The dog’s foot is healed up. I decided we’d head up the shore for two days of running, back to back. We’d stay in a tent. I’d bike-shuttle with the dog riding in a bike trailer like a child. Like a whiny, smelly, hairy child. In order to figure out whether a gameplan is valid, you must execute the gameplan, as briefed. Uncle Sam taught me that. He didn’t warn me about dog ownership.
We locked the bike and trailer to a tree at the Kadunce River wayside along the shore road. Then I checked into the Judge CR Magney State Park with the same nice ranger who warned me about the 130 steps next to Devil’s Kettle Falls. She said it was a ten mile hike. I described the plan to trail run that 10 miles and bike 5 miles back. With a dog. She smiled and nodded like I just said I was going to go the distance on a pogo stick. Cuckoo.
I parked at our campsite and we started to run. Followed a brook for a while and had a nice run on a bluebird day. The woods are more dry and the brooks have less water for Leo to bathe in. Some early turning of the leaves. Where did summer go?
We turned a corner and we were about 20 yards from a hiker who was going through his backpack with his back turned to us. I said, “Hello” so we wouldn’t surprise him. I didn’t say it loud enough. He heard something, so he stood up and looked around. By then, Leo was standing still right behind him. The guy jumped about five feet in the air. It’s Leo’s creepy yellow eyes, I think. Leo subsequently freaked out, ran back toward me and almost took me out at the knees. I apologized and ran on.
The whole trail had just been freshly weed-whacked, so it was a nice run down the trail without getting thwacked in the legs by vegetation. Leo and I came up on the team that did that hard work. I met Han Taylor and his crew. All three of them had weed-whackers on and they were heading back to the truck after covering this several miles of trail. Their dog Leinie made friends with Leo. Han is the Trail Maintenance Supervisor for the Superior Hiking Trail. I ran ahead and waited for them at Highway 61 next to their truck. When they emerged, I explained my little project to them in support of the Wounded Warrior Project. Han gave me his card and said I should call him if I ever needed anything, like a shuttle ride or something. (This may be important later.)
Leo and I crossed the shore road and emerged on the pink stones of the North Shore. Leo immediately sampled the big lake. The word is that this is the only section of the SHT that’s right on the water. It’s called the Lakewalk. Well, there’s a section in Duluth along the water, also called the Lakewalk, coincidentally. So, I guess there are two. This section of a mile and a half right along the water was pretty awesome. Rough going in the little stones, but Leo was happy to dive in whenever he wanted. We didn’t see another soul.
We slabbed across country and eventually came to the Kadunce River. What a cool drainage. Go check it out sometime, but make sure you have little kids close at hand. This small river snakes and winds its way down to Lake Superior through a narrow gorge that was sometimes 50 to 75 feet tall. Like a toddler, I had to warn Leo back a few times. The trail hovered just inches from that edge for around a half mile. Impressive.
I unlocked the bike and put together Leo’s chariot. He happily got in. Ten feet later, underway, he bailed out. I put him back in and fastened the screen top over him. He bashed his head against the screen repeatedly. For the next half mile, he screamed like I was trying to decapitate him with a hacksaw. I checked to see if he was getting hurt somehow. Nope. He was fine. He just didn’t like the ride. And I was trying to give him a good deal so he wouldn’t hurt his feet again. Or get run over by a car on the shore road. You’re welcome.
He was extraordinarily loud and high pitched. Truly a scream. Not a whine. People along the shore saw some guy with a closed up child carrier. The guy was yelling at the top of his lungs at his children to, “Be QUIET!” What a terrible parent.
Leo got the message and went into a quieter, warbling like whine. He covered about four octaves with some really nice vibrato. Kind of sounded like the gibberish a two-year old spouts as they drift off to sleep.
When we got to the campground about a half-hour later, I let him out. He acted like he escaped the electric chair right before the warden threw the switch. Pure joy.
He slept with me in the tent. Smelly, but it wasn’t any worse than some people I’ve shared the tent with. He was happy to be inside, as I was, when the rain started around midnight. He had his own blanket to lie on. But, he figured out that a Thermarest pad is pretty awesome. I found myself on the hard ground in the morning with him shoved onto the pad. Overall, the tent situation actually worked.
The rain quit and we got up at dawn. We drove to the same Kadunce River wayside and locked the bike to the same tree. We headed down to the parking lot on 58 and started running east under overcast skies. I checked my phone real quick and the news said that wolves had been attacking dogs and approaching people in Grand Marais. Wait a minute. I’m in Grand Marais.
I hoped that the chance of showers and wolves would hold off. It was better than coffee to go one mile straight up along Woods Creek. One hour into the run, it started to rain. Steady. I had three hours of running/biking in front of me and it was really coming down.
I actually started to get cold at 60F and soaked. But the run was still pretty fun. We flushed a grouse. We came through a beautiful meadow with an overlook of Five Mile Rock. Lots of rosehips (I think; I’m no botanist). Weren’t those just roses yesterday? Fall’s coming fast.
The main fixture of this segment was the dozens of creeks. Kimball. Durfee. Cliff. Several more. So many, I can’t remember the names. Leo dunked in all of them. Thumbs up. Or “Dewclaws up,” I guess. As long as I kept moving, I’d stave off hypothermia in the downpour.
We retraced our steps down the Kadunce River and found the bicycle. Again, Leo worked through his vocal skills like an opera singer with Tourette’s. I think I need to find a Plan B for shuttling the dog at the end of each run. Han may be getting a call from us the next time we need to shuttle. I pronounce the bike-trailer gameplan to be invalid. Good for dog-singing, bad for traveling.
28 Aug Data: North Shore Shmo: Leg 18
29 Aug Data: North Shore Shmo: Leg 19 (Battery ran out halfway across; Garmin now waterlogged and inop)
The link to donate to the Wounded Warrior Project: North Shore Shmo!
T-Shirt(s) of the Day:
Once, when I was a lieutenant, three buddies of mine and I got in trouble at the Officers Club. Actually, there were several months of getting in trouble before the straw that broke our squadron commander’s back. In short, we were teasing the Strategic Air Command (SAC) guys at Eielson AFB too much. He “broadened our careers” and sent us to the island of Shemya on the Aleutian Chain to see how the SAC guys lived. There was one tree and never ending 30 knot winds. We toured the Coke bottle dump from WWII and saw the fur trapper’s graves. I got this T-shirt. I guess it’s over 20 years old. Oh, and avoid a job in SAC or whatever they’re calling it now.
I wore this shirt on the second day. My time in this unit was the best 12 years of my life. Simple. (This shirt weighs about 5 pounds when completely soaked in rain for three hours.)