Early this summer, I challenged my two sons, Hans and Noah, to hike every Hiking Club Trail in every North Shore state park, from Jay Cooke to Grand Portage. We did the third of the eight trails today, at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, and it was a doozy!
I really can't imagine how the boys still tolerate this. I am a total dork out on the trail, with layers of gadgets around my neck and shoulders. I GPS every trail, I photograph the most bizarre things, and I'm writing notes as I go. Plus I wear the clothes of El Dorko himself, including a floppy wide-brimmed hat that the boys used to wear for their cowboy Halloween costumes. I must look like the Park Ranger from Dweebland. Fortunately, Sally came along today.
The first third or so of the hike was pretty fun. The Split Rock shoreline is so much more than the light-house...it's one secluded cove after another, separated by dramatic, climbable headlands. Here's Hans scouting out the upcoming trail.
But much of the trail is ski trail in the winter, which makes it wide, grassy and sometimes wet now in the summer.
For the middle third of the Hiking Club Trail route, the ski trail kind of goes on and on, through a lot of dead and dying birch. Then the last third, as we did the loops, was on the wide, paved Gitchi Gami bike trail, which was absolutely no fun in the midday heat and sun. I had anticipated this and we had stashed bikes by the Split Rock River; Hans, Noah and Sally rode the rest of the trail while El Dorko hiked it.
Three trails down, five to go...that's almost halfway!