A journey into the eyes and mind of a naturalist.

Up North

‘Up North’ is a term that we Midwesterners use to refer to a trip to the wilds of the northern part of the state.  In Minnesota this is usually associated with a cabin of some sort.  For me going ‘up north’ means going to 40 acres of secondary forest just outside Two Harbors, MN.  My uncle build a little one-room cabin out in the woods on this land.  It does not have running water, electricity or anything that would make you think it ever saw the 20th century,  and that’s why it is awesome!

When my uncle passed away in 2008 he left this cabin and the land to my siblings and I.  The cabin has become a very special place to myself and my family.  For me it is a place to take the pictures and explore every nook and cranny of the 40 acres.

The next couple of posts will be sharing the photos and the stories from my trip ‘Up North’ in early August.

Have you ever got that feeling that someone, or something, is watching you?   The outhouse at the cabin seems to attract these large hunting spiders.  Never fail, I can always find out hanging out in or on the outhouse.

These spiders don’t make webs in the traditional sense, they do make ‘spider web’ but it is used as a trail behind them and functions as a message to other spiders in the area.

These spiders HUNT!  They travel the forest floor and actively pursue their prey.  (Did I mention that they are big too?)  Look at all those eyes facing forward just like cats or other apex predators.  In the world of insects this would be your lion, wolf or tiger, an insects worst nightmare!

Those big round eyes will catch the light from a flashlight at night and reflect with a shiny green glow.  Those of you who don’t like spiders this is one way to see where they are BEFORE you get too close!

Spider are NOT insects.  They are Arachnids.  This means they have two distinct body parts and eight legs.   The two body parts are the abdomen and the cephalothorax.  This cephalothorax is the ‘head’ of the spider.  If you look behind the eyes in the middle of the cephalothorax you will see a slight depression.  This is the Book Lung of the spider and this is where it breaths.

Although some think they are creepy or even scary, spiders are amazing creatures and are an integral part of the forest food web!

Up Next:  Morning Hike

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