The People’s Free Skate Rink on the ice sheet near Leif Erikson Park is still open and fabulous, but the weather’s turning the next couple days so take advantage today-tomorrow while you definitely still can. I think you’ll like what we’ve done with the place, an ice maze of islands and slollums. Don’t need skates, just come bask in the view of the city and the sky. After dark the snow turns pink in the city lights, a premier hangout for the adventurous. See you there!
Max Moen and I did this once before in 2014. This will be open as long as weather permits maintaining it. It is on Lake Superior directly off Leif Erickson Park from the stage, about a quarter mile. It is marked with orange cones which hopefully no one will eff with. Ice is around a foot thick, you could drive a train on it. This is the premier skate course in town, a hundred feet long with many twisty paths. Even if you don’t have skates, it is a great excuse for a party. Bring bikes, kites, beach chairs, flags, capes, etc.
Clinton Nienhaus, head naturalist for the Friends of Sax-Zim Bog and education director for Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory narrates this video about how Great Gray Owls hunt for voles in winter. Video by Sparky Stensaas.
A little blue sauna on a trailer began popping up around Duluth late last year. The Hiki Hut has licensing similar to a food truck, but instead of food it’s serving up nourishing doses of heat and steam. Owners Whitney and Kelby Sundquist aim to encourage sauna appreciation as well as cultivate community.
If you’ve ever hiked Minnesota’s Superior Hiking Trail to the Wisconsin border you know the trail ends there, but doesn’t really end there. Despite a sign on a tree that reads “Southern Terminus of SHT” and a separate post sticking out of the ground that reads “Not a trail,” there is clearly a trail there leading into Wisconsin. But it doesn’t go far.
The rest of the text on the terminus sign explains: “Spur trail from here to be built by North Country Trail to a parking lot in WI. Trail now dead-ends ahead.”
I explained all that 17 months ago in a Saturday Essay titled: “North Country Trail: Wood Tick Flats,” which was the first report on my quest to hike the North Country Trail across Wisconsin. That summer I covered exactly zero miles on the trail, which is not a great start to a 200-mile journey. If you read that first North Country Trail essay from June 2017 you know I didn’t hike on the trail that day because the grass was long and loaded with ticks. So I waited and saved the hike for a day with more favorable conditions … 17 months later.
What I lack in ambition I make up for with tenacity, right? My motto is: “Never quit. Take a nap and try again later when you feel more up to it.”
Some Duluth residents and business owners feel bright-white LED lights harm humans and wildlife interfere with the ability to view starry night skies. They’ve set up a website at citylightsstarrynights.com.
Fall is prime hiking season around Lake Superior. Linda O’Connell of Onalaska went on a 100-mile journey from the Canadian Border to Temperance River State Park in early September and put together this 37-minute documentary.
“Beautiful views, wrong turns and good food were experienced,” she writes in the YouTube description. “I am just an average American 50-year-old woman trying to get out of my comfort zone. Life is short. Make it count.”