Friday, July 26, 2013
Hiking to Two Harbors, Leg Four: Prindle Road to Lismore Road
With the young girl and the old man, I completed the fourth leg of my hike to Two Harbors. It was Daphne the poodle and my father, the two of them nearly inseparable the whole way, hiking yesterday from Prindle Road to Lismore Road on the Superior Hiking Trail.
This is a brand-new section of the Superior Hiking Trail, just opened in June. Building a new hiking trail is a rare and beautiful thing. It's a commitment to the future and a gift to the present. The hard work of tree clearing, bridge construction and tread building yields a whole new experience. Like any new trail, this section brings people places they never would have gone before, along a route no one had followed before but is still...just...perfect.
We picked up this section of trail after our brief tour of the English countryside the day before. Here's where the newly-constructed trail splits off from the North Shore snowmobile trail:
After following snowmobile trail for over three miles, it felt great to get back in the woods again. I realized, for the umpteenth time, how different a real hiking trail is. It winds around trees instead of blasting through them. You have to watch your feet and your toes, so you see more of what's right there.The canopy of trees, especially in this young aspen forest, pulls you in like a funnel or a birth canal in reverse.
This is the first real virtuous long-distance hiking since the Superior Hiking Trail left Jay Cooke State Park. There are no campsites in eastern Duluth, so the assumption any thruhikers might sleep illegally or maybe stay in a hotel. Starting at this section, the SHT has trailside campsites every few miles. The Bald Eagle Campsite was one of the scenic highlights of the day, overlooking a beautiful little beaver pond.
Just when you might get sick of thick aspen forests, the trail opens up into a recently-logged area. For about half a mile, the trail runs through thick regrowth. Hats off to the trail building for going through, rather than avoiding, this cut-over area. The sun is nice, and so is the chance to watch nature reclaim this site over time.
This section of trail is great for locals looking to stretch their legs. It's mostly easy walking, just a little hilly at the Lismore Road end. It would be great birdwatching in the spring, with a wide range of habitats and edges. Good job, trailbuilders!