Hiking Club Trail #26
Date: August 18, 2018
Location: Sunburg, MN
Length: 1.0 Miles
Cumulative Hiking Club Miles: 74.1 of 197
Not much to say about this park - it is tiny - the hiking club trail is really poorly marked (good news is there are only 2 miles of trails through this park so just start walking you will find the password eventually.
Penny loved this park - quiet trails were filled with small wildlife to chase... Salamanders, snakes and leopard frogs.
Things seemed kind of run down out on the trails but it was a quick in and out for us. We got our passport stamp and hiked the trail and were on our way in less than an hour.
Big Stone Lake
Hiking Club Trail #25
Date: August 18, 2018
Location: Ortonville, MN
Length: 2.2 Miles
Cumulative Hiking Club Miles: 73.1 of 197
This park is weird - it is in 3 different sections all miles apart. I stopped at the main offices to get my passport stamp then had to drive another 11 miles up the road to the section of the park with the Hiking Club trail (for the size of this park there is very little hiking). On the short hiking club trail you hike near private houses (which I don't care for) but the entire way you do have great views of Big Stone Lake and South Dakota.
We were by ourselves the entire time which was nice - I was able to let Penny off the leash at the beach so that she could explore the shore line and hunt for rocks (this dog is obsessed with rocks...).
Highlights were watching Pelicans fish, saw a few field mice and got pretty close to a deer.
This trail isn't traveled much which was obvious with the amount of spiderwebs I took to the face.
It was nice to explore this side of the state but I probably won't be back to this park anytime soon.
Split Rock Lighthouse
Hiking Club Trail #24
Date: August 18, 2018
Location: Two Harbors, MN
Length: 5.8 Miles
Difficulty: Easy (minus a good deal of steep stairs at the end)
Cumulative Hiking Club Miles: 70.9 of 197
Water is water, but Lake Superior is different - it calls to me. I can tell when I have been away too long... it beckons me and when I finally answer the call it completely recharges my soul!
The rock formations the crystal clear, deep, cold water - it can be completely still and blend to the horizon and change in a minute to be dark and ominous. It is Minnesota's ocean and still after all the places I've been, the shores of this lake remain my happy place!
It's been sooo hot here lately - 90's for days - I needed an escape. I've been dreaming of Lake Superior for months now and decided it was time to make a trip up there even if it was just for the day. It is usually quite a bit cooler along the shores of Gitche Gumee especially once you get North of Duluth. With high temps forecasted into the 90's again in the Twin Cities - I was so glad I made the 3 hr drive - temps stayed in the low 80's with an ice cool breeze coming off of that lake (Mother Natures air conditioning - I have so missed this)!
Winston and I headed from the Trail Head Parking Lot directly to the Hiking Club Trail as I realized I have been to this State Park a few times and I don't think I have ever hiked any of the trails - which seems odd as I lived in Duluth for years and would make trips up the shore to hike often.
From the parking lot you immediately end up at a beach with the best views of the Lighthouse that I have ever seen (again wondering how I have never hiked here) we headed into the woods up a hill and did a few miles along paved Gitchi-Gami trail. With wildflowers blooming everywhere it was beautiful. I tend to avoid the North Shore during the Summer and Fall on weekends just because of the sheer amount of people but it was crazy as soon as we stepped away from the lighthouse we were pretty much alone for the day minus a few bikers that passed us along the trail.
The second half of the trail brings you back into the woods high above the lake - you walk a trail with lake views almost the entire time. The only sounds were our footsteps, waves slowly crashing against the rocks below, birds chirping and the occasional boat driving by - it was wonderful!
At one point we came to a fork in the road - Corundum Mine ruins to my right (not on the HCT) but why not. It was a small, overgrown trail that wound around a large rock formation - there were fallen trees along the path and I almost didn't continue but I am so glad I did - the trail came to a stop on top of the large rock formation and it had spectacular views of the lake and the tree covered hills. I could have easily sat at that spot all day - but due to the hazy day and poor air quality from the wildfires currently burning in Canada - I knew spending extra hours outside probably wasn't too good for my 13.5 year old dog (or me for that matter) so after a short break we climbed down and finished out our hike.
Towards the end of the HCT there is a large set of fairly steep wooden stairs that seem to just keep going and going... but the pay off is worth it you end up back on that beach overlooking the lighthouse where you can rest your tired feet in the icy waters of Lake Superior.
This has to be one of my MOST favorite hiking club trails yet!
I love Lake Superior! Do you have one of those favorite places that has the ability to recharge your soul at first sight?
This is my quest to find my place beneath the stars - outside the confines of my office and without the pressures of everyday life.