Hiking Dude Blog
2017 - Jul Jun May Apr Mar Jan
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Stickers in the Wild
I really enjoyed meeting so many people on the Superior Hiking Trail last week. I handed out a few Hiking Dude stickers, and got a couple of new pictures for my sticker page.
If you've got one of my stickers on your water bottle, pack, car bumper, or whatever, send me a pic of it in the wild and I'll add it to the page.
If you want a sticker, either run into me on the trail or click here.
Day 6 - Ending at Tettegouche
I walked 40368 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 14 miles today.
After the nice time in camp last night, I slept well and woke to a clear sunrise for yet another great day of hiking, avoiding the rain that was expected.
Our route took us from the backwoods with lakes towards the UPs and Downs of the hills by Superior. We only met 1 lady and then 2 boy scouts on the trail - a quiet day.
About an hour into the hike, Martin's knee started complaining.
We crossed a cool beaver dam and then climbed up the Section 13 area with great views all around. From there, it was up and down along a ridge line all the way to the Baptism River and Tettegouche State Park. We had wonderful breezes off the big lake most of the day and the trail was good. But, with a knee continuing to get worse, we decided that 84 miles was a nice hike for this week and there was no need to go farther.
I was very happy with the part of the trail we traveled. It included a broad range of terrain and different north woods environs. A bear or moose, or even deer, would have been nice, but squirrels, loons, swans, snakes, frogs, toads, mushrooms, tiny fishes, and crayfish were all interesting to see.
If you check out our path ( Check out my current location on the map. ) you can see the tracker did not do very well in the woods - I'm quite disappointed about that and will be letting the company know.
One more thing, Tettegouche has a new, very nice visitor center - if you get up the north shore, you really should stop in.
Day 5 - Lake Country
I walked 31769 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 13 miles today.
Our hike was relatively flat compared to previous days. The trail traversed the high boggy area on the back side of the sawtooth mountains that ride from Lake Superior's shore. We crossed over low hills between lakes Sonju and Egge, and many boggy areas along the way. The lakes are beautiful, with swans and loons cruising about. The 4 campsites on these two lakes are nice too. We met Sean, Casey, and Steven at a site when we took a morning break. They wound up at the Leskinen Creek site with us tonight. When we arrived here, Pat and Katie were already here. So, it was a nice evening visiting with new friends and enjoying a small campfire. I would really recommend this section of trail for someone that wants a weekend taste of the SHT - mellow trail, lakes, and nice sites. Concerns of bad weather proved unnecessary as it was quite warm, then cloudy, but now a nice breeze and less humidity tonight. I hope it stays. Food has been good and adequate, water filters working great, and just minor physical pains. We've been very fortunate to meet a wide range of people, all out enjoying Minnesota in their way.
Day 4 - Free Beer
I walked 39597 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 15.8 miles today.
It seems each day is getting harder than the last. The trail was steeper and rockier, the weather was hotter and more humid, and the muscles and joints complained more. But, it was still a great day of hiking! We hiked from Dyers Creek, crossed the Caribou River, climbed up, over, and across the very hot, south facing Horseshoe Ridge, plummeted down to the Manitou River, and finally climbed up to Aspen Knob for the night. The trail was empty until we reached Crosby-Manitou park. We had just been talking about having a beer when we get home, and wondering about the weather forecast, when we saw two young guys camping by the trail. We stopped to chat and asked if they had heard any weather news. They then offered us beer. Not to be rude, we accepted and had a nice talk with Zach and Ryan, two working actors on a quick camping trip. An hour or so later, we got to our campsite and set up. Four college friends showed up so we got to visit with them this evening. They have been on the trail 11 days and want me to call them the poopy boys - so there you go.
Day 3 - Sun, Rivers, and Bugs
I walked 38302 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 15.7 miles today.
Another beautiful day for hiking but this one had late summer humidity and the mosquitos finally tracked is down. I got a handful of bites this afternoon. We crossed the Temperance and Cross rivers, handfuls of creeks and uncountable mud holes. We only ran into a few hikers and none seemed to be too interested in chatting. We have the campsite at Dyers Creek to ourselves tonight. The creek is full of small fish and crayfish. We had lots of time to relax in camp and had a fire for the third night on a row. Carlton Peak had great views of Lake Superior and the rivers were nice scenery.
Day 2 - Making Tracks
I walked 38447 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 16 miles today.
Yeah, that's right - bear tracks! Didn't see any other Wildlife today, but it was a beautiful day for hiking with sun and breeze all day. Once the leftover water on the trail and foliage dried up, the trail was fine. Ran into lots of day hikers around Lutsen, but only one other backpacker on the trail. Tyler started yesterday north of us and plans to hike to his folks' home somewhere in Minnesota. We wound up staying at the same site with him tonight, along with a bunch of Neanderthals. Actually, that's what they asked me to call them in my post. They're a handful of guys, all related, but big age range, that go out on a short camping trip each year. We shared a nice fire, but I'm in bed earlier tonight after our longer than planned distance. Our mashed potatoes and chicken dinner was great - lots better than last nights noodles. Oh, early this morning we walked by the view of the Poplar River valley which I think is one of the nicest spots on the trail. Early tomorrow, we'll go up Carlton Peak - another favorite spot.
Day 1 - Rain, Mud, and Hiking
I walked 30967 steps on the trail today.
