Bear Head Lake State Park is just a stones-throw away from Soudan Underground Mine and Vermilion State Parks. All of them are on the outskirts of Ely, on the edge of the Boundary Waters. There's camping, boating, and fishing on Bear Head and the surrounding lakes - kind of "Boundary Waters Lite". Interestingly enough, the 3-mile Hiking Club Trail didn't come close to the big lake itself. Instead, we got to see the smaller but very pretty Norbert Lake.
|Path through the tall, tall trees|
Dang but these were some tall trees. These red pines were part of the old growth forest near the start of the Hiking Club trail. As with Soudan Underground Mine and Vermilion, there was a mix of pine and deciduous trees throughout the park.
|The rocky road|
The trail, though. Oh my gosh, the trail. I've hiked on a lot of trails and this one was the most annoyingly rocky trail that I have ever stumbled over. Sure, I've hiked on paths that were nothing but wobbly rocks, or gravel, or bits of shale. For some reason, Bear Head Lake State Park's Hiking Club Trail had the perfect mixture of rocks and dirt, and I was tripping all over the place. There are worse things, of course, but it's not easy to enjoy the scenery when mere seconds from faceplanting oneself on the ground.
|A picture perfect day|
Luckily, we had a few opportunities to get off the trail and stop stumbling over rocks for a while. Check out this beautiful lake! This is what it's all about: the clear blue lakes, shining like jewels, surrounded by pines waving slowly in the breeze. I imagined paddling my canoe right up to that grassy point across the lake. Sitting on the shore, watching the fish and the birds, reading a book. Building a campfire, listening to loons, and sleeping under the sky. Joe and I kicked back and relaxed for a spell before getting back on the trail. We could have stayed there all day.
As with many of the other Minnesota State Parks we've visited (especially those with "Lake" in the name...), this would be a whole nother experience if we'd had a boat. Perhaps once we hike all of the Hiking Club Trails, we'll come back and canoe all of the waterways?
A quick note: as of this weekend, we've officially hiked over half of the Hiking Club Trails in the state. There are 68, and Soudan was the 34th and Bear Head Lake was the 35th. We are also less than a mile away from a really big milestone. We'll be hitting that milestone next weekend...on our next Big Trip Big Fun!!! Stay tuned...
Total miles hiked today: 3.0
Total miles hiked in 2013: 94.8
Total Superior Hiking Trail miles hiked in 2013: 19.7
Total ticks today: 0
Total ticks in 2013: 54