SHT – Bally Creek to Cascade River S.P.


[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 🙂 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!)


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 🙂
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.


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.


(Umm…he totally said that, right?)