Quantcast

Outdoors Posts

Sixteen Years on the Superior Hiking Trail: Preparations

Paul Lundgren Saturday EssayAt some point in the 1990s, I started hearing about the Superior Hiking Trail, a new footpath designed for hikers to see the sexiest peaks and rivers in the wilderness along the North Shore of Lake Superior. It didn’t come up very often in conversation until the year 2000, which is when it began to annoy me that I had never hiked a speck of it — other than maybe wandering away from the waterfalls at Gooseberry and noticing markings that told me I was on the not-yet famous trail I’d been hearing about.

It was April 2000 when an upstart Duluth newspaper called the Ripsaw began publishing weekly and I stepped up to be its managing editor. The paper had a weekly “Adventure” article and I suddenly found myself around people who had taken on parts of the SHT and heard stories about a handful of souls who had through-hiked the whole thing, which at the time meant trekking from Two Harbors to the Canadian border.

There was a rumor going around that Dusty Olson ran the whole trail in two days, which I found almost but not quite believable. The notion that such a feat could be close to true at least led me to believe I could do it in fewer than two weeks. Then I heard the first documented person to conquer the trail had a fused spine and partially paralyzed legs, and hiked with forearm crutches. That made it hard for me to think I wasn’t physically up to the task.

Minnesota North Shore Fall Colors Report 2016

2016 MN Fall Colors Report

Chlorophyll production in tree leaves is slowing down and the fall colors are almost upon us. Here is the Department of Natural Resources’ fall color activity map, showing the progression across Minnesota.

Diving the Condos, Early September

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POj01Z_o6AI

Duluth has a stretch of Lakewalk with condos plopped down on it. I am used to diving farther up the shore a ways, but took the day to dive in front of the condos to see what was down there. This was early September, a weekend morning, the last truly great dive day of the summer: warm air, warm water, excellent visibility, and blue skies. I spent several hours in the water in a state of bliss. For a while there was the gentlest of currents and I just let it sweep me up the shore. As soon as I got out the weather turned — I had caught the last of these perfect conditions. This is my favorite form of recreation in this northernmost beach town. Here is what I saw. I wasn’t setting any depth records, average depth 10 feet or so but so fulfilling. Thanks for watching.

Reporting Burnt Out Streetlights in Duluth

street-light

Is there a website or phone number for Duluth where one can report burnt out street lights? There are three burnt out in a row on the eastern end of Pittsburg Avenue, making it very dark at night and I know of many more, too. Would it be through Minnesota Power or the city of Duluth itself?

Thank you.

Sixteen years on the Superior Hiking Trail: Introduction

Paul Lundgren Saturday EssayThe yearning for adventure is a pretty common human trait, along with the practical good sense to not get into a situation you can’t handle. The old Scout Motto is “be prepared,” a creed intended to make one think practically and plan ahead for potential disaster. There’s a colorful expression for those who are not ready for life’s misfortunes; they find themselves “up Shit Creek without a paddle.”

Not wanting to drift helplessly in liquid feces, people often put off serious adventure and plan to check their dreams off a “Bucket List” at some point between the impractical now and the day before it becomes physically impossible. When a Bucket List goes as planned, it’s a beautiful thing. More often than not, of course, it ends up being a list of unfulfilled wishes. That’s generally preferable to premature death in pursuit of pretty scenery, so lament accordingly.

There are also those perfect people in the primes of their lives, dressing up in expensive wingsuits and gliding majestically down from the world’s most spectacular cliffs. Are they the sons and daughters of the obscenely wealthy or did they persuade a gear manufacturer to sponsor them? Maybe both. Don’t be jealous. You probably wouldn’t take that leap if you could. I know I wouldn’t.

Cthonic Bedrock and Devonian Boulders

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OY2Wp3c9Gk

Patrolling Lake Superior’s Cthonic bedrock formations and Devonian boulders. Basaltic rock is dried lava sheets that decay into shelves littered with boulders at the edges. That is what we see here. Max depth 20 feet give or take a couple. Water has been cloudy this year due to rain, but finally cleared up enough here at the end of the summer to get this footage at one of my fave freediving spots.

Dead Fish of the Northland

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0uirMS3mOk

Video compilation of the dead fish I’ve seen.

Low Viz at the Ledges

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tjsr-KkTIt0

The consistent rain this summer has made for a cloudy lake. Poor visibility obviates more adventuresome diving than this, so here I am in familiar territory, sticking close to shore in the crenulated shallows of the Ledges.

Stoked Swimming Dog

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwO3co9Q3Ps

Any German Speakers???

IMG_6512

I found this old inscription in a 1930s book. Can anyone help me understand it? It looks to be German or Norwegian and based on what I can figure out it references alligators and Lake Superior.

Duluth Alligator Menace Documentary

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qLML-Fq-Y8

Price Check: Off! Deep Woods Insect Repellent

OFF!BugSpray

It does not matter if you are eating at a restaurant with a lakeside seat, boating on Lake Superior, or strolling on the Lake Superior Hiking Trail, you are bound to encounter the force of the squitos.

Saying “avoid the outdoors at dusk and dawn” to protect yourself from mosquito bites is like saying “stay indoors to avoid sunburn.”

Purchasing a 6 oz. can of Off! Deep Woods is more practical than avoiding the outdoors for a third of the day. The aerosol spray contains 25 percent DEET, which is an active ingredient to repel mosquitoes, ticks, biting flies, gnats and chiggers.

The stench of insect repellent may “bug” you even after a few showers, but it beats the days of putting Xs on squito bites with your longest fingernail (or scratching with the nearest sharp object).

Here lies the ninth feature for the Price Check series where we compare prices of products and services in Duluth. The prices below reflect the rate the establishment charges with tax included. The combined tax in Duluth is 8.375 percent. This is the summation of Minnesota sales tax (6.875 percent), St. Louis County transit sales/use tax (0.5 percent) and Duluth general sales tax (1.0 percent). Hermantown’s general sales tax is the same as Duluth, and the same state and county taxes apply.

Think of the Children!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcKhylIsdpU

The Duluth alligator menace continues unabated as this exclusive footage shows

Far and Away: Isle Royale National Park

Isle Royale MooseBroadcast television has been off the air in Duluth since the July 21 storm, so it was easy to miss CBS This Morning‘s feature on Isle Royale National Park. But, that’s why we have an internet.

CBS has tragically blocked embedding of the video in our region, so we can’t post it on this very page, but you can check it our on cbsnews.com.

On tap at Bayfront: a plethora of craft beer

All-Pints-North-2016

Duluth’s beeriest festival, All Pints North, is coming up on Saturday. Organized by the Minnesota Craft Brewer’s Guild, the tasting extravaganza at Bayfront Festival Park will include more than 120 breweries.

All Pints North began in 2012 and has mushroomed each successive year. In 2015, an estimated 3,500 people attended. The beer fest primarily highlights the guild’s roughly 100 members, but some national breweries participate as well.