Saturday, October 18, 2008

Getting Back To My Roots

It's always nice to get back "Up North" to the old stomping grounds of my youth. Things have changed immensely up here in the past twenty years, more and more development, along with way too many people.

I used to hang out up on the North Shore of Lake Superior long before it was a haven for the 612ers, as some of the locals refer to us who live in the cities. In many ways I resent that little phrase especially when I hear it from people I know. I quickly point out that I was born and raised in the area and still refer to it as home whether it be Chisholm or The North Shore. It makes me feel in many ways like an interloper.

My trips up here began immediately after getting a drivers license back in 1974. Long before the Superior Hiking Trail was established and large development starting chewing up Lake Shore property and property along the ridge. I've experience countless trips in all seasons, but the most memorable ones were the winter trips. Week long XC ski sojourns into Rose Lake and the surrounding area on Canadian border. Along with other winter camping trips in and around Isabella and Ely. We slept out in temps as low as -34 F and I've been snowshoeing at 1 A.M. in temps as low as -56 F. That was the same week that Embarrass set the record for the coldest temperature recorded in MN. Tower recorded a temperature of -60 that same week, on Feb. 2, 1996. At one point in time friends along with our high school history teacher (who was also a bush pilot in Alaska during the summer months) conjured up a plan to circumnavigate
Isle Royal on skis. Of course the National Park Service wouldn't allow it, but it sure would have been interesting. I have Matt Opak to thank for getting me into winter camping in the first place. Now, it's been far too long since I've experienced the cold the way it should be experienced.

Living in the cities has made me somewhat soft and I don't like that feeling. I am never more relaxed yet at the same time driven to push myself than when I'm up here. However when I have my wife along she reminds me, as she did this morning, that I need slow down to her pace.

We've had some excellent hiking over the past few days and Bella our dog is showing the effects. I actually had a hard time getting her up this morning.
I set out at about 4:45 A.M. with a temp of 33 degrees for...of all things, a trail run. Why 4:45 A.M. you ask? The only answer I can give you is... at times, for unknown reasons, I tend to exhibit very strange and unusual behavior. Maybe it was the adventurous aspect of the whole thing that led me to do it. Also, I've experienced many night hikes in the northwoods, but never a trail run. Totally different experience let me tell you. My friend Kenny would just refer to it as "SF" thinking. It actually wasn't so much like a run, but more of a quick jog. The trails here a very rocky and also have many exposed roots which can make running them in the daylight a challenge. Well, at night, even with a good headlamp they are treacherous and you have to have total concentration on the trail.

So while you're spending your time focusing on the ground in front of you, it's really easy to get clobbered by a tree limb or some other unforeseen object protruding out onto the trail. Anyway, it was a very cool adventure which ended up getting me turned around in the dark somewhere on the side of Moose Mountain. My little 45 minute trail run turned into a little more than an hour and a half because of some unexpected exploring. I should have just stuck to the main trial, but then if I did I wouldn't have had as much fun.

Finding my way back to the main trail

It was a good way to start the day and warm up for more time on the hiking trails. I know my legs will be tired this afternoon, but that's the best type of tired there is.

I'll be posting more photos from the hikes we took, but right now it's time to head out on the trails for more fun.


the old bag said...

So, if you're up before 4:45 in the AM, that means that either you don't need much sleep or you're sleeping by 8:30.

If I'm lucky, I'm up by 5:00, but hitting the hay by 9:00 is equally tough. Once in the habit, I like it though.

Vito said...

Generally between 9 and 10 P.M. It's vacation tonight and I am totally fried. Long day today!

Kenny said...

Nah, you're not a SF for getting up and running at 4:45 AM, it's what you like to do. If I was to do it, then I would be the SF!
By the way, thanks for In-a-gadda-da-vida, baby!