Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Walk In The Woods

Do you live in Duluth or the surrounding area?

Are you looking for a cheap, healthy diversion in these hard economic times?

Are you wondering if this person is going to try to sell you camping equipment?

Well, there's this little foot path that I'd like to tell you about. It's called the Superior Hiking Trail and I lived here for YEARS before I ever knew about it.

Then again, you might be a little smarter than I am.

Bear with me.

There is a website for the Superior Hiking Trail Association with a bunch of info on this 205 mile long trail along the Northshore and up to the Canadian Border. You can hike the whole thing, you can go lodge to lodge, or you can do what I did yesterday and pick a section that is within walking distance of your house and you can take a hike.

There are books that describe every mile of the trail and all the flora and fauna. Not NECESSARY but highly useful. You can also look at maps on the website or purchase maps from the SHTA.

I like this book:

The funny thing is this, last year I would get in my car and drive up to the trailhead that is near my house. This year, I got adventurous. Actually, it was on one of my bad days when I went out for a walk and really didn't care if I fell into a punji pit or was eaten by a bear. Being totally indifferent to your own self destruction can lead to amazing discoveries! (I hear Admiral Perry was inconsolably suicidal when he went to the North Pole.) Anyway! I saw a path that looked like it led up to the trail head just up the street. Taa daa! I was right!

The view down the street from the path is quite ordinary (43rd and Gleenwood for the locals)

The path leads right up the side of the hill (and there is a whole lotta up on this path) to this trail head

The SHT is blazed with blue blazes like this:

You have to pay attention to your blazes and signs but most of the time, it's quite clear.

I took the spur trail (blazes are white) from Hawk's Ridge to Hartley Nature Center where I met this tree:

If you're walking along and you see a tree with a blaze like this, you'd better back track and find the blue blazes. I only took a wrong turn to demonstrate what NOT to do. Hey, has Bear Grylls ever screwed up for the purpose of making a point? I think not! Will I be drinking my own urine today? I think not!

I then proceeded from Hartley Nature Center to the Rose Garden in Downtown Duluth.
The SHT dips from parks to neighborhoods as it goes through Duluth and often you'll find yourself following the blazes and signs through city streets.

Sometimes the signs are small so you have to pay attention.

Or the blazes can be a bit faded

There are some beautiful places nestled right in Downtown Duluth

Occasionally, the trails have nifty little steps made of stone.

The trail goes through so many different environments, from deep woods and waterfalls to city streets and the Lakewalk.

I ended up passing the Farmer's Market on the way to the Rose Garden. Raw milk cheese curds anyone?

The trail goes down to the Lakewalk and continues, if you should choose to traverse it, up to Enger Tower and beyond.

I decided to hike the Lakewalk and then catch a bus home. Total hike? 12 miles. Total cost? One bus ride .75 cents.

And raw milk cheese curds, if you want to buy them...I'm not sharing mine!

1 comment:

Rebecca Hartong said...

Lots of people ask me why I love Duluth so much. The city does certainly have lots of problems. But it's also got this: wonderful trails right within the city limits. When I lived in Duluth (ahem...30 years ago) I spent a lot of good time on those trails, wandering through the woods and along side one river or another, figuring out who I was going to be. In many ways, I became the person I am today because of Duluth and its wild trails -- and I like that person a lot, so Duluth is very special to me.