SHT: Caribou Wayside to Tettegouche (pt3)

[This post is the third of three describing the Caribou Wayside-Tettegouche Hike of ’09]

A long hike and a good nights rest. The morning was bright and sunny at Section 13 Campsite, and there had been no rain throughout the night. Tom and Dick reported they slept well out on the rock under a bright, star-lit sky. After some breakfast we packed up and hit the trail again—all except Boston John, at least he was consistent.

Day Five brought many spectacular morning views from the Section 13 ridge line. We were now hiking south and down off the ridges. We crossed a couple of creeks and again found ourselves on a boardwalk through more wetlands, then we crossed Co. Rd. 6, finding the SHT about a hundred yards west down the roadway. We climbed and found great views of Lake Superior off to the east.

 

Lake Superior

Lake Superior Overlook South of Co. Rd. 6 on SHT

 

We took a spur trail down to Picnic Rock, a sheltered area below some cliffs, and dropped our packs to take a break. We rested, looking out over the expansive valley to the west with Sawmill Creek below, when suddenly Dick jumped up and threw his Cliff Bar over the edge of the cliff, yelling he was totally sick and tired of them. While I missed getting a picture of Dick throwing his Cliff Bar off the cliff, the story has been retold over more than one evening campfire. Pictured below are (l to r), John S., Aaron and Jen K., Jon K., Rick B., Deb N., Dick Z. and Tom L.

 

Picnic Rock, SHT

Picnic Rock, Superior Hiking Trail

 

Talk about survival of the fittest, look at this tree struggling to hang onto life — wow! We continued on and the trail went up and around Sawmill Dome, again with great overlooks of the valley below. We started down from the ridge, crossed a small valley, and then resumed the climb to another ridgeline.  We hiked a mile or more, all the while experiencing fantastic views east out to Lake Superior, with the sloping forests below dropping to the Lake.

 

L. Superior Overlook

Lake Superior Overlook from south of Sawmill Dome (in section 25), SHT

 

The trail swung westward again toward the valley where we could now see parts of Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center (WRELC). My grandsons in elementary school have attended long week-end residential environmental education programs with their dad at Wolf Ridge ELC in recent years. And I have passed this way on the SHT several times. In a few weeks, I too will join a group gathering at WRELC to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the SHT… now that should be a party, and a few hikes on the side to boot!

 

Raven Lake, SHT

Raven Lake, SHT

 

The trail drops and then climbs to the ridge again and we can see Raven Lake and Wolf Lake below us and to the west- very scenic, almost feels like home, I’ve been by here so many times. We dropped down to cross Kennedy Creek and topped off our water supplies. After a short climb we find the West Kennedy Creek Campsite, one of my favorite spots along the trail. I’ve got a lot of good memories associated with this campsite over the years. West Kennedy Creek was our destination for the night and we quickly scouted the area to claim our tent sites. Below is one of the best backcountry latrines along the SHT, or anywhere for that matter. Perhaps we need a contest to settle the question? (see below)

 

Latrine, SHT

Voted Best Latrine on SHT (West Kennedy Creek Campsite)

 

This was only a six mile hike, but with our full packs and all the up and down trails, it sure felt like a longer distance. A lot of up and down trails burns a lot of energy –it takes a lot of work. But that’s the SHT… continual ups and downs between the many rivers and streams feeding into Lake Superior… it’s always work! And it’s always challenging. And it’s always fun! After dinner we enjoyed a nice campfire.

Morning brought another nice, bright, sunny day—Day Six, our last day on the trail! We were headed for Tettegouche State Park, less than 4 miles away. We ascended to the ridge and hiked about a mile before descending again to relatively flat lands, and soon arrived at a trailhead parking lot on Hwy. 1.  Almost home, Jon’s feet were in rough shape and he decided to wait for us in the parking lot. We continued another 1.5 miles into Tettegouche, caught a spur trail down to the interior parking lot, where I retrieved my vehicle and drove back to pick up Jon. Returning to the Park, we all got showered, and donned clean clothes, including footwear, before heading back to retrieve the vehicles we’d left at Caribou Wayside, our starting point six days earlier.

 

Blistered heels

Jon’s blistered heels after six days on the trail (ouch!)

 

It’s amazing what dropping your pack and taking a shower does for you after six days on the trail. Feeling like our batteries were recharged we all headed for Northern Lights Restaurant in Beaver Bay for a big meal.  A great lunch, a toast to a great hike and newfound friends, then we bid each other farewell as we headed our individual ways. However, it wouldn’t be long before many of us would be reuniting on the trails again… and again. Several of us have hiked together in Kings Canyon, Yosemite and the Hoover Wilderness out in Caifornia, Isle Royale, MI and on many sections all along the SHT… and it continues today.

It will be seven years this September (’16), since we all met in a parking lot at Tettegouche, mostly strangers, to spend a week backpacking together along a beautiful stretch of the Superior Hiking Trail. We’ve had some really fine times on the trail together, and off the trail as well, over the past 6+ years! I look forward to more Happy Trails in our future!  Cheers!!  -73   Mike

— and a special shout-out to Dick Z. and Tom L  and the SHTA who made it all happen.

Q. Any contenders for Best Backcountry Latrine out there? Now, I’m not talking outhouses here- just latrines. Photo required! My money is on the West Kennedy Creek latrine. Send photo and details to me by May 30th. Winner will be chosen by readers, and he/she will receive honorable mention in, and a complimentary subscription to BackCountryJournal.net The winning photo will also be displayed right here!  My email is in the Contact menu above.

~~~~~~~

 

About Mike Hohmann

I did lots of camping/hiking as a kid in the Scouts, and I still strive to 'be prepared.' After high school, I got bored with more school and enlisted in the Army Corps. of Engineers, doing two tours in Vietnam. Post military, I completed BS and MBA degrees and spent several decades with Corporate America, working mostly in the areas of conventional and renewable energy. I also spent over a decade as a self-employed small business consultant in marketing and finance. As a young family man with a wife and two kids, we spent many vacations camping and hiking in northern Minnesota. I spent additional long weekends fishing the rivers and camping/hiking along the North Shore of Lake Superior. I retired early and hit the trails hard-- in the lower-48, Alaska, and western Canada. These days I backpack, car-camp and day-hike, go snowshoeing, and try to get the grand-kids out to teach them the ways of the trail. Other interests include American Revolutionary War and Civil War history, 19th and 20th century firearms, Native American history; business and macroeconomics. I'm a recently-licensed amateur (Ham) radio operator, and I look forward to many radio-related adventures in coming months. Life is good! Member, Superior Hiking Trail Association; Member, Appalachian Mountain Club; Member, REI; Member, ARRL- Amateur Radio Relay League, the National Assoc. for Amateur Radio; Twin Cities Metro Skywarn Spotter; Twin City FM Club; Richfield Amateur Radio Club; QRP ARCI, Low-Power Amateur Radio Club International; Life Member, National Rifle Association
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