We came around a corner next to the Gooseberry River. There was a big red fox. He took off down the trail. Leo took off after him. The fox took a 90 left into the woods. It was quite obvious. Leo ran straight past that point and down the trail. Then Leo stopped and looked left because he heard the fox escaping. Shouldn’t the border collie part make him smarter? Advantage: Fox.
I run every single step of this madness carrying a digital camera in my right hand. Just to be ready for moments like that. You ask, Did you get a picture of the fox? You shut your mouth.
I was five minutes late to Castle Danger to catch the Superior Hiking Shuttle. Bob was kind enough to wait for me. It was our last ride together. They shut down the scheduled shuttle for the season after today. I couldn’t have done all this craziness without Bob Risch and Ken Nelson driving me around the North Shore. We shook hands as he dropped me off at Gooseberry Falls State Park. I’m sure we’ll meet again. If you ever need a ride, visit Bob’s website.
We walked under the highway bridge to the old stone visitors center on the north side of the road. Leo treed a squirrel immediately. It brisk, in the low thirties, so I wore gloves for the first time this year. We headed up the river and Leo needed a swimming break before we even broke a sweat. The swims aren’t as long as they used to be, I’ll admit that. We followed the east bank to Fifth Falls and Leo found his favorite sign. Right up his alley. We took a picture under the bridge and moved west. Lots of cross country ski trails to explore here. I’ve never skied Gooseberry before.
We had our fox encounter. Saw several groups of hikers at the different campsites sprinkled along the Gooseberry. Lots of beaver dams. At least five major ones. I didn’t want to fall down because there were beaver-made punjee sticks everywhere. I didn’t want to get skewered. We eventually left the river, which was a nice level run for many miles. We were in a dark, cedar swamp and Leo was slightly behind me and I heard a noise. A single high pitched bark. Sounded like a lap dog. Definitely not Leo. I’m guessing a fox bark. Wolves don’t bark. So that’s my guess anyway. Two fox encounters in one day. Go figure.
We got some great ledges and saw Lake Superior right before we hit the parking lot. Then we drove home, right in the middle of the bell curve of people returning south from their weekend. We were in stop and go traffic from a mile outside Two Harbors all the way west to the expressway. Reminded me of growing up in New Hampshire with all the flatlanders (“flatlandahs”) streaming north on Friday and barreling south on Sunday. Just like here. Both times, I’ve been lucky to live in the place where everyone else wants to go.
Today’s Data: North Shore Shmo: Leg 36
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T-Shirt of the Day:
When I was a kid, I did biathlon. Ski and Shoot. Bought my own rifle with my life savings at 17 years old. Fast forward almost 30 years. A few years back, I skied for two winters with the Minnesota National Guard Biathlon team. Same rifle I had as a teenager. Bolt action, not a fancy, quick Fortner action. One of the young guys who could ski really fast gave me a hard time for the bolt and for my time on the range. He didn’t laugh as much when I passed him headed to the course as he was doing his penalty laps. I don’t ski and shoot anymore. But I got to race at Camp Ethan Allen in Vermont in 2009 and Camp Ripley in 2010. Always wanted to race at those two places. Been there, got the T-shirt.