Snow on the Trail

A Photo Journey…

Lisa and I headed up to the Superior Hiking Trail again recently. Strangely enough, not a lot of weird things happened this time. It was such a wonderful day! There was a lot of snow on the trail and it was beautiful! Take a photo journey with us…..

Cool Bridge over the frozen Sucker River

Sucker River Trailhead

This was our starting point. Located about 5 miles inland from Highway 61 at mile marker 14.9.

Lots of snow!

Snow on the Trail

We had decided that the trail was packed down enough that we wouldn’t need snowshoes.

Campsite along the way
Always good to see the Superior Hiking Trail signs!
Just plain cool. The cycle of life.

Oops

Leaving the snowshoes behind ended up being a poor decision for some of the trail.

Somewhere in the middle of our journey the trail became less packed down and difficult to negotiate.
not sure which way to go with so much snow on the trail
Almost no trail at all here.
Or here.
These are cool!
We thought these wispy things were cool! Anyone know? Please leave us a comment below…. we are curious.
We had just noticed that the sun started to come out and play.

Sunshine!

We couldn’t believe how deeply blue the sky was when the clouds broke open and the sun shined!

Beautiful blue sky!

Evidence of life

We found some abandoned bird housing. We always find interesting things to see on the Trail.

Snow on the Trail and filling this abandoned bird nest
We felt sad until we realized that the former occupants were probably well south of here in much warmer weather!
They left behind a cool home though.

Almost done with this adventure

We wrapped up at the western end trailhead at Fox Farm Road

The trail had become much easier at this point
Snow on the Trail and piled on top of this stump
We just thought this was a little silly.
We don’t know who or what built this. Anyone know? Leave a comment below….

Thank you for coming along on our little journey! It was such a wonderful day. Other than gas in the car, it didn’t cost much of anything. We hope you are finding joy in whatever it is that you are doing!

Please comment below and let us know some of your tricks for having fun on a budget. Or, share your stories on our Your Voices page by clicking here.

Video

See the whole story here.

Another SHT Story

As a rule, not every single experience can be the best experience ever. This was one of those times.

As you’ve probably read in our earlier posts… Lisa and I have been trying to spend some time once a month or so, on the Superior Hiking Trail. This is another SHT story….

This month was no exception. We had a little more learning to do, however.

We had checked the SHT website for trail conditions. https://superiorhiking.org/trail-conditions/ It was going to be snowy and cold, as we should learn to expect, really. We certainly weren’t disappointed with how snowy and cold it was!

This is a very short post, but I needed to share it with you. Lisa and I are all about the bricolage experience, which basically means, to us, taking what we already have and making it work. When we were preparing for this outing, I dug a couple pairs of very old snowshoes out of the garage. One pair was completely unusable due to the deterioration that comes with 20 years of improper storage. The other pair we could make work. We ended up having to buy a pair to make the trip (insert sad face). Along with the snowshoes, we brought along a couple of pair of ski poles that have been in the basement for just as long.

shadows
Mission Creek

When we got to the trail, we realized that we were in for quite a day. The snow was about a foot deep with a 2-inch wind-blown crust on top. Just enough to make foot travel difficult. We punched through the crust and caught the edges of the snowshoes with nearly every step! Seven miles would prove to take all day!

Although the scenery is always beautiful on the SHT, we were getting somewhat frustrated after the first 4 hours when we weren’t even half-way to our finish line. Another 4 hours later, we were exhausted and, quite honestly, a bit crabby. I had parked the car in a location that made me worry all day about finding it towed away when we got back, the loud crunch of the crusty snow underfoot made conversation almost impossible, and the difficult terrain was wearing on our middle-aged legs! It was a departure from the usual singing and joking that we usually engage in.  

So, we took with us some old gear, some old experience from my mountain climbing days, and some old legs to get the job done. It was a very difficult day. But, we did it together. We saw some cool wildlife and took some cool photos. We also learned that, with perseverance (for an entire day!), we could do this and still walk away with a smile on our faces!

Cool trees
Woodpecker condo

As a rule, not every single experience can be the best experience ever. This was one of those times. But there are many more to come. What we learned on the trail that day, we will continue to use to make the most out of every adventure.

