Thursday, September 27, 2012

Superior Hiking Trail - Silver Bay to Spilt Rock River

Back in May when I wrote a post about Patrick's Backpacking trip on the Superior Hiking Trail with Rickard I said I am sure a few backpacking trips were in my future. That has certainly been the case. With this trip I have been backpacking three times this summer and Patrick has been six times. It has been really fun to discover really cool places that are not far from home.

On this particular adventure our plan was to take the shuttle from the trail center at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park to Silver Bay and then hike the 20 miles back to our car. It ended up working out fairly well. We did have to leave at 5am Saturday morning to arrive at the shuttle in time though. One good thing about being up so early was we started hiking around 9am, so we had lots of daylight ahead of us.

Silver Bay



I had seen on the DNR color report that the area we were going to be at was only 25-50 percent of the leaves had turned. It ended up being perfect. A lot of trees had turned beautiful colors and most of the other trees still had all their leaves. Here is the view after we climbed just one of the hills on our journey.

Fall Colors

There were also some spectacular views of Lake Superior.

Fall Colors


The Beaver River near Beaver Bay. Originally we had thought that we would camp here, but we were here by noon so we kept on the trail.

Beaver Bay

Patrick and Sara Beaver Bay

Fall Colors

Here is the part of the trail. It really is a ton of rocks, tree roots and up and down hills.

Rocky Trail

After 8.9 miles we arrived at our campsite for the night. We stayed at the Fault Line Creek campsite. This is also where we met Matt and Lindsay. They were on the same journey as us, so we ended up hiking with them for a while on Sunday morning.

1st Night Campsite

While I got the tent set up, Patrick went searching for fire wood. He collected quite a bit of stuff, but most of it was wet. It was taking a while to get the fire started, but once it started it was going strong.

Patrick's Fire


For dinner we made our burritos in the fire and roasted some marshmallows. We were in bed before 10pm after our 4:30am wake up call. I was out as soon as I put my head on the pillow, but our friends Matt and Lindsay were cold and thought they heard a bear outside their tent. Patrick thinks it may have been a bird. The temperature was supposed to get down to 27 degrees, but with our small tent and warm sleeping bags neither of us was cold or awake hearing bears.

On Sunday morning Patrick was up early collecting firewood to reignite the fire. He got it going again, so we had a fire to warm up to while we ate our oatmeal. We packed up and headed back out on the trail again.

Patrick and Sara

Fall Colors

We stopped at an empty campsite for a lunch break. It was a nice break, but it was getting chilly so we headed back to the trail pretty quickly.

Patrick Lunch Break

Here is a view of Split Rock Lighthouse from the trail.

Spilt Rock

Leaves and Rocks

Spilt Rock River

After 12.4 miles of hiking we arrived at the Split Rock Loop campsites. We stayed at the N.E. Split Rock River campsite. Here is Patrick filtering water from the river.

Collecting Water

Patrick with Campfire


Campsite NE Split Rock River


On Monday morning we got up and slowly got our things packed up. The day before we had walked by the sign to the trail to our car. We were on the Split Rock River Loop, so we figured if we continued on the loop we would get back to that trail. Well that didn't happen so we ended up at a parking lot on Hwy 61. Our plan was going to be to hike along the Gitche Gami bike trail until we we got to Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. Lucky for us our friend Lindsay was waiting for Matt in the parking lot and she offered to give us a ride to our car. We were both thrilled because neither of us was too excited about the extra two miles to the car.

Spilt Rock River

Scary Split Rock River Bridge

On Monday we hiked 2.6 miles, so for the trip a total of 23.9 miles. It was really enjoyable to be outside and to really enjoy the fall weather and colors. I would definitely be up for another trip in the future. And of course on our way home we made our traditional stop at Pizza Luce in Duluth for a late lunch.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Meat Fest 5 - Meat On A Stick

Last Saturday we hosted our 5th Annual Meat Fest. It also happened to be my 30th birthday and Patrick's birthday 5 days later, so there was plenty to celebrate. The theme for Meat Fest this year was Meat on a Stick. The menu consisted of chicken, steak & shrimp kabobs. As well as grilled veggies, tortellini kabobs, dessert on a stick, fruit on a stick and mini caprese skewers. A couple friends brought the highlights of the night bacon wrapped sunfish, venison steaks and thick cut bacon.

Caprese Skewers

Dessert on a Stick

Tortellini Skewers


30th birthday sign

We also had sack races and celebrated our birthday's with a Byerly's cake and meat crowns made by Elysia. I still can't decide if the meat crowns were awesome or disgusting. Either way it was definitely one of the highlights of the evening.

Sack Race

Sack Race

Sara, Kasie & Kate

Elysia, Maran, Kasie, Kate, Shanna & Sara

Patrick and Sara with meat crown

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Frontenac State Park

Last weekend was again filled with a camping adventure. This is the sixth state park we have visited this year. This weekend we headed south to Frontenac State Park between Red Wing and Lake City. It was a beautiful weekend for camping and hiking. This time we didn't even reserve a campsite before hand. We figured if we didn't get a site we could just spend the day hiking around and then head back home for the night.

When we arrived on Saturday we were able to get a site right away. We got to our site and made our lunch: ham sandwiches, homemade salsa and chips.

Camping Lunch

After we set up our tent we did a little hiking around the park. The trails were right by the campsite. We saw this deer very close to our site. It wasn't scared of us at all, so it must be used to people being around. The highlights of the rest of our hike were the views of Lake Pepin, finding a apple tree and seeing a giant snake on the prairie trails.

Deer in Frontenac State Park

Look Out at Frontenac

Apple Tree at Frontenac

Hiking Through Prairie at Frontenac State Park

Frontenac State Park

After about 3 hours and six miles of hiking we headed back to our campsite. Patrick then took a nap and I read the latest Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine. It was very relaxing after a long hike. Later that night we made a campfire, cooked our burritos and roasted marshmallows before heading to bed. The burritos turned out awesome. I used this recipe with fresh pico de gallo and a little shredded cheese. Cooking them over the fire made them an awesome burrito/quesadilla combo.

Frontenac State Park

Camping Drinks

Frontenac State Park

The next morning we decided just to pack up and head home since we hiked a majority of the park the day before. We were home by noon and the laundry was done before 5pm. It was a great way to spend the weekend.