We awoke on day 3 to the sound of light rain. In reality the rain had pretty much stopped at that point, but the tree canopy was continuing to drip water on us from its water laden leaves. We had decided, the night before, to start our hike early and then eat a later breakfast when we got to the other side. We grabbed some snacks to tie us over, and then started packing up. Unfortunately, I forgot my pack rain cover in the car, so we arranged our things so that anything that could get wet was in my bag.
As we headed out the rain stopped, and we thought that perhaps we’d be spared a completely wet hike. However, I managed to catch a sliver of cell signal and the weather report informed us that more rain was on it’s way. All of the water overnight had made the trail much more muddy and soft than the day before, so the hike became a bit more of a slog. The gullies that we had to cross were slick and difficult to climb out of, but we managed to get through it. A few spots were showing signs of pretty bad erosion, and hopefully the park can take care of that sooner rather than later. I doubt parts of this trail will be usable in the near future if they don’t do something about the washouts.
One of the most memorable parts of our hike was a couple of miles in. Right before the rain started to pour again, we heard a cracking sound. I looked to my right and saw a tree starting to sway. I pointed and yelled to everyone to “Look out!” We jumped off the trail as the tree fell about 20-30 yards from us. Thankfully, it fell towards the direction we had just come from, and we weren’t really in any danger. However, it certainly got our blood pumping, and kept us on high alert for any cracking sounds for the rest of the hike.
The hike took around 3 hours, and when we arrived the rain and finished. Our original plan had been to wander around some of the waterfalls on that end of the park, but all we wanted to do was get somewhere to eat and dry out our things. We opt’d for a picnic shelter nearby and spent some time getting ourselves repacked and organized. Unfortunately, I believe that this was the time when I forgot my running hat on a picnic bench, and it got left behind.
The next night was our planned night of comfort. We had a reservation at a yurt near the modern campground. This meant that we got a nice shower, and could dry things out. We brought Mike to the Lake of the Clouds overlook so that he could start his next long run, and we got to look around at this amazing site.
Mike headed out his run, and my wife and I started to do a short run of our own. However, part way through the run I felt my stomach turn south, and so I headed back to find a bathroom. I’m not sure what hit me, but for most of the rest of the evening my stomach was not feeling good, and I ended up not even eating much in the way of supper. It might have been some exhaustion, or a slight bug of some kind, but either way, it made me glad we had a more comfortable bed for this night.
I managed to sleep pretty well that night, and the next morning my wife treated us to a wonderful eggs and potato breakfast. Mike’s plan for this day was to run close to 20 miles and then meet us at our final site, a remote cabin in the woods, right on the shore of Lake Superior. We dropped Mike off at his starting run location, and then my wife and I headed back for a run of our own. With my stomach I decided to stick to a simple run along the roads, and banged out a 6 miler before cleaning up and packing up the yurt.
Since we had some time to kill before we could begin our hike we headed into a nearby town and got a decent lunch at a small restaurant at a hotel. Because of the way that the time zones work out, the park is split by eastern and central time. That meant that we were checking out of the yurt, but had to kill some time because the cabin was in central time. A meal we didn’t have to cook sounded good to us, so we took advantage of it.
Once we were done with lunch we parked the car at the final trailhead of the trip and began a 2.5 mile hike down to the lakeshore. This part of the Lake Superior Trail was rocky, and it took us some time to work around all the loose rubble. We weren’t in a rush though, and we took advantage of that fact to simply enjoy ourselves. We arrived at the cabin, mid-afternoon, and settled in. This was a beautiful, rustic, cabin right near the shore, and it was the perfect place to simply relax. We unpacked our gear and fell into our cots to read.
Eventually, Mike showed up, but that’s the story for next time…