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Andrew Slade - Author Archive

New old Nordic ski trails at Spirit Mountain »

Have you checked out the newly redone cross country ski trails at Spirit Mountain? Thanks to a lot of hard volunteer work, the trails have been redesigned and brought back to life.

Lots of details at my Best North Shore blog.

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Why is there great food on Park Point? »

Because of all the sand which is there!

Or the noodle bowl or the fried pretzels…

Every Wednesday night, the Chow Haul food truck sets up at the corner of Lake Avenue and 11th Street, to catch the sailors coming in from the races before they get their land legs back.

You can read more about the food truck and its other regular stops on my blog. Or go right to the source, the Chow Haul website.

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Strawberry vendors in Duluth? »

Has anyone seen any roadside strawberry vendors in Duluth in the last day or two? Finke’s down in Mahtowa is having a really rough season and we need our berries bad enough to buy them from the back of a truck.

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Munger Trail field report »

For 25 years, one of the best bike rides in Duluth for those who like level, flat trails is the Munger Trail. But before you head out for a great ride up the old railroad track bed through the hills of far west Duluth, you might want to read my blog update about trail closures and delays this summer. There’s a total trail closure for bridge construction in the Riverside area until June 1 and major re-paving in the works for this summer.

The trillium and violets are blooming like crazy along the trail, though your best bet is to head for the parking lot off Becks Road for now.

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Tour Duluth: One tired guy’s report »

Did anyone else participate in Tour Duluth this weekend? Saturday was the last glorious day of the cross country ski season in Duluth, and the timing was excellent for the annual event sponsored by the Duluth Cross Country Ski Club.

Not to toot my own horn, but…here’s my little brag piece.

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Have you been to Brule? »

Now that I’ve had three great ski trips there myself, I can spread the word to other snow-hungry Duluthians: there is fantastic cross country skiing in Brule. Good old Lake Superior lake-effect snows cranked up again last week; while Duluthians were shivering in the windchill, four inches of the fresh stuff was falling on the Afterhours Trail in Brule. It’s lovely down there.

Head to my blog for more pics and a description of my new favorite ski trail.

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Giving up on skiing, thinking about skating »

Why even listen to the weather forecast? With the fizzle of yet another snow forecast into gray skies and brown ground, I’m about to give up hope on the cross country ski season. Time to pull out the ice skates and hit one of Duluth’s fine outdoor rinks.

Any recommendations about places to rent skates here in town?

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Thank you, solstice revelers! »

Thanks to all the pagan drummers and bonfire tenders, the sun came back up this morning. From Park Point, it was rising right over the mouth of the Amnicon River. Where was your solstice sunrise?

Here are a few musings on the topic.

Happy winter!

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Let the pelican rock your world. »

An American White Pelican has been cruising off of Park Point the last day or two, between the Lift Bridge and the S-Curve. This bird is HUGE. And so beautiful. Read here about my close encounter with this fine creature this morning.

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The Strib’s latest take on Duluth »

This might be old news, but did anyone see this lovely article in the Star Tribune (Newspaper of the Twin Cities) about Duluth by Curt Brown? He’s going for Duluth beyond the lakefront, and ends up at a Burrito Union cribbage tournament.

What do you think? Did he unearth the “real Duluth”? Or just pack down further the existing path off the beaten Lakewalk path?

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Two Harbors this weekend: Toss some lutefisk with Miss North Shore »

While the Duluth media are all abuzz about the Bridge Festival and the return of Dances on the Lakewalk, the most authentic local culture this weekend is up in Two Harbors, at Heritage Days. Toss some lutefisk, ice-scream-socialize at the bandshell with the community band, and follow the machinations of the Miss North Shore contest. More information and links are on my blog.

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Fun and flowers this weekend at Jay Cooke State Park »

It’s Duluth’s own backyard state park. In half the time it takes to drive to Gooseberry, you can get reach this big park straddling the rugged St. Louis River valley. You could even ride your bike out the Munger Trail.

Head out to Jay Cooke State Park this weekend and check out the lady’s slippers that are blooming. Or get up early for a birdsong walk with Larry Weber. The St. Louis River should be raging under the Swinging Bridge. These ideas and more are on my blog.

Note, none of the reservable campsites are available. If you zoom up to the park tonight or early Friday, you could still snag one of the first-come, first-served campsites.

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OMG! Near collision in Duluth Ship Canal »

Runners and their families milling about foggy Canal Park almost got a big thrill this afternoon. The BBC Orinoco nearly side-swiped the South Pier Lighthouse.

