Monday, July 22, 2013

Split Rock Loop, July 21st 2013

Our friends Mandy and Mark (previously highlighted on the Dogsled Trip posts) were up on the North Shore for a mini-holiday last weekend, so we decided to go for a hike!   They suggested Split Rock Loop, and I thought that was a great idea.  We each packed part of a picnic lunch and set out around 11am on Sunday morning.

Mark scrubs off his boots at the boot scrubbing station.  Gotta get those tansy seeds off!

After much thought, we decided to leave Thunderdog home for this hike.  She was practically eaten alive by blackflies during the week, and I worried that it would be a buggy hike again on Sunday.  I shouldn't have worried.  None of us even had to bother with bug spray due to the cool breeze blowing off the lake.  I felt kinda bad about leaving her behind.  I will have to make it up to her.

We passed the same little waterfall that we saw on May 15th: no fish jumping this time, though.

We stopped at the trail register right after the pretty waterfall, and signed it.

Mandy, Mark, Michele and Joe
a hiking, a hiking, a hiking we go

Amazing (but a bit blown out) picture of Split Rock River

Mandy and Mark at the Split Rocks - hence, Split Rock River

We arrived at the halfway point and were ready for lunch.  Before we sat down on the rocks and got out the picnic, we risked our lives by several of us walking onto the bridge at once.  Seriously though - this bridge has a heckuva lean.  There are a couple of cables holding onto it, but that is not a trick of the camera: it really is bowing very noticeably to the left.  It's only six years old...we wondered why it was in such rough shape.  I thought that perhaps it was damaged in the flood last year, but it is bowing upriver.  Do as the sign says, not as we do, kids!!

Noooooooo we are going to die!!

We sat down to enjoy our picnic: peanut butter sandwiches, homemade cookies, apples, cheese sticks, and I brought a can of Pringles.  I am not a huge Pringles eater, but they seemed like a good salty snack in a semi-sturdy container.  It was a great lunch.

Welcome to Idyllic Picnic Town, MN.  Population: us.

Until...disaster.  For no good reason, the Pringles can popped out of my hands and tumbled down the rocks.  Past my outstretched fingers, just out of Joe's reach...and into the river.  Noooooo!!!!  I didn't want to litter, so I immediately leapt up and ran downriver in the hopes of stepping out on some rocks and catching it with a large stick.

This didn't work.  I fell flat on my ass, right in the river.

Dramatic reenactment with minor photoshopping for effect

Obviously, I missed the Pringles can.  While I was standing up to deal with the fact that I was now soaking wet from both feet all the way up my left side to my head, the Pringles can bobbed merrily downstream.  I was a litterbug.  A sopping wet litterbug.

They should revoke my Hiking Club patches and my Superior Hiking Trail Association membership.

It didn't ruin our day, though.  The second half of the Split Rock Loop is easier than the first half (if you start from the roadside trailhead, not in the State Park proper), and it really was one of those amazing North Shore afternoons that makes the long winters worth it.  We laughed and chatted and at one point I found a piece of bark that looked exactly like the state of Minnesota.

On par with the Jesus Toast or the Elvis Potato Chip!

It was great to see Mandy and Mark again.  Good hike, beautiful day, good friends.  We're going to see them again in about three weeks for a Hiking Club Trail hike and then some board games.  They're the ones that actually got me interested in Hiking Club Trails - I think they're still ahead of Joe and I, but we're catching up!

And, of course, there's the Superior Hiking Trail.  I had a wonderful time, despite fall on my butt in the river and having to walk with squishy shoes for the rest of the hike.

Total miles hiked today: 5.0
Total miles hiked in 2013: 68.3
Total Superior Hiking Trail miles hiked in 2013: 17.9
Total ticks today: 0
Total ticks in 2013: 54


  1. I've camped a couple times at the campsite on the north side of the river, perhaps a mile from the bridge. Beautiful site, and a great little hike.

    1. The campsites along that way are great - do you mean the one that's down by the river, or up on the bluff? There was a whole crew at the site that is right on the river (and the latrine is across the trail, up on the hill.)

  2. Yes, the one on the river. I once took my family on a winter hike probably ten years ago and we did the loop. We stopped at that camp site, had a little fire, drank a little hot chocolate and had a wonderful time. That place is beautiful any time of year.