Jana: I'm sure you had a good and FUN run. Looking forward to RR. I really enjoy the North Shore area as well. Ran a brutal 25k trail run in Lutsen area a couple of yrs ago, it was so wonderful to run through the woodlands/ up and down rocky hills. DH and I stayed the whole weekend and drove up to Grand Marais and Grand Portage, turned back at the Canadian border. Had lunch/dinner along the way while we stopped at the small towns, and walked along the shore. I hope to visit a couple of more times before we move back to AZ. I really want to make the trip around Lake Superior from Thunder Bay to Sault Ste Marie, and return through Michigan and back to Duluth. That trip would be awesome!!
Erica, Lisa and Nancy: HELLOOOOO!! Hope all is going well and those on trips are having a blast!!
This Hikefest isn't about running but I thought I share w/ you our weekend adventure.
RB and I met in Duluth on Friday. Carpooling wasn't gonna work out so we followed each other instead. About an hour north of Duluth along Lake Superior. Weather is nice, overcast, about 55 degrees. Rain predicted so we have rain gear for camping/hiking. About 4 pm, we made it to Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center for check-in. This is the main area for activities. Most participants are staying in dorms at this Center w/ a short walk to the dining area for all of our meals (if you chose that package, we did). Some adventurous souls are staying in nearby campground w/ modern facilities. Then there is us, the bold and fearless!! LOL!! RB reserved a rustic campsite, about 15 miles away in George H. Crosby Manitou State Park. http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/remote_camping.html
We drive to the trailhead parking and found many other vehicles parked, so there are other campers/hikers (not w/ the hikefest) around. We are following a map to find our campsite which is near the Benson Lake trail, about 1/4 mile from the parking lot. We find a small parking space for 15 min unloading only (for canoes/kayak apparently). There's some picnic tables (day use only) nearby on grassy area. Nope, this is NOT our campsite. We saw some wooden planks from the Benson Lake trailhead that leads to the other side of lake. We walked about 100 yrds, and finally find our campsite number. But we still have to hike up a rooted hill, another 100 yds and finally find the campsite. It's primitive but it's quiet. We thought we would have a spectacular view of the lake but those darn trees were in the way! LOL!!
There's a fire grill enclosed in wrought iron and a wrought iron container for keeping dry wood, etc. It had rain days before so we were glad that prior campers had saved dry wood but we bought some firewood just in case.
We unloaded/set up tent/sleeping bags. I brought a large tarp which we put over the tent, and it was a lifesaver. RB brought this to boil water for her morning coffee https://content.backcountry.com/images/items/900/JET/JET0037/CB.jpg
We will be having our meals at the Center. I left my car in parking lot and we drove back and forth in RB's jeep for meals and activities. Out of the 15 miles, about half of it is paved, the rest is dirt/gravel. There is a silent auction as well to support Superior Hiking Trail maintenance. Many who attended are members, and we seemed to be among the few 'youngest.' After dinner, there's a presentation by a member who has kayaked/canoed in many places around the world. We left early before it got too dark. After we parked at trailhead parking lot, we got our backpack w/ our personal stuff (we carried very little stuff), put on our headlamp and walked the 1/4 mile to the trailhead, up the rooted hill to our tent. It was chilly and overnight temps were in the 20s but we stayed warm in our sleeping bags!
Up at 5:30 am. Had coffee. Secured the tarp over the tent. Drove back to Center for breakfast. At 9 am, we made our own sandwiches for our lunch (time-consuming), and broke into groups for the hikes we wanted to take. We decided on the Tettegouche State Park Loop, a moderate 7.5 w/ several lakes /overlooks. http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/tettegouche/index.html
We had to drive about 8 miles to trailhead. After a short talk about safety, hike route per map, we started the day's hike. We didn't stay w/ the group. About 5 others were ahead of us too. We took our time but we still were ahead of the group who we met up about mid-way for lunch at a campsite w/ cabins. Most of the trail was soggy/muddy in areas, wooden planks (bogs) and it was cold from the wind along the lakes. But elsewhere, trees served as excellent windbreakers. I had my trekking poles. I'm sure the views would have been more stunning if not for the overcast/cloudy sky all day. I was most cautious but.......I slipped on the edge of a muddy wooden plank!! OMG!! It happened so quickly but it was in slow motion in my head!! All I could think of was the trail races I already paid for!! I didn't tense up, just kinda went w/ it and landed easily, not too hard. Left heel is the one that slipped so it fully extended out while my right leg (the injured one) bent at the knee!! I didn't hear a pop or feel a huge pull. RB (a nurse) helped me up. We assessed my whole body for any potential injuries, none. I was so glad for my yoga stretching during my injury recovery/post-run cool-down, gained some flexibility. We continued on at a slower pace and stopped so I can stretch.
We made it back to RB's jeep about 3 pm. She gave me some ibuprofen to lessen any inflammation. It really worked!! We drove back to Center for another presentation at 4 pm by another member before dinner. Her topic: "Adventure on the Maah Daah Hey Trail in North Dakota and How I Almost Died" Yes, that's the title, LOL!! We were interested in this b/c RB and I will be running a trail race on the Maah Daah Hey in August!! We enjoyed the photos and her perspective on the route she took. Before dinner, auction closes. I bid $31 and won a $50 gift car to Duluth Running Store!! YAY!! By dinner, it begin to rain!!
After dinner, another presentation: Running the Superior Hiking Trail: Building Community Through Shared Adventure. Speaker was a professor w/ a college in Duluth. She's a novice runner and ran the trail for the cause; from Canadian Border to Duluth, MN (about 300 miles in 19 days) to raise awareness on environmental concerns/community activism which she spoke about more than her supported run, not too many photos.
We had a couple of friends who met us for the presentation. They were volunteering at an aid station for the Superior Spring 25k/50k trail run which was taking place further north of where we were. We've all run at least one of the Superior Trail races. They had camped out the night before but got a hotel room for this night. wuuz!! haha!!
It's still raining when we drove back to our campsite. RB parked her jeep at the 15 min unloading area for the night.....just in case we bail out, LOL!! We were wondering if rain might turn to snow. It's not a downpour but it's steady rain, 38 degrees, and windy. We were so relieved to find the tarp still secure and our stuff/sleeping bag dry inside the tent, YIPPEE!!
However, RB wanted to say she made/ate s'mores over the camp fire so we managed to make a fire!! And so she did, haha!! I don't care for marshmellows but I held the umbrella over her head, LOL!! About 11 pm, we settled in our sleeping bag, tired from the hike and slept through the wind/rain!! I'm sure it got colder but we stayed warm.
Up at 6 am. Still raining. Both of my legs are feeling fine. Had coffee. We packed up everything. Made 2 trips to her jeep. I followed her in my car to the main road where I left my car. We made it to breakfast. Afterwards we followed each other back to Duluth. It rained the whole way. We had lunch and parted for our trip home.
It was quite an adventure, fun and memorable!! Hope to do more camping before my move back to AZ. 😎