Thursday, October 22, 2009
Jay Cooke State Park
I decided to go for a little hike today. I wanted to get a little ways out of Duluth for the hike, but didn't want to travel too far. I consulted my copy of Hiking Minnesota and found that the closest hike was in nearby Jay Cooke State Park. I'd hiked through a small portion of the park a few weeks ago when walking a portion of the Superior Hiking Trail, but today I wanted to see the main attraction of the park: the St. Louis River cascading its way through a narrow gorge of slate and graywhacke.
I drove I-35 to the Carlton exit, and found my way to the park via state highway 210. Wow! The drive along the river was quite spectacular. Even though the trees are past peak, there was still quite a bit of color left in most of the park. In other areas, however, it looked like winter already. I purchased a year Minnesota State Park Pass at the information center, affixed the sticker to my windshield, and then hit the trail crossing a foot suspension bridge across the river.
It was a dramatic hike along the river, but when the trail headed into the woods, the hike became quite a bit less exciting. It still felt good to be outside. When I returned back to my car I read some of the interpretive panels outside the information center and learned a little bit about Jay Cooke. He was a railroad baron from Philadelphia. When I returned home I did a little bit of research about him and learned that he built and owned a mansion named Ogontz not far from my boyhood home. He is also buried in Cheltenham Township. I will have to find out more about him next time I visit my parents.