Friday, October 17, 2014

Superior Hiking Trail - Cascade River State Park

Three weeks ago already we headed north to the Superior Hiking Trail for our annual fall hiking trip. Fall on the North Shore is awesome and I am so glad even with our busy hectic fall this year we made time to go up there. Our fall is filled with weddings, wedding festivities and Patrick even squeezed in a trip to the Grand Canyon with his friend Rickard in September. Two days after Patrick got back from the Grand Canyon we headed north to Cascade River State Park. Because of Patrick's recent trip we took it easy and decided to only hike the 8 mile loop that went through the park rather than do the shuttle thing we normally do.

Since we didn't have a shuttle to catch we took our sweet time getting up north and unfortunately got stuck in traffic in Two Harbors. Apparently 80 degree fall days makes everyone want to venture north and take in the fall colors. When we finally got to Cascade River State Park it was still pretty busy. Luckily when you walk 3 miles with a backpack to your campsite you become much more secluded. We stopped at the first site that we were potentially going to stay at and a group of rowdy 20 year olds were there, so we decided to move on to the next site in hopes that we would end up at a site by ourselves. The next site did have a tent on it, but we couldn't tell if people were in there sleeping or what the deal was. We didn't have another good option at this point so we decided to stay there. We set up the tent and our new hammock and then the people with the tent came back from their day hiking. It was getting dark at this point so we started a fire and made dinner.

Cut Log Campsite on SHT in Cascade River State Park

Cut Log Campsite on SHT in Cascade River State Park

We woke up on Sunday morning to another gorgeous day. The sun was shining and it was supposed to be in the 70's again. We decided that day hiking versus packing up our stuff and going to the next site sounded very appealing. At first we were going to do the whole loop in the end we decided to hike the Cascade Lodge for lunch and then hike up to Lookout Mountain instead. Definitely not a typical backpacking trip for us, but super enjoyable not carrying a 30 pound pack the entire time. After our previous fall trip where it rained for hours we had been keeping tabs on the weather and a storm was supposed to come in that night. Neither of us wanted to be stuck hiking in the rain so we headed back to camp. We were able to try out our hammock, make dinner and barely eat it before the storm came in.

SHT- Cascade River State Park

Camping at Cut Log Campsite on SHT

Cascade River State Park in Fall

Cut Log Campsite

SHT- Cascade River State Park1

Sara and Patrick on Bench Near Cascade River Lodge

SHT- Cascade River State Park2

Lookout Mountain at Cascade River State Park

Sara and Patrick at Lookout Mountain at Cascade River State Park

Cascade River State Park

Patrick in Hammock at Cut Log Campsite on SHT

It rained all night Sunday, but it cleared up by morning. The only unfortunate thing was that now the temperature dropped to 50 degrees and it was cold. We packed up our stuff and headed the other direction on the trail back to our car. The trip back was pretty uneventful. There was a sign warning us that a bridge was out so it might be difficult to cross after a rainfall. Good thing we didn't listen to that because the area was completely dried out. We did ask the lady at the state park office about this before hand and she didn't seem concerned about it either so I think it's probably a bigger deal in the spring than in the fall. When we got back to the car we decided to head to Grand Marais to check it out since we hadn't been that far north in years. The donut shop was still open so we did get one of those before they closed. We were thinking of staying in Lutsen or even Duluth that night, but in the end we decided it would just be nicer to sleep in our own beds that night. On our way home we did stop at Temperance River, Tettegouche, and Lutsen to check out the fall colors. We considered doing the gondola ride but it was a pretty dreary, cold day so it didn't seem that worth the $10 fee to ride it. And of course no trip of ours is complete with out a stop at Pizza Luce in Duluth.

Leave after Rain at Cascade River State Park on SHT

Leave after Rain at Cascade River State Park on SHT

SHT- Cascade River State Park3

SHT and Cascade River State Park

Cascade River State Park

Cascade River State Park

Lutsen Mountain Fall

SHT- Cascade River State Park4