I traveled about 10.7 miles today.
It really wasn't that bad today. We hit the trail at 1:30 and enjoyed about 5.5 hours on the trail while it sprinkled, showered, and eventually rained. Somewhere in there we did put on our rain gear and left it on most of the afternoon and evening. There's still water dropping from the trees but I think it's just leftover drops being dislodged by the wind. We reached our first camp spot early and decided to push on. The east lake Agnes site was full of tents so I walked the .3 miles to the west site while Martin watched our gear. There was more room so we moved there. We set up tents, got water, and made our meal. We visited with Scott and Jeff, but a couple ladies didn't come out of their tent at all - the weather wasn't that good. While chatting, i mentioned my site (of course) and Jeff already knew of it and used it. Cool! We built a soggy fire, sat around a bit more, and that was that. Now, it's time for lights out. Saw a lot of day hikers, 2 woodpeckers, 3 toads, 2 red squirrels, but nothing bigger. Xps
Start SHT Hike
Short SHT Hike
Pack is packed and ready at 23 pounds, including food. Superior Hiking Trail trip starts tomorrow! Driving to Cascade River and walking south as far as we can in a week. Weather WAS looking good, but now I guess I get to try my rain poncho the first day. My location will get tracked - Check out my current location on the map.
Bear Paw Wilderness Designs Review
There's a small company in Colorado making some nice lightweight shelters. If you are ready to dump your 6-pound tent for something much lighter and just as protective, you really should check out Bear Paw Wilderness Designs. John owns the company, makes the gear, and even does his own youtube videos. He's ready and willing to customize any of his products for your specific needs. Let me tell you about my experience with BPWD shelters...
I made my own lightweight shelter in 2012, and I'm proud of what I sewed together. It kept me comfortable over many nights and miles, but it wasn't really great when the weather got bad. John gave me one of his tarps and a 1-person bug nest to try out, but I put it off because it weighed a couple ounces more than my own shelter.
This January, my son and I hiked through the Florida Keys and then through the Everglades up to Lake Okeechobee where my son left to return to college and I continued on to Ocala. I used my home-made shelter while my son used the BPWD shelter. As soon as he left, I had him take my shelter home and I switched to the BPWD - wow! I was completely protected from rain and bugs, had plenty of room, and wasted no time in set-up and take-down each day.
Last month, I ordered a 2-person bug nest from John that would fit under the tarp I already had, replacing the 1-person nest. My wife and I were heading to the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming, leading a group of youth from our church. We spent 6 nights in the nest under the tarp while mosquitoes buzz bombed us outside, but had no chance in our spacious nest. We had 3 nights of torrential rain and intense lightning, but we stayed completely dry under the tarp that would not even budge when high winds hit it broadside. I'd like to think it was my excellent skill in pounding in stakes, but the shelter held up perfectly.
There was a small amount of very fine mist forced through the silnylon during the very, very worst of the storms but much less than other silnylon shelters I've used. The tarp extended over the sides of the bug nest enough that no rain blew underneath. The sidewalls of the bug nest kept all blown rain out while the mesh allowed complete air flow.
We set up on rocky ground, pine needles, and bare dirt. It was easy to get sturdy tension on the tie lines even though we had to place them at different distances and angles due to rocks and roots underground. The individually adjustable locks on each line worked nicely.
We left the bug nest connected to the tarp at the two ridge points and the four corners. This allowed us to throw down our plastic ground sheet, drop the nest and tarp on top, peg out the corners of the nest and quickly lift the tarp into position. My wife held the front support pole in place while I pounded the lightweight aluminum support stakes in. We repeated that process on the rear support post. It took us about 3 minutes to completely set up the shelter, and the nest was never exposed to rain doing it this way.
I was not able to achieve a perfectly tight ridgeline, but there was very little flapping or ruffling during the windiest storm. A couple inches of space between the internal mesh nest and outer tarp at the top ensured no condensation moisture got inside the nest, even when I bumped up against the mesh.
We were in arid conditions, so there was little condensation inside the tarp. I plan to use this shelter again for a week on the Superior Hiking Trail in Minnesota, starting this Friday. I will check for condensation in a more humid area. I'm taking the 2-person nest because it will give me tons of space, at the cost of only a couple ounces.
Bear Paw Wilderness Design Shelter Benefits:
- Roomy - Long enough inside the nest to have a little extra gear above my head, and wide enough for our two sleeping pads plus about 6 inches between. I can sit up easily without pressing against the mesh ceiling.
- Comfortable - protection from rain with lots of ventilation.
- Flexible - The tarp can be pitched high or low, depending on weather and air flow desired. The nest and tarp, tarp only, or nest only, can be pitched depending on what weather and insect concerns you expect.
- Lightweight - the tarp, nest, and lines weigh 36 ounces. Adding in 12 stakes and a ground sheet brings it up to 46 ounces. It packs into a very small bag, taking up little pack space.
- Unobtrusive - the grey color blends in nicely to nature. It just looks like another rock in the mountains.
- USA - designed, made, and sold locally.
- Customizable - John can create pretty much what you want with different styles, sizes, and materials available.
For pricing, and detailed specs, take a look at Bear Paw Wilderness Designs website. I have a Canopy 2 Tent, a Walled Net Tent 2, and a Minimalist 1 net option.
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