Sunday, June 16, 2013

Crosby-Manitou State Park: June 8th, 2013

Jumping right back into things after our Big Trip, we set out to conquer the final North Shore Hiking Club trail on Saturday, June 8th.  We've been putting off George H. Crosby-Manitou State Park because of what we'd read: "100% backcountry park, no facilities", "Trails are steep and challenging for hikers...", "Due to the strenuous nature of the hiking, an alternate easier hiking club trail provided", etc.  We envisioned having to bushwhack our way through dense forest, all while dealing with black flies and the fear of winding up being trailside markers, like those who died on Everest and still remain there as a warning to others.  But Hell if we were going to take the easy alternative, though.  We'd just hiked through the mountains of Colorado.  We had hiked 1/3 of the State Parks Hiking Club trails.  I believe I said that "I would see it as a personal failing if I took the easier route."  How naive I was.

Showing off the SHT signpost lean, couldn't get Thunderdog to join in

The trail was similar to that of a Superior Hiking Trail section (in fact, we followed the SHT for about a mile on the Hiking Club trail) and we saw no reason to fear death.  The issue wasn't with the trail itself.  It was just, for some reason, a really exhausting hike for us.

Into the woods we go

It is a bit of a stretch to call Crosby-Manitou a North Shore State Park.  There is just a tiny bit of the park that actually touches Lake Superior.  The vast majority of it is inland and up over the ridge that separates the North Shore from the Northwoods.  The Hiking Club Trail weaves up and down over the hills, giving us some good views of inland lakes and rivers...but mostly, it gave us heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and a wish for the end to come.

Manitou River: raging through the land of death

Okay, it wasn't that bad.  It was just a lot of up-and-down and it was the first really warm day that we had experienced this year.  The sun beat down, our legs weakened at the sight of yet another hill, and we were never really sure of how far we had gone or if we were even on the right trail.  Even Thunderdog was tired and frustrated.  She actually laid down in the middle of the trail when we stopped to have some water - only once have I ever seen her lay down on the trail: at St. Croix, she rolled around on the grass trying to get the flies off of her.  There were no flies here...simply the specter of exhaustion.

Looking over an overlook: probably quite impressive in the fall

I'm happy to report that we did survive, and we added a hard-fought 4.2 miles to the tally.  Now that we've finished off the North Shore we're going to have to check out some other areas of the state: the Northwoods Parks (Bear Head Lake, Savanna Portage), the Central Lakes parks that we haven't yet visited (Lake Carlos, Glacial Lakes) and perhaps some Southeast MN parks as we drive to Iowa to check out the Twins' Low A Affiliate ballclub, the Cedar Rapids Kernels.  Stay tuned!

Total miles hiked today: 4.2, .9 on the SHT
Total miles hiked in 2013: 39.4
Total Superior Hiking Trail miles hiked in 2013: 7.7
Total ticks today: 3
Total ticks in 2013: 9

1 comment:

  1. Oh I wish I would have been home, we could have gone hiking together! Let's plan a day soon!

    Jen :)