Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wolf Rock and Crow Creek Valley Overlook (again); Superior Hiking Trail: June 12, 2012

I was feeling uninspired yesterday.  It was a beautiful summer day (temps in the upper 60's, a slight breeze off the lake), I got off work at 4:00, and Thunderdog looked ready for a walk.  I perused my Hiking Reference Collection*, but nothing jumped out at me.  Then I remembered: there's no law against hiking the same trail twice.  It might actually be fun to see the changes in a trail from time to time, season to season.  That is how Thunderdog and I wound up recreating our March 24th hike on the Superior Hiking Trail: Lake County Road 106 to Wolf Rock, and the spur to Crow Creek Valley overlook.

the sign was crooked before, now it's also leaning back.

The first part of the trail is pretty steep, and very familiar.  I remembered that when we did this part of the trail in March it was still muddy and kinda dead.  Now it was green, green, green everywhere.  Lots of life!  There was also something new on one of the trees:

Beware the Emerald Ash Borer

The Emerald Ash Borer has not yet been found in this part of the state, but people are on alert.  Several counties in the southwest are quarantined - no ash wood can travel out of those counties.  Moving firewood has become a big no-no in Minnesota, even in counties that have not yet seen Emerald Ash Borers.  We want to keep slow their movement, and hopefully save trees.  The sign I found on the Ash Tree on the trail was indicating that there was a Emerald Ash Borer trap hanging in the tree above.

a bad picture of the trap

Why are they purple?  Well, Emerald Ash Borers, like most insects, are attracted to certain colors.  They apparently prefer the color of royalty.  They also have Manuka Oil (from the Manuka tree, which these pesky insects seem to love) to attract the right kind of bug.  These boxes are hung in ash trees, and are covered with sticky glue.  You are all very lucky that I did not get an in-focus picture of the trap, because it seemed to catch many kinds of non-Ash Borer bugs as well.

I was a kid when Dutch Elm Disease decimated the Elm trees of Minneapolis (amongst other places in the US).  I remember my dad and the other neighborhood parents injecting the trees with some sort of Tree Medicine that they hoped would help, and watering the roots to the point of saturation.  Nothing helped.  The tell-tale spray-painted rings appeared on all of the Elms on our block.  Then, one day, the chainsaw whirrs started, and the beautiful trees which created a canopy over our street were gone in a haze of sawdust.  I hope that the Emerald Ash Borer can be kept at bay.  It would be such a shame to lose Ash trees in the same way we lost the Elms.

Can we walk now??

Thunderdog got tired of all of my pining about trees, so we continued on our merry way.  The path was in good condition.  Just a few muddy spots, nothing too awful.  The little Crow Creek looked so tempting that Thunderdog jumped into it both on the way to the overlook and back.  There were no ticks, we had no mosquito bites, and the blackflies do not seem to be out yet.

I'll end this post with a comparison: Crow Creek Valley in March, and Crow Creek Valley in June.  I'll be back in the fall to see what it looks like when all of the trees are in glorious bloom...and perhaps in the winter to see it all silently under snow.

Crow Creek Valley in March

Crow Creek Valley in June

Total miles hiked today: 2.4 miles
Total miles hiked (in 2012): 52.7
Total ticks today: Joe - n/a; Thunderdog - 0; Elly - 0
Total ticks (in 2012): 45

* The Hiking Reference Collection includes my already-getting-battered copy of the Guide to the Superior Hiking Trail; my Minnesota's State Parks book that is getting pretty out of date; and many, many official and unofficial trail maps of National Forest trails, State Forest Trails, and local trails. It's a huge mess of dog-eared, water-damaged, and post-it-noted books and paper, but it serves me well.

No comments:

Post a Comment