If you saw our last post, the photo just below may look familiar. There we used it to demonstrate the endless beauty possible in a marriage or family when they love one another God's way.
Here, I use the photo to demonstrate the stunning beauty of the area where we hiked yesterday. This was the view that greeted us as we began our favorite North Shore hike to Shovel Point in Tettegouche State Park. The hike is a relatively short and easy walk as hikes go, but the scenery all along the way is nearly unbelievable.
Our family has traveled to the North Shore so many times, that this first trip for Daria, Alexander and Oksana is one of those "firsts" that is part of moving into our family's "culture." Going on the Shovel Point hike is also a sweet "first" because every time that we have traveled up here we have hiked this trail.
Our newest polar bears seemed to really enjoy the experience, even with a temperature of 9 degrees.
As they always seem to, our other kiddos enjoyed the hike also.
We stumbled upon a spot on the trail where the snow had fallen in just the right way on a grove of pine trees to look as though it were straight out of the first "Narnia" movie. We searched for a lamp post without success. A couple of the kids even backed into the grove of trees hoping to find a wardrobe. Of course they didn't find that either, but it made for a great photo op for the me as they reappeared out of the Narnia-like woods.
About half-way along the hike there is a wooden platform built by the park service over an outcropping of rocks. The view from there is always worthy of pause. The view also provides the excuse we're in need of to catch our breath after climbing a long, long flight of stairs to reach that point.
Daria and her new Papa chatted on the platform as we rested.
Just before we reached the hike's goal--Shovel Point--we emerged from what had been a short stint in the woods to a vast open view of the world's largest fresh water lake.
Daria threw open her arms in awe, and told us how very happy she was to be on this hike seeing something like this for the first time. Since she entered the orphanage three years ago after her Babushka could no longer care for her, Daria's life has consisted of the four walls of the institution with occasional forays into the small town that housed the orphanage.
Our precious 15-year-old then dropped to her knees in the snow in front of her and spread out to full length, reveling in the moment.
Just beyond where all this took place, lies Shovel Point. A wooden platform allows for great views of Lake Superior in two directions.
However, what amazed us on this visit was the ice that coated everything in the vicinity. The thick blanket was windblown sideways, as you can see from these ice cycles on the railing. We quickly realized that this wasn't ice from freezing rain; it was way too thick for us to come to that conclusion. This ice had been water in the lake until a mighty wind lifted it 25 feet upwards. We were in awe!
Notice the pine tree just to the left of center in the photo below.
We marveled at God's amazing handiwork.
Speedy loved this bit of ice-covered pine he found that had frozen into the shape of a cross.
All in all, the hike was a great hit with all. We thank God for the opportunity!