Sunday, September 27, 2009
So pretty you'll want to hike it twice
Oberg Mountain is a great North Shore hike, especially in fall colors. Sure, it's full of people, but the views are so spectacular and so accessible, you just gotta do it. And maybe you should do it two times in a row.
The trail starts from the Onion River Road, from the big trailhead parking lot 2.1 miles up from Highway 61. It's well-marked and easy to follow the whole way. The entire hike is about 2 miles long.
The heart of the trail is the 1.3 mile loop around the summit of Oberg. There are seven different overlooks, each one quite different from the last. Most people take the loop counter-clockwise, and if you do so too, you won't run into nearly as many people.
Chloe and a friend and I hiked the trail a few days ago. Fall colors were just coming out, so the trail was relatively quiet. When we got to the overlook facing up the shore toward Grand Marais, we ran into a gal from Hibbing who had been ahead of us on the trail. She'd hiked the whole loop once. Of all seven overlooks, this was the one she chose to revisit to eat her lunch.
Which made me think: after driving an hour or two to get here, after climbing up 200 feet from the parking lot to get to the loop, why not keep the peak experience going? You're bound to see something you missed on the way around. Maybe this time there will be a raven riding the thermals, or an ore boat out on Lake Superior.
You could be a gourmet gawker, knowing just where you want to sit and take in the views. Or you could do public service, offering to use their cameras and take pictures of all the hikers trying to do that awkward long arm self-portrait. Reinvent yourself as a local tour guide, who knows all the best spots.
Get out there. Fall colors are headed for their peak. It's North Shore hiking season big time. Double time. Twice the fun. You see what I mean?