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.