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Got up at 5:30 and started working on my feet in the tent with my headlamp poor Bear. They are healing up and feeling much better but I still taped them up good with some of the supplies that John and Megan gave us.
We shared the breakfast gift from my coworkers and left camp at 7:45 today –almost an hour earlier than we normally leave! We scooped up uncle Tim and headed to Cascade River State Park. About 5 miles From cascade Bear and I were feeling pretty pooped and Tim offered to drive us to Grand Marais to get a burger, more first aid supplies, different socks and new insoles. Woo hoo!
These are the stairs leading to the 96 stairs. I lost count of how many stairs we did today… Bear’s leg has really been hurting the last day or so. She typically hikes about 500 feet in front of me and sets the pace for most of the day. She’s a total trail boss!
The best thing about the Superior Hiking Trail is that with each brutal climb. You are rewarded with precious views of Lake Superior! There’s nothing else like it and makes every step worth it!
We were so relieved about the plan to go to town and get the things we needed! Realizing Bear and I already did part of the next section, I proposed that we get what we needed in town and turbo ahead bypassing the section we did last month on our shake down. We decided this was our hike, we’re not out to break any records, and it would be pretty tough to make up those miles otherwise. We have some high mile in elevation days ahead and we felt good about Plan B.
A couple of miles before Cascade, we ran into Stephanie, another person we know from the SHT group. We run into people we know every day!
It was so funny, we all recognized her sitting there in the middle of the forest taking a break. She joined us for the rest the way to Cascade including the 96 stairs! Im sure everyone appreciated me singing the classic song ’96 tears’ on the way down…
We had a huge cheeseburger at My Sisters Place in Grand Marais and then Uncle Tim dropped us off at the trailhead.
And that’s where things went awry. We excitedly hiked down the hill from the parking lot, contemplated taking the Lutsen gondola down, and then the trail sort of disappeared and dead ended right into the poplar river. Bear thought she saw the trail on the other side, so we carefully crossed, knee-deep in spots, and realized we were totally not on the trail. Luckily the river wasn’t flowing too bad or we wouldn’t have even tried it. We saw our first red squirrel of the day, (about a foot away from my face!) on the way down to the river he chattered and tried to warn us but we kept plodding ahead.
My waterproof socks were absolutely no help in knee-deep water FYI
After we realized what we’d done we crossed it again to get to the other side, had words, checked the GPS and hiked back up the big hill, which turned out to be an animal trail. Luckily it was just a minor detour but reminded us to pay attention!
Of course when we reached the top we looked to the left and saw about 4 signs saying that this was the way to the SHT. There are no pictures of the detour because we were trying not to kill each other or ourselves.
Lesson learned luckily we didn’t get too far off track and we easily found the mystery mountain campsite.
Other good news my insoles and brand new darn tough socks felt super great and I was really glad we went to town to get what we needed. Thanks Ben Franklin!
Mystery mountain campsite doesn’t have a single flat spot, the latrine is especially ripe and the group camp is just Ok. But the view of the poplar river on the hike up is totally worth it!
We hear a thunderstorm north of us and it feels like rain. We are lucky to have cell reception at this site and to be able to check the forecast and send love back home. We really hope we don’t get soaked will look at the map tonight to see what we do next. Tomorrow is supposed to be an 18 to 22 mile day according to the schedule but the next 25 miles have a lot of up-and-down as I remember them from the 26.5 mile Curesearch Ultimate Hike fundraiser two years ago.
The hero of the day is uncle Tim! He gave us cheese, saved our butts and turboed us to where we needed to go…yay Tim! He’s the reason we are still on the trail. It really feels great to meet so many caring people who are willing to help us on the trail! Thank you!
-Red Squirrel & Bear