Archive for August, 2010

Tettegouche Arch becomes the Stack

The Stack”    © 2010 Gary Udstrand

Fall becomes winter, spring becomes summer and green leaves turn brown.  Changes,  we expect them and we see them all around us.  Some occur slowly over time and others in just an instant.  In this case it occurred both at once and over eons of time.

One of the most famous icons along the North Shore of Lake Superior is the Stone Arch found at Tettegouche State Park.  As an icon it is photographed each year by thousands of visitors, many coming for the first time and some who are returning for another look.   It had stood along the shores of Lake Superior weathering eons of storms, Minnesota winters and the occasional crash of a powerful wave from the mighty lake.  But no more.

Over the past week visiting photographers were met with something they did not expect, the arch had collapsed.   After years and years of erosion and weathering even rock must succumb.    There were no reports of weather, no big waves, no storm.  It appears that it was the simply felled by the ever moving force of time

The landscape along  North Shore is always evolving but usually in such small increments that only the culmination of many becomes noticeable.   In this case the change was dramatic and sudden and seemingly happened when no one was looking.   The first reports came in on Saturday but exactly when it happened is unclear.

The Arch at Tettegouche had stood in place since the last ice age.   It is hard to imagine that something that had survived for so long is no more.    As an icon it will be missed and all we have left is the many photographs that show us what once was.  Some will remember and some will be sad that it is gone while others will be excited to see the new landscape that now graces the Shores of Lake Superior.

This past weekend I made a trip to Tettegouche to welcome the new icon.  At this time a new name is yet to stick but the park rangers refer to it affectionately as “The Stack”.  Standing before the new formation is it is easy to see why.   I was told that so far no one was really sure what had happened to the displaced rock.    According to the park ranger that I spoke too, several naturalists had hiked out to The Stack and were not able to find any remnants of the fallen arch.

So, while we all will miss an old friend in the Arch we now have a new icon to photograph and to view.   Things change, even those that have seemingly stood the test of time.  So long Arch, and welcome to a new North Shore icon.

Tracks in Time

The tracks lead into the distance, fueling the imagination and ideas of adventure. 

Home Town

I have to admit that this photo has a special meaning to me.  The tracks above are from a small town located in the far NW corner of MN.  It is where I grew up all those years ago. 

To me they represent a time in my life when a choice had to be made, my crossroads as it were.  My decision was to stay here and start my life or to move on to greater opportunities.   Ultimately I decided to pull up stakes and head off  in pursuit of an education.  By the time I finished school I found my life was now  firmly entrenched in the city.  I have been living there since then and wonder how different things would be had I not loaded up the car and left everything that I knew behind.

The Tracks

The tracks above wind lazily through Greenbush, MN.  It is nothing more than a blip on the map and seemingly gets smaller with each passing day.     In the distance is one of the grain elevators in town and represents the agricultural basis of the economy. 

Most people don’t even notice the tracks anymore, with the intermittent exception of a passing car jostled about as it continues on to its destination.  The tracks represent many things but mostly commerce in this area.

And Now

To this day I return to my home as often as I can.  I still have lots of family and friends in the area and many memories that I cherish.  Here I find inspiration in my photography and my life and there is a part of me that has always remained behind.  

The tracks move goods both in and out of town and are synonymous with my journey.   While I left and have made my life elsewhere, I still return and find myself here as well.    I can never stay as long as I like and always find myself needing to continue along the tracks once again.

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