SHT – Aspen Knob to Caribou Falls State Park

SHT

Hikers: Betsy, Stephanie, Maria, Anita
Total Distance: 18 mi. for me and Steph, 25 mi. for Anita & Maria
Days: 4 days, 3 nights
Dates:
Sept 22- 25, 2016
Photos: 
Betsy’s

Thursday, 22 September
Steph and I left Maple Grove at 5pm and arrived at Crosby Manitou State Park around 9:45pm. We hiked a mile South to Aspen Knob campsite only to find that our other two camp mates were not there, even though they left much earlier than us. We set up camp and attempted a fire, but the wood was pretty wet and we couldn’t get it going for very long. By bedtime, there was still no sign of the other two girls and we had no way to contact them because of terrible cell phone signals up there. So, we hit the hay hoping that they’d either be here by morning or we’d run into them back at the parking lot at the State Park when we start our hike the next day. So instead of 3 adult women in a 4 person tent and me and the dog in my tiny “2-person” tent, it was two 6ish foot tall women and the 60lb dog in my tiny backpacking tent! It was…cozy. There was not enough space for us both to use a sleeping pad, so I let Steph use one, and I slept without one. The ground was cold, and I shivered most of the night ūüôĀ¬† Heard dogs barking/howling, people’s voices, and cars from a nearby road (Blessner Lake Rd?).

Aspen Knob Campsite

Friday, 23 September
I was up early at 6:45 thanks to the pup, so I had breakfast and packed up stuff. Steph was up at 7:45 and we were back to the parking lot by 9am to find Maria and Anita waiting there in Maria’s car. They had gotten lost and taken a spur trail for 3 or so miles in the wrong direction. One of them was very upset, and one of them had the giggles! After everyone calmed down, we fit all 4 of us, plus gear and dog in my car, and headed for Temperance Road (343) Trailhead. We now decided to hike North to South instead of our original plan to go South to North. I switched out my 40¬į bag for the 0¬į bag because of the cold and we hit the trail. All of the campsites we passed in the first section of our hike looked great; Cross River, Ledge, Fredenberg. My feet were starting to hurting badly. We camped at Dyers creek campsite with a young married couple (Ashley and Alex) and a hammock-sleeper man from Houston (Dave) who had started hiking from the end of the trail and was going to Martin Road. Rain in the middle of the night, I stayed dry. Alex and Ashley got wet.

Saturday, 24 September
I woke up before everyone else. Kieran hung out in the tent by herself while I packed up. We were ready to go about 9:30am, and the rest of our camp had cleared. It was a beautiful morning with blue skies. We stopped for snacks at Sugarloaf Road Trailhead. And took a rest on a bench at Calico Creek. Steph and I split off from Maria and Anita at Caribou Falls because my feet were hurting really bad and I didn’t feel like I could go on. Steph and I took spur trail to parking lot to try and get shuttle, while they continued on trying to make it 6-7 more miles to the car. We couldn’t get the shuttle, so we set up my tent at the trailhead (is that allowed??) to wait for either Maria or shuttle next morning.

Kieran resting in the tent at Dyer’s Creek campsite, like a good girl.
Maria and Anita’s additional route

SHT – Beaver Bay to Lake County Rd. 6

SHT

Hikers: Betsy, Stephanie, Maria
Total Distance: 24.7 miles
Days: 4 days, 3 nights

11 June –¬†Beaver Bay Trailhead to North Beaver River Campsite
I left work around lunch time, picked up Maria, then headed to Steph’s where we would sort through our food and decide what would stay behind and what would come¬†with us. After much dilly dallying, we were finally packed and on the road (~6pm?). We stopped at Bent Paddle (yay!) in Duluth (~9pm) so that I could pick up a growler and we could have some delicious food truck eats. I was incredibly happy to be having a pint of my favorite (as of lately) local beer, their Cold Press Black Ale, straight from the source before hitting the trail for a few days. Two hours later, we arrived at the Beaver Bay trailhead¬†(~11pm) and began our hike. I had miscalculated thinking we would only have to hike about a 1/2 mile to the site, but I think it ended up being closer to 1 mile. We arrived at the campsite around midnight and found 1 tent set up, and one body sleeping on the ground outside in their sleeping bag. We found a nice spot for our tent, set it up quietly, hung our food (after a few attempts) and then settled into bed. Fell asleep to the sound of the rushing Beaver River. The stars were amazing!

