|Gitchi-Gami trail again! We hardly had time to miss it.|
We started out on a familiar path: the Gitchi-Gami state trail. It was a beautiful day (of course): not too hot, a little breeze coming off the lake, blue skies. We moved along at a pretty good clip. We then turned north on a spur, that required us to run across Highway 61.
When we got to the other side of the highway, we saw a very scary looking sign. I wish to all of the gods that I'd gotten a picture of it. It was along the lines of
DANGER DANGER DANGER
BRIDGE OUT AHEAD
OH THE HUMANITY
GO NO FURTHER IF YOU VALUE YOUR LIFE
ABANDON HOPE ALL YE WHO TRY TO CROSS
|Superior Hiking Trail sign, with the signature lean|
The trail was a bit overgrown - clearly, most hikers had decided to heed the stern warning. Other than being kind of grassy, it was in good shape. No standing water, no groundhogs, nothing to keep us from having a good time. Thunderdog really appeared to be enjoying herself. And then, suddenly, we came upon the washed-out bridge. Danger! Horror! Mayhem!
|YOU SHALL NOT PASS!!!!|
Right. So, it really was washed out. There were pieces of bridge a good 20 feet away from where it used to be attached to the banks of the creek. But the creek was so low that it was stagnant in parts, and we were able to cross it without even getting our feet wet. Of course, even though Thunderdog WOULD have been able to cross without getting her paws wet, she splashed around and enjoyed making a mess of herself.
|Kind of overgrown trail through the woods|
The difference between the park-maintained trails and the SHT-maintained trails is pretty staggering. The park trails are about six feet across and mowed. The SHT trails are about 16 inches across and just a worn footpath. Some places are kind of treacherous - clinging to the edges of cliffs, or vertical trails up hills of big and wobbly rocks. The more I hike, the more I realize that I like the SHT style trails much better. For example, a six foot wide mowed trail would not have worked in a place like this:
|Thunderdog on the hillside|
I find that nothing makes me feel on top of the world like BEING on top of the world. Standing on a small, well-worn trail that looks out miles over the land and sea, breathing in the hot piney air spiked with wildflower dust, listening to cicadas and birds and the rustle of needles and leaves. There's nothing like it.
|They should have sent a poet!|
We eventually came to the intersection in which we could have either stayed on the SHT (and hopped onto the Split Rock Loop, which we'd done already) or headed back down to the State Park. It was getting a bit late, so we said farewell to the ridge and headed back to the highway. Once we were back on the Gichi-Gami trail, though, we found something almost as sweet as a long view over Lake Superior.
|Delicacies on the trailside - raspberry bushes galore|
Oh man, there were so many raspberries. I wasn't sure if it was okay to pick them (you can't pick wildflowers in State Parks), but after grazing on them as we walked I decided that it was really better for the park if I just picked one cups-worth of them total (and put them in a bag) rather than try to eat weight in them as I walked along. :-) The only container I had (other than my hand or stomach) was one of Thunderdog's poo bags. That worked pretty well, except that the raspberries got all smushed together in the bag. No worries. I had plans for them that required smushing anyway.
|Thunderdog at the fireplace|
Our path took us up Day Hill to the mysterious fireplace up top. Nobody knows who built the fireplace. Most likely it was built within the last 100 years or so by some eccentric or scouting troop, but I prefer to believe that it was built centuries ago. Isn't it romantic to imagine a group of people building the fireplace to create a lighthouse so that those in boats on the lake wouldn't crash into the shore? Thunderdog didn't care about any fireplace theory, she was about ready to go home.
|Split Rock Lighthouse from Day Hill|
All in all, we hiked a wonderful 4.1 miles. It took quite a long time because I spent a long time gazing out over Lake Superior and picking berries. That little taste of the Superior Hiking Trail did me good, though - next week I will definitely be looking for an SHT mid-week trip. Joe and I are still plugging along on the State Parks, those will continue to be our weekend hikes - until we run out of parks, of course.
|Fresh raspberries, smushed and ready for eating...|
|...with my favorite kind of ice cream: natural vanilla bean. Yum.|
Total miles hiked today: 4.1
Total miles hiked (in 2012): 92.8
Total ticks today: Joe - 0; Thunderdog - n/a; Elly - 0
Total ticks (in 2012): 48