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Monday, August 29, 2011

Weekend Adventures

This past Saturday, the Husband and I joined a small group of eleven for an organized hike on the Superior Hiking Trail. These facilitated hikes really are awesome – they allow you to through hike longer segments. You can hike at your own speed as long as you don’t fall behind the "Sweep”, which is the last person in the group who should come off the trail to ensure that everyone does have a shuttle back to their cars. The segment being hiked was Cascade State Park to Caribou Trail, 11.0 miles.
Description of said hike: This section follows along ridgelines with many views of Lake Superior and the inland ridges of the Sawtooth range. The variety of habitats is as broad as anywhere on the SHT, with everything from mature maple forests to dense groves of cedar, from a massive beaver pond to wide-open hillsides. It begins with a moderately steep ascent but drops gently to a valley and crosses a beaver dam. It crosses two scenic creeks and enters into the west end of Cascade State Park.

What the blurb didn’t say was this is a challenging hike. We hiked it “backwards" (east to west) so we started out by going up, up up, down, up, up…oh wait! We go up again! Before finally hitting the ridge mid-day then eventually coming back down to the Caribou Trail at Caribou Lake.

We were on the trail about 10:30am, lunch at the group camp at Spruce Creek at 1:30p (which is almost exactly halfway) and ended about 4:00pm. I think. I don’t hike with a watch.

Downside, I didn’t bring my camera. Long hikes juggling two dogs, upwards of four quarts of water, backpacks, and poles are not conducive to hauling a camera with. I don’t even have a picture showing the awesome change in elevation.

And if I had thoughts of feeling smug about completing an 11 mile hike, I had to forgo them: a small group of people from Illinois were up doing a 33 mile hike in ONE DAY as a fundraiser for cancer. They started at 4am that morning and were finishing about 5p. Kudos to the group! These upper segments of the SHT are not easy, much less to hike 33 miles in one day.

And then there were the runners who were running 105 miles in four days as part of an ultramarathon…

I’ll stick with hiking, thank you very much.

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