Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Hike to Two Harbors, Leg 2: Hartley to Martin

Overlook of Amity Creek valley
My summer hike from Duluth to Two Harbors continued today, two-plus weeks after it started (read about my hike from my house to Hartley here). Today was the shortest stretch of all, from Hartley Park to Martin Road.

It felt great to be out on the trail again. It sounds corny, but the woods and trails are really quiet. And peaceful. Note to self: Hiking is good.

I ended my last hike at the corner of Woodland and Fairmont. Instead of using the Duluth Transit Authority for my shuttle this time, I used my bike. I parked at the Martin Road trailhead, then rode my bike back down Woodland Avenue to Fairmont Street, locked the bike up, and hiked on the "trail" up Carlisle Street.

SHT along Vermilion Road
 Nearly half of this hike was on city streets, though it was mostly quiet back streets. The only car that passed me was on its way to the same trailhead, driven by a mom and two kids off to pick juneberries. The route passes between two cemeteries, well-landscaped park-like settings that just happen to have hundreds of tombstones.

As part of the Superior Hiking Trail, this section is unique and ultimately forgettable. The one big viewpoint into the Amity Creek valley pales in comparison to nearly any viewpoint east or west along the trail. Road walking is tedious. I've commented on this trail section before, even though I hadn't hiked it, when Backpacker Magazine named it one of the 100 best day hikes in the US apparently without actually hiking it.

Pyrola along SHT
But, hey, it's hiking. Hiking is good. All on its own. The sky was blue. It was a cool summer morning with no bugs. There were some lovely pyrola blooming by the trail, as well as cow parsnip and forget-me-not. Even a healthy young birch forest.

So now my journey to Two Harbors has reached the Martin Road trailhead. I have a date with my 82-year-old father to pick up from there tomorrow morning. I know it won't be a glorious climb like Carlton Peak or a challenging roller coaster like the area around Finland. But it will be hiking. And hiking is good.

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