The Fun Dome (#39): Halfway!

"Smokestack lightning. Shining just like gold." --Howlin' Wolf

“Smokestack lightning. Shining just like gold.” –Howlin’ Wolf

Trigger Warning!: The first paragraph will discuss gastrointestinal distress.

How to lose 10 pounds in just THREE DAYS! Step 1: Run 35 miles on the Superior Hiking Trail! Step 2: On the morning of the 2nd day, take a whole boatload of Motrin on an empty stomach! Step 3: Deposit the liquified interior of your body in dozens of locations in the Arrowhead Region for the next 48 HOURS! (“That’s not talk for the supper table,” says my mom.) As I once yelled from the bathroom stall at work, “YEAH! That’s what the inside of a MAN smells like!”

So anyway, don’t take ibuprofen on an empty stomach.

The Chef followed me and the dog to the Caribou Falls State Wayside along Highway 61. We parked the Dodge in the parking lot that holds half a dozen cars and doesn’t even have a pit toilet. I will be suitably impressed with this humble location later.

Poplar Tunnel.

Poplar Tunnel.

Maple tunnel.

Maple Tunnel.

Under overcast skies, she drove us to the parking lot at Cramer Road and said, “It’s like the leaves emit their own light. It’s beautiful.” Even a stupid little dirt parking lot can be a star this time of year. The dog and I took off to the west. We crossed a working railroad near Dyers Creek. Then we passed Alfred’s Pond or Ruffy Lake, depending on what source you believe. Sometimes, names are meaningless. What mattered were the floating bogs, cat tails, and the shining reds and oranges from the far shore. Leo taste-tested the water and approved.

Alfred's Pond.

Alfred’s Pond.

We followed the contours to the east through yellow poplar tunnels and red/orange maple tunnels. I’m not sure who makes the foliage forecasts, but I have the feeling they work in cubicles. I’d head out now if I were you.

Trail register box picked the wrong tree.

Trail register box picked the wrong tree.

Then we found a park bench overlooking Lake Superior. Shortly thereafter, a covered bridge. A covered bridge in autumn made me think I was in New England making fun of leaf-peepers from Massachusetts. The bridge had a neat Superior Hiking Trail sign made of metal. I’m amazed somebody hasn’t stolen it yet.

Surreal.

Surreal.

Covered bridge over Crystal Creek.

Covered bridge over Crystal Creek.

Cool sign.

Cool sign.

We made our way to the Caribou River and yet again, I was at a river at the end of a run and felt relief that it was almost the end of the day. Then we rounded a corner and there was a giant drop off and a spectacular waterfall. Caribou Falls with a pristine staircase down to what I would call a grotto. Fifty foot cliffs and a placid pool of water at the foot of a white cascade of water. It was a complete surprise to me. I make it a point not to research each leg very much beforehand so I can form my own impressions. Well, I was blown away by one of the prettiest waterfalls I’ve seen along the North Shore. And enjoyed it more because I had no idea it was coming. And it’s only a mile from Highway 61. Hiding in plain sight next to a barely noticeable wayside.

A wonder of nature. (And Caribou Falls.)

A wonder of nature. (And Caribou Falls.)

There were two older folks who were there gazing at the falls when the dog and I showed up. They were still standing there smiling when I left. Good for them. I have a hard time explaining why these views and experiences are necessary. But they are. They’re like food for me. And others, I suppose. I hope.

Caribou Falls.

Caribou Falls.

If it’s true that the SHT is 296 miles long, then Leo and I hit 148 miles, the halfway point, exactly when we hit that waterfall. Serendipity. We’re at a total of 148.7 miles and 25 legs of running. After this week, I’ll have 135 miles or so to go with about 14 days free in October to run. So, if I average ten miles a day, I might just make it. It’s going to be tight. Watch this space.

Caribou Falls.

Caribou Falls.

Today’s Data: North Shore Shmo: Leg 25 

Consider a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project via this trail run: North Shore Shmo!

T-Shirt of the Day:

I found a t-shirt from Iraq that marks the fact that I ran 150 miles during one deployment there. I went there three times. I don’t remember which trip this is from. You’d pound away on a treadmill, inside, hiding from the smoke from the dump fire. You’d go over to a piece of paper at the gym desk and mark up your miles. At the end of the trip, you handed in the paper and got a t-shirt. I’ll do anything for a t-shirt. And today, me and Leo hit 150 miles on the project. Close enough for government work anyway.

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