Getting Lost on Norberg Trail
Camping, Day 6
When I was researching the area for things to do, I saw Norberg Trail as one of the highlights. It looked breathtakingly beautiful. With the rain and our busy schedule, we didn’t get the chance to check it out. On our last night there, I decided that I would wake up early the next morning and head out alone.
I woke up and hit snooze once or twice. Half of me wanted to say forget it and sleep in. The other half knew I’d be mad at myself later for being lazy. So I rolled out of bed, packed up and drove to the bathrooms for a shower. Then I set out for my hike!
I felt a bit excited about going alone, as though this was a secret adventure. Part of me felt guilty for leaving everyone behind, but they all wanted to sleep in any way. I felt nervous anticipation as I pulled into the parking spot. Would it be as beautiful as I had hoped? I do have a tendency to romanticize destinations.
Thankfully, it was as peaceful and lovely as I had imagined. Walking the short trail to the lake was relatively easy. There were rocks embedded in the ground to navigate, but it wasn’t as bad as Kawishiwi Falls. The view of the lake through the pines was delightful. The fresh air invigorated my senses. I was ready for a good hike around the lake.
Before I left, I checked out the map on the sign and I knew there was a loop around the lake. Down near the water, I could see a trail going off to the right. I knew there was another trail further up near the parking lot, but I thought it was the one that led to the other lakes. I set off to the right since it seemed to be a clear beaten path.
Everywhere around me was the wonder of creation. It was hard to resist stopping frequently and photographing the lovely ferns, trees, moss, mushrooms, and plants. I noticed that there were a lot of mosquitos, so I tried to keep moving.
Every so often, there was a fallen tree across the path. At a few spots, the path was impassable and had to be trekked around. It seemed that many had done so before. I wondered if some of the damage was from recent storms, but on further inspection, it appeared that they were all felled by beaver.
As I got further along the trail, it became more difficult to find the path on some of the roundabout excursions. I didn’t want to disturb any plants or animals, so I tried to be careful where I stepped. I had once been attacked by a swarm of bees as a child when a friend stepped on a ground hive. The emergency room doctor told me that I would most likely be allergic to bees after that since I had around 40 stings all over my body. Stepping on a hive alone in the middle of the woods was not an appealing idea of a way to start my day.
There came several times where I couldn’t find the trail. I didn’t know if I had gone off completely or if it was so wild that it was simply difficult to see the path. Perhaps others had given up and returned the way they had come? I found it hard to believe that everyone had given up and not continued along. Periodically I found a trail again, much to my relief, but the majority of it was off-road.
I was swarmed by mosquitoes and I didn’t want to stop for long anywhere. I kept my hood up on my sweatshirt to protect my head and neck despite the rising temperature. I kept forging forward, stopping only at completely impassable spots. I backtracked often, climbed deeper into the woods many times and went up and down steep hills. I often contemplated giving up and going back, but I’m not a quitter. I think I also held hope that at some point it would get easier.
I did eventually get on the trail again near the very end. It was wide and looked extremely easy to hike on. Later, while reviewing the map, I found that the trail I went on was not mapped. The trail I thought led to the other lakes was the main trail. It made a very wide loop around the lake, far from the water, which is why I didn’t stumble on it till the very end.
The lake wasn’t very large, but the path I took was not easy, so it took a considerable amount of time. My entire journey was a little over an hour and a half but it felt much longer. I thought I had been out there for at least three hours. I estimate the other trail might take someone 30-45 minutes. By the time I got back to the van, I was relieved. I was proud of myself for waking up early to exercise and for continuing around the whole lake. I went on an adventure and survived. The quote “Get Lost In the Woods” has a whole new meaning.
Even though I got lost and eaten alive by mosquitos, I don’t regret my journey. Staying on the trail might have been easier, faster and with a lot fewer mosquitos, but the images I got while going off trail are some of my favorite from the trip. I got to see nature in its wild state. I found beauty that I probably would not have seen, had I gone the other way.
After arriving back at the campsite, we packed up to head home. Poor Cat was having anxiety attacks because she was afraid everything wouldn’t fit. I had her walk away, but she hid just around the corner and came running back when we tried to put stuff in. Cat is an excellent organizer. When I go shopping, she makes everything nice, neat and perfect in the cart. It drives her crazy when everything is out of order.
I had OCD as a child, so I understand the anxiety that having something out of place causes. I remember having to wash and rinse my glass a certain amount of times. It used to drive my Dad crazy, maybe because I was wasting water. As an adult, I get that. As someone with OCD, I HAD to do it or I felt anxiety creeping up on me, making me feel like the world would end.
Years later, my Dad told me- You know, the glass washing thing you used to do is not a bad idea, it helps cool the glass down so the water is nice and cold when you drink it. I don’t know if he was just being nice, but it meant the world to me that he was trying to understand and connect.
Once I developed allergies to the entire world, OCD began to creep back in my life. I remember a day when my Mom asked me for a box of tissues and I almost didn’t let her have it because then I would have an uneven number of tissue boxes.
Later that night, as I replayed the event over and over in my head (Yaaay anxiety), I was trying to figure out why I was acting so crazy. I mean, it was tissues. Not sharing was selfish. I didn’t really care about the tissues. I love my Mom and I enjoy giving her things. I couldn’t have an uneven number of tissue boxes though. Yes, I admit I was a bit slow to come to the realization that the OCD might be back.
Now that I know what my food allergies are, the OCD isn’t as bad. I would say it’s almost non-existent most days. Although a messy house always makes me feel freaked out. I’m not saying my house is spotless, it’s usually a mess. There is a tipping scale that makes me freak out though. If the kitchen is messy, I can’t breathe. The kitchen must be clean.
When I have a large amount of exposure to allergens close together, also known as a full bucket, the OCD comes creeping or slamming back. Bad exposure makes the volume of OCD turn up high. I clean and clean and clean. Although it’s nice to get some cleaning done, the panic that happens in my head is never fun. I’m always thankful to get back to normal after an allergy flush or detox.
Anyway, back to camping! We got everything into the van and Cat managed the rest of the time packing with her outward OCD volume turned down. I’m sure inside it was still high, but I’m proud of her for gaining control.
On the way home, we stopped at a thrift store in Cloquet. Cat got some anime(manga? Or anime? I can never get those two straight.) and Cupcake got another book. The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful. Nate drove the first half and I drove the remainder. We unpacked and enjoyed the rest of our day in the comfort that only home can bring.
Have you ever gotten lost while hiking?
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