Oh!… And the car didn’t get towed. I was worried for nothing. (-:

We were, appropriately, not impressed

Thanks for reading my little tale…. Remember to subscribe for more silliness to come…. And, as always, we’d love to hear from you!  Grab whatcha got and let’s go!

First Section of the SHT

The sun….shined in the backdrop through the leafless, but dense, birch trees and pines for the duration of our visit.

Our fourth trip on the Superior Hiking Trail was an easier one. Lisa and I had relearned how to hike without destroying ourselves. We had also learned to pace ourselves over the first couple of miles so we wouldn’t have to limp along, exhausted, for the last few. We were feeling so good about our successes; we even decided to take the dogs with us again. This trip would be a very short and flat section that they could handle without trouble. It was the first section of the SHT.

The week before I had run across an article describing how, several years ago, the SHT had been lengthened to include sections south of the city of Two Harbors all the way to the Wisconsin Border. Our eventual goal is to hike the entirety of the thing. We figured we had better go get the first section done before they decide to add more! This goal is going to take several years. If they add more later, then we can at least say we’ve completed the whole trail….. as it was in 2019. The decision to complete any additional length can be made later if needed.

It was the last weekend in October. The first snow on the trail had already fallen and melted. There had been very little precipitation in the past week. The trail should be dry, and the hiking should be easy. As is becoming normal, we loaded up our gear before the sun came up and headed north.

The first section of the SHT has no trailhead at the beginning. Unless a person is thru hiking from Wisconsin, they would have to park at the nearest parking area, hike to the start of the trail and return on the same path. It’s a mere 1.8 miles from the parking area to the start. This is what we chose to do.

Very different from the more northerly sections that we had previously completed, the southern most part of the trail, at least the very start, is relatively flat and free of the rocky portions that we had encountered in the north. Mostly, it is comprised of compacted soil which made for easy travel.

On the hike out from the car to the true start, we walked in amazement at the scenery before us, and the dogs, strangely, were behaving themselves very well on their leashes. Perhaps they too were remembering the last time we took them along, and learning to pace themselves as well?

The sun was low in the sky as is normal for this time of year. It shined in the backdrop through the leafless, but dense, birch trees and pines for the duration of our visit. The temperature would not reach 40F this day and the crisp air made for excellent hiking weather. I couldn’t help but wonder if the ground-cover plants knew that winter was coming. They would be smothered by snow for the next several months. I wondered if they knew the snow a couple of weeks ago was just a precursor to what was soon to happen. I wondered if they were even concerned about it. Maybe the coming season was a welcome rest to them. A chance to relax before having to fight for sunlight and water again next summer. Perhaps, I suppose. Or they are just plants. I don’t have those answers.

Ready for more hiking action!

Lisa and I sang silly songs and made poor quality jokes between frequent stops to admire the small streams that would cross our path from time to time. After only an hour, we had reached the start of the SHT. We didn’t expect to reach it that quickly and spent a few minutes trying to figure out if this was really it. We thought the starting place would be something more than what it was. Looking back, I’m grateful that it was just a simple sign in the woods. No banners or ribbons, no starting line, just a sign and a fallen, rotting log that we used as a bench to sit on for a few minutes to enjoy our trail sandwiches before heading back to the car. The dogs were not interested in eating except for the treats we brought for each of them and a sip of water.

The beginning of the trail from the First Section of the SHT
The start of the trail

We saw no one on the trail that morning. I know the rules about keeping dogs on leashes. I broke the rules. On the way back to the car, I let the dogs off their leash and let them run and enjoy themselves. Lisa and I were both concerned that they would run off after a squirrel or something worse, but we had seen no wildlife on the way out, and our fears were never realized. After a few short bursts of running ahead and beside and behind and around us, they calmed down and followed us nicely along the path. I was happy for them that they had the chance to run around for a few minutes. I cannot imagine being amid nature’s beauty and not having the ability to explore a little.

Upon returning to the car, the dogs were eager to jump in and rest their tired legs. Another section of the journey complete, we headed home.

More to come…..

Please share your trail stories with us! We love to read about your experiences!

Lisa at the border