Sunday, July 12, 2009

Bass Lake hike

On Monday the 29th, the weather was dreary again, but we went hiking anyway. We did the Bass Lake loop, which is interesting because the lake level dropped abruptly in historic times, by 60 feet. This is what the Forest Service sign at the trailhead has to say:
Bass Lake and Low Lake occupy a long narrow basin that glaciers gouged from pre-Cambrian rock. Prior to 1925, the two lakes were separated by a ridge of glacial gravel which acted as a natural dam between the lakes. A wooden sluiceway was constructed to move logs through the gravel ridge from Bass Lake to Low Lake, a drop of nearly 60 feet, for the logging operations that occupied the area until 1920.

When the logging operations stopped, the area was abandoned. Without maintenance, seepage eventually weakened the sluiceway as water moved through the gravel adjacent to the structure. Then during the spring of 1925, the sluiceway and gravel ridge washed out leaving a gorge 250 feet wide.

The catastrophe lowered the level of Bass Lake by 55 feet in ten hours. Bass Lake was reduced to about half of its original size and two small lakes, Dry Lake and Little Dry Lake, became isolated in the old lake bed. Approximately 250 acres of land was then exposed and available to the establishment of pioneer plant species.

This unusual phenomenon created geological and ecological events that must have been commonplace during the time of glacial retreat, which occurred in the area about 10,000 years ago.
There are also some pictures and a copy of a contemporary newspaper story.

Bass Lake.

Old shoreline in the middle of the woods. Note the odd topography and the cedar trees leaning way out over the "water".

Lady slipper, Minnesota's state flower. Hard to find, apparently!

Erin in a tree.

Some other pretty flowers. Erin ID'ed them, but I don't recall what they were (clearly not forget-me-nots).

There's a nice waterfall from Dry Lake to Bass Lake.

Top of waterfall.

Red squirrels are extremely adorable.

1 comment: