Most people who know both of us know that my friend Andre and I met on a mountain in Korea. Two Minnesotans (and our significant others) who connected on twitter and decided a hike up one of the South Korea’s most famous peaks, Bukansan, would be a good place to meet for the first time. (Plug: Andre is about to tell a great story about the earliest days he spent in Korea, if you live in DC, you should be there.)
On one hand this is super cool. I even found the little restaurant we ate at on the trail once where our table was a grill placed on a rock in the middle of the river, the spot where we were offered shots of soju as recovery beverages, and the trepidatious steps we had to climb to get ourselves, finally, to the peak. But it does force you to ask why we should have photographic documentation of a trail like that.
Will there be people, for example, who skip a trip to Korea because they believe that clicking through a street view map is just as good as climbing the real thing? Maybe but things like this make me curious. After reading a New York Times article about the impossibly tough living conditions in Svålbard, Norway I checked out the Google Street View, which in Longyearbyen might as well be called Snow Mobile Trail View. I hope I’m not the only one who discovers there is street view in a place like that and make an instant commitment to find out what it’s like to live there, meet the people who walk (er, snowshoe) those roads every day, and learn about the work they do. Plus, it’s undeniably cool that Naver and Google are putting energy into a task as insane as mapping in photographs all the worlds roads, trails, and byways.
Silver Creek is a short drive north from Two Harbors, MN where we stopped for a bridal hair preview appointment. While Danielle was busy I gave myself a quick tour of the city that birthed one of the world’s most innovative companies, 3M.
By the time we made it to Castle Danger there was just enough light for a dinner over last minute wedding planning. From the decks on our rooms we could see infinite darkness stretching across the lake, and looking up countless stars glimmering above. It was the first of what would turn out to be a phenomenally beautiful weekend on Minnesota’s North Shore.
It had been at least 15 years since I was last at Split Rock Lighthouse, and had forgotten its importance to the region. It was built in response to a series of wrecks cause by a large storm that hit the lake in 1910 and was a large motivator to extending the road that became Highway 61 up to Split Rock due to its popularity as a tourist attraction. I have to say the station is something to behold. While there we learned that it was built in such a precarious location that all kinds of clever—and dangerous—methods were used to supply the lighthouse and it’s keepers with basic necessities before the road was built. If you pay the admission you can climb the tower and get up close and personal with its Fresnel lens.
By the time we arrived back in Castle Danger, our guests were starting to
trickle in and the full wedding weekend really began.