I had the best angle, and I was sure this boat was going to hit. More photos in my blog.

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Cheap date for North Shore hikers, agoraphiles »

For the price of a few gallons of gas, you can have a full, free day at Split Rock Lighthouse. It’s the annual open house for Minnesota State Parks, so park admission is free. So is admission to the Minnesota Historical Society Split Rock Lighthouse site.

Did I make up word, “agoraphile”? It’s the opposite of an agoraphobe (someone afraid of crowds). The park and especially the Lighthouse will be crowded!


By the way, gas is often 3-4 cents cheaper per gallon in Two Harbors. Something about Hugo Chavez…

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Learn your local wildflowers »

Let’s say you’re a wildflower and you happen to like cool, moist, acidic woods. Suppose you’d find a place to live around Duluth? That’s what happened for Cornus canadensis, the bunchberry or Canada dogwood.

For four great random facts about the bunchberry, read more at my blog.

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Sick of the fog? Here’s a wildflower that L-U-V-s that fog! »

Okay, it’s another foggy day in Duluth. While you plumb the depths of your commitment to this fine town, while you wonder if the weather here is worth the sacrifice you’ve made in career advancement, take heart from the example of the lowly Mertensia paniculata, a flower for which every foggy day is a perfect day.

And if you’re the type that longs for western landscapes, for the slopes of the Cascades or the northern Rockies, this same flower gives you a psychic link to those lovely places. Like you, it lives here in Duluth, but it’s got serious western roots.

There’s lots more about the Tall Lungwort/Northern Bluebell, Mertensia paniculata, on my blog.

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Your Sunday morning book review »

Who amongst us does not enjoy sitting around on a Sunday morning, reading the New York Times and leisurely paging through the Book Review section?

In case you haven’t picked up your copy of the Times at Mount Royal yet, here’s a book review you can read to keep your morning on track. It’s of Safe from the Sea, by Peter Geye, which just won the North East Minnesota Book Award.

SPOILER ALERT: The “Freighter” bar is actually the Anchor. And the topless bar “Tallahassee” is actually the Saratoga. Oh, and the old man dies.

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Spring flowers in Duluth: Where they are … and where they aren’t »

The woods of Duluth are starting to fill in with flowers, like bloodroot (above). Warm spring sun is finally reaching the forest floor, and the wildflowers are responding in kind, sending their leaves and flowers up for a brief but raucous period of color, pollination and photosynthesis.

I had a great flower walk on Sunday off of Skyline Drive on the Superior Hiking Trail by Bardon Peak. Photos and directions are on my blog.

Then this morning I thought I’d find another field of flowers in the woods of UMD’s Bagley Nature Area. It’s a sugar maple forest just like Bardon Peak. But there were virtually no wildflowers, just one lone wood anemone. What’s up with that?

More places around Duluth you could look for spring wildflowers:

  • Superior Hiking Trail between Keene Creek and Haines Road.
  • Jay Cooke State Park
  • Hartley Nature Center ski trails

Any other suggestions, all you nature geeks out there?

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One more free day in Canal Park »

Parking meter on Lake Ave. Note the May 15 start date.

If you think that Canal Park belongs to Duluthians and not just to the tourists, you have one more day to freely utilize that right. Emphasis on the free. Paid parking goes in effect this Sunday, at  least at the meters and presumably at the paid lots as well.

Stroll the piers. Gawk at a 1000-footer. Deconstruct the meaning in public art. It’s your birthright, Duluth.

For today, you don’t have to worry about the gatekeepers at the hotel parking lots and their clipboards.

You don’t yet have to worry about the eager tow companies in the private lots, who will boot, tow, or just flop upon every car whose driver heads to Coldstone before hitting Caribou Coffee.

Toss some rocks at the beach at the corner of the lake. Enjoy your city. Without a roll of quarters in your pocket.

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For sweeties or tweeties, head to the Western Waterfront Trail »

Not sure why I’m thinking this way, but if you’d like to impress your sweetie with your knowledge of Duluth’s cool places, plus get some exercise and check out spring, you can’t go wrong with a nice long walk on the Western Waterfront Trail. The St. Louis River is full of migrating birds, the trail is wide enough and dry enough for hand-holding, and it is so much more “perfect Duluth” than the tourist-lined Lakewalk.

Western Waterfront Trail runs along the St. Louis River

Read more details, including directions to the seldom-used but way better eastern trailhead.

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