Thursday, August 13, 2015

Sunday Ride - and a little running

Saturday I headed up the shore to meet up with friends for a run on the Superior Hiking Trail in the Finland area. It has been a long time since I have seen that section of trail in the daylight!

Photos from Saturday's 14 mile run:
Sam, Marcus and Ron enjoying the view from the Section 13 cliffs
Three-toothed Cinquefoil (Potentilla tridentata) - Section 13  cliffs

Beaver Pond - partway through the Co. Rd 6 - Finland section
There's a spider in there somewhere.
Swans (one was hidden in the tall grasses to the left)

Somewhat sketchy boardwalk across the beaver dam

Worth taking your time to traverse in order to avoid a swim

Glacial erratic?
Looking back at the trail from the bridge over the East Branch of the Baptism River

East Branch of the Baptism River - looking upstream

Fruit of the Nodding Trillium

Corpse Plant/Indian Pipe (Monotropa uniflora)

Lilly's Island on Sonju Lake
 I took a little break here to look around, write a note in the trail log, and remember a hike with my dog Porter (who passed away 7 years ago).

Sonju Lake

Lilly's Island

I finished up my run at Sonju Lake Rd. trailhead and then proceeded to George Crosby-Manitou State Park to wait for Sam, Marcus and Ron to finish up their run. While I waited I took a stroll around Benson Lake and scoped out some of the campsites in preparation for future trips.

Virgin's Bower (Clematis virginiana) - growing along the road/trail to Benson Lake
 I stopped on some rocks to wet my bandana and wash the mud off my legs only to discover a friend:
Fisher Spider (Dolomites species)
 Nestled along the rocky edge of Benson Lake I spied this plant:
Creeping Snowberry (Gaultheria hispidula)
 Apparently the leaves make an "...excellent wintergreen-flavored tea, which is also very high in caffeine" (Canoe Country Flora - Mark Stensaas) and the berries are edible, assuming you can find enough for a meal.
Benson Lake
Overall it was a great day to be out in the woods. I covered 14 miles (longest run since my injury) and my legs felt the best they have in ages. Due to my pace I was often alone, which is just what I needed to get regrounded and recuperate from a rough work week.

Sunday Mr. Wildknits and I headed out on the airheads. We took the scenic highway north to Two Harbors, then Hwy 61 to Co. Rd. 3. This gave me ample opportunity to practice my gravel road riding skills (maintained 40 mph). It also took us out of the fray that is north shore traffic during tourist season.

We made a brief stop at the Silver Bay Airport (outside of Beaver Bay), then headed to Beaver Bay for a pit stop before traveling up Co. Rd. 4/Lax Lake Rd to Hwy 1 and then on to Finland for lunch at Our Place (the pulled pork sandwich was delicious!).

From Finland our plan was to take Hwy 1 to Hwy 2 to Hwy 15 to Pequaywan Lake Rd and on back to Duluth. Unfortunately we had to detour to Two Harbors for gas (the tanks on the airheads are not all that large and gas stations are few and far between up north).

We did stop at the White Pines rest stop on Hwy 2 for a break. It is one of my favorite spots in that section. This time we didn't take stay long, but in the past have walked around and enjoyed the old growth white pines.

Taken a few years ago at the rest stop. I have since removed the back rack from my bike. 
Overall we did 180 miles. An enjoyable tour of northern Minnesota. By the time we got home my throttle hand was a bit sore (no cruise control on these older bikes). But I did become more comfortable using one foot to balance the bike at stops, with the other acting as a counter balance on the foot peg. A technique Mr. Wildknits had shown me via a Youtube video about riding tall bikes. While the R65 is not tall by most peoples standards, when you are 5' 1.5" almost every bike seems tall.

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