks Ted! Appreciate the encouragement. The apple did not fall far from the tree so to speak in regards to writing.


  8. Josh Driver October 30, 2018 at 6:10 pm #

    Hi Steve!
    Nice to read more about yourself and where you enjoy hiking. I’ve only been camping there once and I don’t remember it too much. Honestly, I didn’t spend as much time there as I could have (too enamored with the wolves in town).

    But you’re so right. Fear does many things. It’s such a powerful force that comes from so many voices and influences. It was pure irrational fear that I faced when climbing firetowers.

    But thankfully there is a more powerful voice than fear in my life and I am blessed.

    Nice blog Steve!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Steve Hadeen October 30, 2018 at 6:37 pm #

      Thanks for reading and commenting. Same here to the more powerful voice in my life.


  9. Mike Osmond February 21, 2019 at 10:29 am #

    “The only thing to fear is fear itself.” I have no idea where that quote comes from but it does make sense. I just found your blogs and find them inspirational Steve.


    • Steve Hadeen February 21, 2019 at 12:28 pm #

      Thanks Mike. I do appreciate hearing that. It’s hard to get into a rhythm sometimes when blogging due to other commitments but I do enjoy writing and sharing. My dad was the same way. Guess the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree on that one.


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