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By David Cowardin
Duluth Outdoors Editor
Wake up. Coffee and a bowl of fruit and yogurt. Pat down my messy hair, slide into my running shoes and be out the door to run Tischer Creek no later than nine.
I would begin by run at the trailhead at the bottom of St. Marie street, leaving the asphalt and dipping into the shaded trail. The air was always cooler and more alive with the smell of pine and the further I traveled, the sounds of morning traffic would fade behind the gentle trickle of the creek.
Occasionally another runner would glide by and exchange a quick wave and nod of the head as we continued on our routes. Every morning, Tischer Creek provided me with peace of mind. It carried oxygen to my brain to help me start my day right.
That was my morning routine before the flood hit in June.
Now the asphalt road above the trail is upturned and in chunks. The dirt and gravel that made up the trail has washed away, leaving nothing but jagged rock and tree roots behind. Tischer Creek is less navigable now, forcing me to change my daily routine. My happy place was swept out from underneath my feet. I felt like I had been abandoned by a family member, it just didn’t seem possible to lose such a beautiful thing.
So I adjusted.
Instead of running the trail, I’ve been walking along the creek itself, jumping from rock to rock and paying more attention to detail. The trickling sound of the creek used to be a singular ambient noise blocking out the hum of traffic. Now I’m starting to dissect its every part: the sound of water sliding over a smooth rock is different than the sound of water wrapping around a boulder, forcing little bubbles to the surface.
I’m not alone in forging a new trail at Tischer Creek. Just after photographing a large, ominous spider, I ran into Martha Larson and her daughter. Martha has been coming to Tischer Creek since she was a kid and wants her daughter to have the same memories.
She admits that the creek has changed, but I can tell that it doesn’t bother her because a new Tischer Creek means new memories for her and her daughter.
Watching Martha’s daughter lead her up the creek taught me that we have to make our own way in life. Sometimes it takes breaking a routine to understand life in more detail.
Before the flood hit, I was getting complacent. Falling into the comfort of a routine. I still miss my morning runs along Tischer Creek, but I’m looking forward to finding a new path.