Stopped for a beer at Bent Paddle on our way up North.

12 June – North Beaver River Campsite to Bear Lake Campsite (7.2 miles)
We awoke a little after 8am, and our camp buddies were still sleeping. Scrambled eggs with “bacon flavored bits” for breakfast. And coffee (Starbucks Via) — very important. On our hike out, we passed the South Beaver River campsite, which looked way more awesome than the North one¬†— slightly higher than the trail, and overlooking the river —¬†good to know for next time. The hike to Bean and Bear Lake had some difficult and rocky trails, with lots of ups and downs. At one lookout, Maria found a frilly, flowery chair cushion someone had left on the trail, and promptly picked it up and attached it to her pack (the envy of all hikers all weekend!). A steep climb down to the Bear Lake campsites, where we discovered that the 2 (which we thought would be 4) tiny campsites were full. Hiked back up the steep hill to the additional sites in the woods and set up camp. We ended up sharing the site with 4 other parties – mostly dad/son combos (one from Maple Grove — pretty much Steph’s neighbors!), and then one couple, Will & Julie. Chili Mac and Chicken Teriyaki for dinner + wine! After dinner – a hike down to the lake to get water, and take a swim in our undies (with the people from the lake campsites looking on — whatevs, we didn’t care). Back to camp for dessert — vanilla pudding (amazing!) and hot cocoa. One camp buddy hung our food for us! People on the trail are the best! Bed around 11pm.

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Maria looking down on Bear Lake

13 June РBear Lake Campsite to West Kennedy Creek Campsite + a little detour (12 miles)
Up early (~6:30ish). Biscuits and gravy for breakfast, plus some egg/bacon hash that our camp buddies shared with us. Left camp around 10:30am. Signed trail register (at Round Mountain?). Steep hike up Mt. Trudee, where we met two parties from our camp at Bear Lake (one a young boy – trooper!). Took a wrong turn at trail marker “B” and ended up doing 2 extra miles — which brought down our spirits – we were tired, feet hurt, etc., but we got back on track and made it to High Falls on the Baptism River at Tettegouche State Park, where we stopped for a break. Lots of other people in this area checking out the falls. Steph’s feet were in rough shape, and we had a brief “what should we do” moment — quit? continue? We decided to continue, and we were glad we did. ¬†We made it to West Kennedy Creek campsite around 6:30pm, where we shared camp with 3 other parties: the couple from the night before, two high school aged girls (who had one of the lake sites at Bean & Bear lake the previous night), and 2 (handsome) gents¬†from the Twin Cities who shared their Coloradan whiskey with us. We had also decided to check out the East Kennedy Creek campsite, which was supposed to have 4 tent pads. A couple and their dog had set up camp there already, and despite the “4 pads” mentioned in the book, we could only find 3, and the 2 that were not taken were flooded. Mac ‘n Cheese with peas for dinner, and an apple dessert.¬†The¬†girls went to bed early and us older folks¬†drank wine & whiskey, and exchanged stories — fun night! Ran out of wine! ūüôĀ

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14 June – West Kenney Creek Campsite to Lake County Road 6 Trailhead (4.5 miles)
Leisurely morning. Blueberry scones and lemon pudding for breakfast. The girls left a nice note for everyone. We left camp around 11am. Easier hike, and we had extra time before having to get to the trailhead for the shuttle at 3pm, so we took the spur trail to Picnic Rock, which was a great place for a little break; there were several large boulders in the shade that we could rest on at the bottom of a large rock cliff. Made it to the County 6 trailhead at 3 on the nose. Caught the shuttle — some confusion about the price of the shuttle, and now we know for next time. Much deserved dinner at New Scenic Cafe in Duluth. BEST MEAL EVER. Drove out to Park Point in Duluth to walk in the sand and dip our feet in the water.

Steph & Maria @ Park Point, Duluth

Highlights…

  • Swimming in Bear Lake!
  • Meeting fun campmates

Next time…

  • Steph: new boots/shoes
  • Lighter food? Those breakfasts we brought were heavy.
  • Bring maps — not just guide book pages.

What we brought for food…

  • Chili Mac (Mountain House?)
  • Chicken Teriyaki (Mountain House?)
  • Mac ‘n Cheese + Dried Peas (Cache Lake) – forgot the tuna to go with it
  • Cream of Wild Rice Soup (Cache Lake) – didn’t use
  • Fryin’ Pan Bread Scones with Blueberries + Lemon Pudding (Cache Lake)
  • Scrambled Eggs with Bacon¬†Flavored Bits (Cache Lake)
  • Vanilla Pudding (Cache Lake)
  • Apple Dessert (cache lake)
  • Starbucks Via
  • Fryin’ Pan Biscuits & Gravy
  • Fryin’ Pan Bread¬†Scones with Blueberries
  • Lunches: jerky, hard boiled eggs, cliff bars, trail mix, apples/oranges

 

SHT – Bally Creek to Cascade River S.P.

SHT

[Posting this nearly 3 years after the actual trip, using notes I made on my phone during the trip. Unfortunately I can’t remember which campsite we stayed at the first night and I didn’t make a note of it, but I assume it was one of the Bally Creek Pond campsites or the¬†Sundling Creek Camp.]

Hikers: Betsy, Steph T., Stephanie M., Maria, Nissy, Lauren, Annaleise, Kieran the dog (biggest group yet!)
Total Distance: Somewhere between 1 and 3 miles, depending on the people, plus maybe a little more at the state park.
Days: 4 turned into 3
Dates:  August 6-8, 2015  (originally planned Aug. 6-9)
Photos: Steph T., Stephanie M.

This trip was full of rain and plans had to change – we didn’t do nearly as much hiking as we planned, but it was still a good trip because I got a bunch of teenage girls out into nature for a little bit, and¬†they enjoyed it.

06 August –¬†Bally Creek Trailhead
Drove 2 cars, one with me and Steph T., and everyone else in the other. Departed Steph T’s house around 1:45/2. Rained almost the entire drive. Dinner in Duluth at Va Bene – Italian. Tiramisu dessert! Check debacle. Cute waiter.

Steph T. and I headed to Cascade River State Park to get me a new SP pass so I could leave my car at the park for when we finished. Super friendly lady at park office, provided Goo Gone, Windex, and a scraper for me to get my old pass off the window. Filled out a form for them, so they knew we were on the trail. Bought maps for entire SHT. Then headed toward Bally Creek Trailhead. The other car was not there like we expected. Nobody else at campsite. Set up my new little marmot tent in light rain, then went back to car. Drove back to Cascade for cell service, and hoping we’d find them, but didn’t. We eventually heard from them. They were at some trailhead past Grand Marais. We met them at an SA in GM, them had them follow us to trailhead. Trailhead had spots for only 3 cars, and there were 2 others there, so I parked mine on the road. Tried to hang food, but food bags too heavy and car was close, so we brought the food to the car. Everyone in their tents around 11ish? Steady rain. Girls chatting away and giggling in their tent until after midnight ūüôā Kieran tired.

07 August
Rained all night. Packed up camp in light rain. Decided not to hike from where we were. Went into Grand Marais for breakfast and to make a plan. Stopped in some shops and had coffee. Found a laundromat to dry sleeping bags, and hung tents up to dry a bit, then re-packed them. Drove to parking area on county road 45 at north end of Cascade River loop. Hiked just over 1 miles south to Cut Log Campsite. Set up camp – very nice site, with a log with a seat cut into it – hence the site name. Beautiful view from the latrine! Chili mac for dinner – our fave. Chocolate and vanilla pudding for dessert. Steph T. made an awesome camp fire, despite all the wet wood! Successful food hanging. Drank all our wine and liquor. Fun night.

Our very short hike on Saturday after spending the day in Grand Marais drying out.
The whole gang at Cut Log campsite, with Steph’s great fire.

08 August
I was the first awake so I took the food down, then went to get water and dip my head in the river. Coffee and cereal for me for breakfast. Everyone else had cooked egg meals. Packed up camp. Steph T, Maria, and Annaleise hiked south to the state park, and Stephanie M, Nissy, Lauren, and I hiked back to our cars so we could drive to the park and meet them. Met up at the falls and hiked a little more. Picked some raspberries at the park entrance before heading back to Duluth.

