SHT – Days 3 to 5

The storm last night was a good one. The real downpour didn’t last long, thankfully. As soon as it got heavy I realized I needed to adjust my tarp or suffer very wet gear. I moved to get out of the rain and get a good nights sleep.

Ryan had sore legs, so he’s going to get a shuttle and skip ahead.

We hiked through Magney State Park and saw Devils kettle falls. It’s an impressive waterfall and river gorge. The falls is likely running strong due to the storm the night before. After checking the falls it’s doe to the parking lot.

Ryan calls for a shuttle and takes off. I eat some ramen and hike west for a few more miles to the North Little Brule site, which is a nice site. It’s a quiet evening, and I go light on food to conserve for the rest of the section. I sleep well and wake up tired, eat breakfast and head out.

The trail descends toward lake superior and crosses Highwy 61 to the shore where the trail becomes the beach for 1-2 miles. It’s great.

I meet a hiker named Blake who’s southbound as well. We chat for a few minutes about hikes and living out west.

After the lake walk, the trail goes back inland, up the hill and past several beautiful creeks and rivers; all rocks and waterfalls and charm.

I’m getting low on food, but should have just enough to get to Grand Marais. About 100 calories every hour or so. I’m undecided about hiking into town tonight, or camping and going in in the morning.

I pass woods creek campsite, crossing the road. I consider calling a shuttle to town for a night in, and would restart here, but don’t like the idea of having to head ‘backwards’ to pick up where I left off.

I finally decide to keep going and camp at one of the devil track river sites then hike into town in the morning.

The Devil Track is an impressive canyon. The trail follows the eastern rim upriver for a couple miles past large waterfalls, then descends to the river and two campsites. I camp at the west site. It’s awesome; my favorite site so far. I set up, get cleaned up a bit, then eat everything in my pack except breakfast for tomorrow.

Day 5

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I wake up to a light rain. Time get up and go to town.
It’s coffee and an instant breakfast and instant grits while I pack. Stuff is wet from the rain, but no matter; it’ll dry in the motel room I’m going to get.

I pack up and head uphill out of the canyon, through forest to pincushion mountain, a big lookout of exposed basalt. A few minutes there then it’s out toward the trailhead and down to town.

I have eggs and hashbrowns at the Blue Water cafe, and book a room at the mangy moose Motel. Then it’s some loitering by the lake until check in time.

Once in my room, stuff is pulled out to dry and I go out to resupply food. Conveniently, everything is within a few blocks. After shopping, I get a burger at My Sister’s Place. I sit at the bar (first time in over a year!) and chat with a guy from Iowa.

After that it’s back to my room to chill and repack. I watch a few old movies, all new to me: Hairspray, Marty, and Dogfight.

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SHT -Days 1 and 2

Day 1 5-21

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15 miles 

Ryan and I started from the beginning at 1030. We hiked north to the terminus took som pictures and headed back south to the parking lot. I grabbed some water from the swamp river and continued on. A muddy forest road was the trail for awhile, with a nicer, drier trail darting off for sections that would rejoin for more mud. 

Pleasant cedar groves gave way to maple while climbing rose bush ridge. A stiff climb to the top was rewarded with a cool breeze; one of the best things of the day. 

Ryan went ahead here, so we hiked alone for two hours and met again at a road crossing. The bugs had gotten worse so we kept on; climbing a ridge and hoping for another breeze. 

We passed a solo guy hiking, then two guys, then two ladies an hour later; they were all going north. 

Ryan took a break and carried on, down a hill to a rocky creek where I soaked my feet and washed some sweat and dirt off my face. This was the best thing of the day. 

Another mile bought us to north Carson pond camp.

Full with six tents and at 8:30 everyone was in bed already. Rules are to share a site, so we set up in the weeds got some water and turned in. I’m writing this encased in mesh – safe from the bugs for the night.

We’re considering relaxing the mileage and staying in grand Marais for a night. We’ll see. 

I’m hoping to just stay healthy, get fitter and get into the hiking groove. Good first day.

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I’m writing this part later: camp was not all quiet. Not long after typing the above, four guys came back to camp from the bar and hiked in more beer with them too. They were pretty loud until another guy there asked to cool it. That worked; could’ve been worse.

Day 2 5-22

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6 miles

We woke up and got out of camp pretty fast. The other quiet guys were leaving so I got up and started packing. Everything was wet so I tried to hang a few things up as I worked at getting things together. My tarp was wet in both sides from condensation. That and wet socks went on top of the pack, and I hoped they’d dry out. 

We walked about a mile out to cross the Arrowhead Trail, and discussed mileage option for the next camps. We elected to take a short day to ease into the miles, dry stuff out and rest up.

We stopped at the South Carlson site, which is really nice. Big, open, with dry ground in a pine grove, and a swampy lake edge. Both Ryan and I unpacked and hung stuff up to dry and had breakfast. After an hour or so we packed up now dry stuff and started walking. 2.5 more miles to Hazel campsite. 

We passed a creek and hiked on a narrow gravel backcountry road. There was another break at a creek, filling water and then washing dirty socks.

We found the site, thankfully empty. The rest of the afternoon was sunny and breezy, so clothes dried and one could sit out without bug spray for a few hours at least.

As I’m finishing this at 7pm, there’s thunder in the distance.

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