After our day of volunteering at Voyageur’s 50 mile we picked up our new day packs and hit some trails with the goal of eating some camp dinner on top of Ely’s Peak. We started out from a parking lot near Becks Road and eventually merged with the DWP trail. Right before the tunnel under Ely’s Peak we took a path off to the left that I thought would bring us to the Superior Hiking Trail. We didn’t see any SHT blue blazes, but we kept trekking on.
Eventually, the trail turned rugged and rocky. More rocky than I’ve ever experienced on the SHT. Our hiking pace slowed to a crawl as we navigated large boulders, and we started questioning if we had missed a turn. Finally, after a grueling 40 minutes we emerged onto a section of horse trail. It was a huge relief to have some easy hiking, but soon I pulled out my phone to look at our GPS track, only to realize we were nowhere near where we were supposed to be. Apparently, this little trail we were on was not the right trail, and it was just by sheer luck that we made our way back to a road.
We headed back down Skyline Drive to what looked like an SHT intersection. Sure enough we saw all the familiar signs and blue blazes that denote that we were on the right path. We kept walking for a mile or so, stopping on some amazing overlooks, before heading back. This time we stuck to the SHT course, and made our way up Ely’s Peak.
We arrived at the summit to find an amazing 360 degree view, all the way from downtown Duluth, to the forests to the south. We found a nice spot to rest and pulled out our camp stove to give it a try. Our meal for the night was Pad Thai from Backpacker’s Country, and once it was fully cooked, it wasn’t half bad. Certainly not like Pad Thai from a restaurant, but better than most of the supermarket heat-and-eat meals you can get.
We rested for a bit while we ate and enjoyed the view before heading back down the hill. We found a sign that directed us back down to the DWP, and despite one small wrong turn, we made it back to the main trail before dark. We packed up the car and headed back to the hotel. When we arrived we discovered that there was a power outage going on. We showered off by flashlight, and then headed into Bent Paddle Brewing Company to relax for a while and wait out the outage.
It was a really fun hike, especially once we got onto the proper SHT trail. The view from Ely’s Peak was amazing and it made for a spectacular backdrop to dinner. I can’t wait to put our equipment through it’s paces on more hikes in the future.