Nissy and the cut log seat at Cut Log Campsite
Heading back to the car.
Route from Cut Log Campsite to Cascade Falls State Park

Notes For Next Time:

  1. Caravan to trailhead if in multiple vehicles (because of horrible phone coverage).

SHT – Britton Peak to Lutsen (My 1st SHT Hike!)

SHT

Hikers: Betsy, Uli
Total Distance: 18.2 Miles
Days: 4 days, 3 nights

29 August 2014
Took a half day at work, and hit the road around 1:30pm.
Stopped at the Superior Hiking Trail Association building in Two Harbors. Bought maps and a SHT patch.
Hit the trail from Britton Peak trailhead around 7:10pm. Trail was pretty muddy from rain earlier in the day. My dog, Kieran didn’t like walking on the wooden planks on the trail, so she walked in the mud/water instead.
Skipped spur trail to make it to campsite before dark.
Arrived @ Springdale Creek campsite around 7:50pm. Shared camp with a group of 3 and their dog – a 4 year old German Shorthair / Chocolate Lab mix. Dog’s¬†owner was the owner of¬†a soon-to-be-opened brewery in Uptown (which I’ve since enjoyed several times!).¬†Campmates very kindly shared their liquor and leftover dinner (sausages) with us. Made spaetzle for dinner, and pudding for dessert. Hung food, then to bed around 11:35pm.

Britton Peak Trailhead

30 August 2014
Didn’t sleep well – Kieran woke me up at 4am to go out, and I was uncomfortable most of the night.
Breakfast: Blueberry Kodiak cakes with Hazelnut butter (because I forgot the syrup).
Left camp around 11:15am, campmates had left earlier.
Lunch at West Leveau Pond campsite.
Lots of mushrooms on the trail! Many parts of the trail were pine forests, and smelled like Christmas.
Hiked Leveau Mountain spur trail — the whole loop.
Stopped at Oberg Mountain parking lot for outhouses, and recognized the parking lot from skiing the previous winter.
Hiked the Oberg spur trail loop. I was tired and feet were hurting. Best views of the weekend, though. Also the busiest area so far; lots of day hikers. Rested at a bench after the loop, and¬†Kieran fell asleep under the bench ūüôā
Hiked 1.6 more miles to West Rollins campsite – piney forest, big shady trees – great site! No campmates this time.
Had camp set up by 6pm, relaxed in hammock. Red squirrels chirping.
Dinner: beef teriyaki, dehydrated corn. Dessert: chocolate pudding, dehydrated ice cream.
Tried to get a fire going, but the wood was too wet — gave up.

Mushrooms

31 August 2014
Kieran woke me up a little before 7am, took her out then tried to sleep more in the hammock. It was a little chilly.
Breakfast: blueberry chia seed Kodiak cakes with nut butters.
Hit the trail again just before noon.
Steep climb up Moose Mountain, nice overlook at the top.
Took spur trail to the gondola at Lutsen Mountain — civilization! There was a chalet with a restaurant, restrooms, etc. Had (trail) lunch at a picnic table near gondola lift. Lots of people waiting to ride back down. Filled water and disposed of trash bags.
On way out, found another overlook with railings — took some pictures.
Some hilly hikes to the next campsite, Mystery Mountain, but very enjoyable. Arrived by 6pm, shared site with 3 others from the Twin Cities. They offered whiskey — which was happily accepted.

1 September 2014
Morning: woke up to a thunderstorm and heavy rain — waited it out in tent.
Hiked to Lutsen ski resort to catch shuttle back to Britton Peak trailhead.

Poplar River

More photos here.

A New Home for my Trail Logs

I’ve been wanting a place to log my backpacking trips, so that I could remember where I’ve been and use it to help plan future trips. Just as sailors have ship logs, so should¬†hikers have trail logs.

Since last fall, I’ve taken a handful of¬†trips to the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) for some backpacking on the North Shore of Lake Superior.¬†I suspect this is an activity¬†that I will continue to do as long as I am able to — because I’ve (re)discovered¬†that the woods are my happy place. I’ve logged each of my previous trips, the old fashioned way — with pen and paper — but will¬†work on porting them over here, to the future.

So watch for my previous and future hiking trips (and¬†maybe some other travels as well) to pop in here! I’ll add them as I find time.

3L4awgl

(Umm…he totally said that, right?)