It was like a flashback to Jarrow's Beach and the Carlton Trail! ;->
Finished up with the group hike around 1:30 pm. No rain, no dire predictions for lightening, so changed into my running gear and headed out. I really wanted to get to Mt. Trudee as I have not been there in years, but figured I would not make a final decision til I got out on the trail and got a sense for how I felt.
As usual I had forgotten how rocky this section of trail is! Within the first mile the outside of my right knee started to hurt - especially on the downhills where my right leg was on the high side. Hmm. Wishing I had packed some ibuprofen. Continued on as the pain wasn't constant, though did attempt to avoid situations that aggravated it.
Lots to see on today's hike and the run. Passed through many areas with ripe blueberries. Snacked on some dewberries and juneberries also. Found a couple of pyrola species in bloom and lots of pale corydalis. The best find of the day though was the just emerging indian pipe/corpse plant (monotropa uniflora - love that name, so descriptive). Caught sight of it on my way back from Mt. Trudee. Ghostly white, flower tucked down, barely out of the soil.... who says you can't ID flowers on the run?!
I made it to Mt. Trudee, though I had begun to wonder when I would turn the final corner/run up the final hill. Stopped to gaze out over Tettagouche State Park and it's interior lakes, catching a glimpse of one of the cabins that you can rent. As I mentioned before, Mt. Trudee is made up of anorthosite ( a coarse-grained rock, typically light colored, composed entirely (or nearly so) of the mineral plagioclase feldspar. It formed deep beneath the Earth's surface by accumulation of plagioclase crystals from a gabbroic-composition magma - pg 64 Geology on Display by John C. Green). Gives it - and other knobs along the north shore - that characteristic white color. If you can find a 'fresh' piece of anorthosite (not weathered in other words), you may note its greenish hue. My solution to the lack of 'fresh' anorthosite today was to create some by breaking off a bit from a chunk on the ground. Anorthosite is very resistant to erosion - that's why the knobs remain after all the surrounding rock has been eroded away.
Other observations on my run:
- if you own an attack beagle and want to sit at an overlook and enjoy the view: DO NOT tie the thing out on a 12 foot line in the middle of the trail, sit there and watch it lunge at a passing runner, apologize about it, but do nothing to control your dog! (no flaming - I have a dog, I love dogs, just think that owners should be smarter than their dog and take responisbility for teaching them some manners, and/or controlling them). Luckily for me it did not bite - but it did follow me - with no intervention by its humans. I did take a moment to point out that they may want to move it off the trail.
- most of the people I encountered gave right of way to the runner. Kind of like boats on the water, least maneuverable has the right of way, though I think in this context - as with hiking in general - faster person gets right of way. What exactly is the etiquette on this? Notice I said "most". I passed one family twice, and one of the kids (12 yr old?) essentially froze in the middle of the trail. Interesting response. Other groups would split, half moving to the side of the trail, half continuing on forcing me to move to the side.
- if you are going to take a break while backpacking, DO NOT do so by sitting down in the middle of a bridge. I think trail etiquette is clear here - taking a break = move off the trail completely just in case someone comes along.
- the Superior Hiking Trail is very well-maintained. It was obvious that both the section I hiked with the group and the section I ran had been weed-whipped within the past week. Very few trees across the trail. A few of the steps in this section are showing their age and are disintergrating. This is why - if you use the SHT at all - you should be a member. Parts of the trail are in their 20's and will need rehabbing. Like everything else prices for lumber and building supplies are going up. The SHT is a member-supported organization.... Need I say more?
I had a blast today running, though was getting pretty tired on the way back and was very low on water too. It did start raining (right after Jon checked in to see if I was getting wet) but I got back to the car before it really let loose. The loose rock was a challenge and I found myself having to walk a few downhills as the footing was not good and I did not want to get hurt. May have pushed it a bit by doing 12+ miles on that terrain so soon after a marathon, but live and learn.
Glad my car has fold flat rear seats as I had a nice dry space for post-run stretching. I have learned the hard way never to attempt the drive back to Duluth without a good stretch.
For those running the Voyageur 50: tonights weather forecast is calling for increasing temps throughout the week and a high in the mid - 80's for Saturday. Let's hope its not true.
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