Monday, May 21, 2012

Reeves Road eastward out and back, Superior Hiking Trail: May 16, 2012

On May 16th, I was still feeling kind of grumpy from my tough bike ride on May 10th.  I needed to get back in the woods, and fast.  I needed a quick shot of wilderness, so I used one of my "get out of long car travel free" cards and drove the 5 miles from my house to the closest Superior Hiking Trail trailhead - Reeves Road, just north of Two Harbors.

note the lack of tilt!
This is one of the newer sections of the Superior Hiking Trail. You probably recognize one of the names on the sign - the Lake County Demonstration Forest...just 11 miles down the road.  I decided to head in that direction because the first half mile in the other direction is walking on the shoulder of Hwy 2.  For such a short hike - I didn't plan on being out longer than an hour - I didn't want to spend a lot of time walking on asphalt.  So I headed the other direction and instead walked on a DIRT road!!

It was a very nice dirt road!
Really, it was a perfectly nice road: no cars, no dust flying around, nice and quiet.  And it was such a beautiful day out: temps in the upper 60's, blue skies, no bugs yet.  Thunderdog and I walked for half a mile up the road until we came upon the Walk-in-the-Woods part of the day.

From the bottom: Foot travel only, SHT main trail,
blue blaze, woodpecker holes
Almost immediately we were encased in the forest.  It was quiet and the light was subdued.  The trees - mostly pine trees - were for the most part...dead-looking.  I know that they were probably not dead: just needle-free close to the ground and needle-full up towards the sun; the trunks and forest floor teeming with little critters and all sorts of life.  But upon first glance (and second), I felt like I was in a great dead forest.  Even Thunderdog was a little spooked by it.

Wind in my hair, I feel part of everywhere
Underneath my being is a road that disappeared
Late at night I hear the trees, they're singing with the dead

The path was flat and well-marked; so we moved quickly through the woods.  I heard a ruffed grouse somewhere nearby.  Now that I know what they sound like, I seem to hear them everywhere.

Seeing a light up ahead, we hurried towards it and were practically blinded when we found ourselves in one of the huge deforested/mowed spaces left behind by the utilities folks.  If you don't live in a part of the country/world that has above-ground utilities, this might seem weird to you.  In Minnesota it is necessary to put power lines overhead sometimes...and in places like the North Shore, they are strung up like kids with jump ropes across the landscape. 

It would make a great sledding hill, if you could manage to avoid the huge towers
We were in for something delightful when we crossed to the woods on the other side of the powerlines: GREEN!!  It was like night and day.  We left behind the Dead Forest and entered the Explosion of Springtime.  Aspens and birches and ferns and ground plants - it was a verdant riot of green. 

It's so hard to take pictures of the forest...but you get the idea.   Green.
We hiked through the Green Forest until we came to Reeves Road again.  That was my pre-planned signal to turn around and head we did.  It was a nice little hike, and it was just what I needed to take care of my Outdoor Blues.  

There's more that I want to see further down this segment of the Superior Hiking Trail: I've heard rumors of a waterfall, a beaver lodge, and a few stands of virgin woods in the 11 miles between Reeves Road and the Lake County Demonstration Forest.  I'm going to have to see what that's all about...someday.  :-)

Total miles hiked today:  2.8

Total miles hiked (in 2012): 37.8
Total ticks today:  Joe - n/a; Thunderdog - 3;  Elly -0
Total ticks (in 2012): 21

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