Itasca State Park, Tuesday Jan. 9
Tired. Tired and Sore. Six more miles today along somewhat packed snow trails on top of the eight from yesterday equals tired legs and bodies. Yes it was glorious and quiet and all of that, but mainly right now I am thinking tired and sore. Is 8 PM too early to go to bed???
Our trip is being squeezed in between last week’s brutal cold and the expected snowstorm starting tomorrow night followed by more bone-chilling cold. We lucked out. Temperatures stayed in the high twenties and the overcast early morning skies gave way to bright sunlight by noon.
Our morning hike was on a portion of the North Country National Scenic Trail. When completed, this trail will be 4600 miles stretching from New York to North Dakota; longer than the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail. While sponsored by the National Park Service, most of the work to develop the Trail and to maintain it is accomplished by local groups of volunteers. The local group is composed of about 60 members maintaining a 75 mile stretch of the trail. Thank you Itasca Moraine Chapter of the North Country Trail Association.
The hike was up and down hills, through woods, and past small lakes and wetlands. The color palette was mainly white and grayish brown. The green of the conifer trees was above us, closer to the blue or gray of the sky. Our eyes were normally on the path. We observed little wildlife, a few birds mainly, a squirrel here or there.
The suites we are staying in are two pods of 6 units. There have only been two other vehicles here. One of the vehicles belonged to a couple out cross-country skiing. We saw them yesterday at the headwaters. Today we ran into them in the later afternoon. They had run across a freshly killed beaver and a lot of wolf tracks on their ski journey.
The park naturalist had a children’s interpretative session this morning. We saw the 20 passenger bus that brought them here. Nothing scheduled for adults today. We also ran across a young man who was lost. At our afternoon hike, he was scanning one of the informational kiosks and looking for a trail. He was in the wrong area of the park. We directed him to the right area. However, when we completed our hike and on our way back to the cabin, we noticed him reading another kiosk in the general area but still not on the right trail. I got out and led him to the trail head about a 1/4 mile away. I hope he completed it before dusk. Apparently he was here to shoot some photos.
Tomorrow we leave and we have agreed three nights with two full days is about right for us. Assuming we are back here next January.
Ed and Chris