Last week Bear Creek Trail in Superior opened to hikers, bikers and snowshoers. It’s a 2.25-mile crushed-concrete pathway connecting the Osaugie Trail at Bear Creek Park to Wisconsin Point Road. An extension is in the planning stages that will create an additional trail on the other side of Wisconsin Point Road to parking lot #1. But what is already built is excellent.
Avesa Rockwell and Jeremy Kershaw have been consulted as experts on bicycling in Shape Magazine. Kershaw and Rockwell lead Heck of the North, a company that plans events for adventuresome bicyclists, such as Le Grand du Nord, Heck Bikepacking Race and Heck of the North.
The laziest and slowest record in endurance-sports history has been broken. Again. By me. Again.
As documented in numerous essays, I started hiking the Superior Hiking Trail on Sept. 23, 2000 and finished the 310-mile trek from the Canadian border to Jay Cooke State Park on Nov. 5, 2015. Obviously I took a lot of breaks along the way. Then, in 2016, I hiked new parts of the trail that hadn’t been built yet, breaking the record I already held for the slowest unsustained complete traverse of the Superior Hiking Trail.
Was that an official record? Well, no organizational body really keeps track of such things. But I stand firmly in my declaration that no one who has hiked the entire Superior Hiking Trail has taken longer to do it than me.
And now I’ve taken even longer.
In the summer of 2018 a new loop trail was built at Ely’s Peak in Duluth. It was kind of late in the hiking season when I heard about it, so I planned to do it in 2019. Then I kind of forgot about it and got distracted with other things. I had also started a new quest to hike the North Country Trail through Wisconsin. I’m still barely started on that.
Anyway, this past July I drove out to the Ely’s Peak area with the intention of knocking out the new last bit of trail, but as I started walking it occurred to me that if I waited until Sept. 23 to do this loop my Superior Hiking Trail story would span a perfect 20 years. So I hiked other trials that day and saved the loop for the perfect day.
Northwoods Volunteer Connection, a nonprofit based in Tofte, is recruiting volunteers for environmental stewardship projects clearing trails in the Tofte and Gunflint Ranger Districts of the Superior National Forest through October. Volunteers wishing to volunteer in other parts of the SNF can be accommodated.
One nice thing about hiking on county roads is that if a deer fly is pestering you and you happen to walk by a freshly killed skunk, the fly will transfer to the skunk and leave you to hike in peace.
There are also fewer ticks on roads than on trails, and you are less likely to get lost. But the benefits of a trail instead of a highway are obvious and substantial. In particular: the natural beauty of the land is a bit less interfered with on a trail, there are no motorized vehicles to watch out for, and on hot days there is usually some protection from the blistering sun.
Last summer I hiked county roads W and B to Pattison State Park. So far in 2020 I’ve hiked from Pattison to the border between the towns of Summit and Gordon. All of this has happened without any overnight camping or serious day of dedicated hiking. It’s just casual car trips to walk the road in there-and-back stretches.
The “impudent phallus.” Like many mushrooms, they have both uh masculine and feminine qualities; in their egg stage they are called “witch eggs.” They also have qualities of both life and death: although uh generative in appearance, they have the strong stench of carrion — which attracts the flies which spread their spores. Wikipedia entry.