Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Highpoint: Minnesota. Eagle Mountain (2301 ft). July 25, 2010

Eagle Mountain Trail, 7 miles roundtrip, 700 feet elevation gain.

I had once worried about including Eagle Mountain, along with three other state highpoints (those in VA, OK and SD), in our 2010 highpointing spree. However, since Sage handled the first three "big ones" with such aplomb, by the time we arrived in Minnesota, I was no longer concerned that this hike would be too challenging for my youngest daughter. This summer, Sage has repeatedly demonstrated that she's a strong little Amazon; Alex and I will be taking her up some 4Ks when we return to New Hampshire.

We arrived at the trailhead after spending a couple of lovely nights in nearby Grand Marais. Grand Marais is a quaint little town on the edge of Lake Superior, just 30 miles or so from the Canadian border. If you're ever up that way, I highly recommend checking it out.

I had been warned to douse ourselves with bug repellent before entering the MN woods. We all smelt of toxic chemicals as we entered the forest.

The girls were in a jovial mood that morning, as usual.

At first the trail was a decent-sized width...

...but the path soon narrowed until we almost felt as though we were bushwhacking.

The trail enters a Wilderness area less than a mile from the trailhead.

Bog bridges! Haven't seen those since we left the Granite State.

After 2.5 miles of relatively flat walking, we came to a clearing at Eagle Lake, where we could see Eagle Mountain rising majestically in the distance...

Around the lake we went, toward the trail that leads up...

We soon arrived at a viewpoint, where we took our first break of the day.

Views from close to the top of Minnesota...

We ate, we drank, we continued onward...

Less than half a mile after the viewpoint, we found the little clearing at the top containing the highpoint sign and marker.

The return trip was quick and uneventful, with the exception of nasty bug DEET had worn off and I had to swat mosquitoes with every other step. In spite of my long pants, the critters ate my legs; I spent the next 24 hours constantly applying "after-bite" lotion. Luckily, the girls were fine. Seems the insects had ignored them in favor of me.

Only a handful of short walks in various states, and then we're home.

Next stop: Wisconsin.

No comments: