Glen Flanagan and I sat in the truck at Martin Road and watched the rain. Andy Hayes showed up with Lucy a few minutes later. Lucy as in Lucy-fer. Good one. Leo had another buddy to run with. We chugged off into the rain.
I was feeling a little whipped after the last four days, but managed to warm up by the time we got to the ledges above…Lester? Tischer? Amity? Some creek. (It was Amity Creek. I had to look it up.) Some folks took the time to come all the way to those cliffs and throw off their garbage. Must be close to town again. Even in the light rain, it started to get warm.
We ran past the cemetery on Vermilion and leashed up the dogs as we hit town. We crossed Woodland and found our way to the hill at Hartley. The sun tried to peak through a little bit. We had to backtrack to the Hartley Nature at one point because we missed the actual Superior Hiking Trail. If I miss some, I have to start the whole 300 miles over again. Wouldn’t want that.
We spurred away from Root Canal and snuck into Bagley across Arrowhead. We went straight up the stairs to the overlook at Bagley. Just as we entered the opening near the overlook, we spooked two bald eagles from a couple of the trees. Kind of cool thing right as I ran the last few yards of the entire Superior Hiking Trail. Neither Glen nor Andy had been to this spot before, which I find hard to believe. It’s my favorite little spot of the town’s trails. We got some hero pictures near the top of the hill. Got a picture of my Wounded Warrior Project T-shirt of the day. Threw out my back holding Leo up for a snapshot. Not really. That was from splitting wood later in the day.
It was all downhill to the house from there. For real. Gary Black intercepted us with his dog Bella. So, there we were, like a trail running biker gang. Glen apologized for not bringing a black dog to make a foursome. We got to see the newly refurbished old road along Tischer Creek. The section below 4th street was newly paved. All just now getting fixed after being damaged in the 2012 flood.
We posed for some pictures in the front yard. It felt good. We celebrated with some pizza that The Chef surprised us with.
As I write this, the total donations to the Wounded Warrior Project are $3251.79. Outstanding. I’m very grateful for everyone’s generosity. I believe it’s a worthy cause and a worthy organization. And you more than doubled the amount I was hoping for.
It took 41 days over a 5 month period. My math shows I ran 342.2 miles to cover 302 actual trail miles (via the Superior Hiking Trail website). I did some out and back days and some spurs that don’t actually count toward the main trail. Leo, of course about quadrupled my amount, so I’m giving him credit for around 1200 miles. We also tried bike shuttling 3 times for 22 miles. Fail. 11 miles one day and I made him hurt his foot. The other two times were with him screaming like a stuck pig in the child trailer. With me screaming at him to shut up. Our family drove 3563 miles to make this expedition happen. At some point, I’ll count up steps and calories. All these numbers soothe my OCD.
The real revelation was the landscape and the people. The trail revealed parts of Minnesota that I never would’ve seen. I’ll share my favorite spots off the beaten path at some point in the future. What a beautiful place we live in.
And the people who were so generous and giving of their time and money. I want to give a special thanks to Renee Passal and Sam Cook for publicizing my efforts. It was Renee who asked the question of how much I had run already that really put the spurs to me. When I answered I had three months left and 250 miles to go, I suddenly realized I better get serious. And thanks to everyone who opened their wallets to help wounded veterans. I’ll get around to thanking you all again later.
Last, I want to thank my family that supports my crazy ideas. Shelley, Sam and Grace tolerated my trail running as if it was a second job. Now, I need to start pulling my weight a little more. That weight, by the way, is the same as it was when I started this thing. That’s my only disappointment. Other than it all being done, that is.
Today’s Data: North Shore Shmo: Leg 41
Thanks for donating to the Wounded Warrior Project!
T-Shirt of the Day:
A shirt that was given to me by my father-in-law, Roger Zuehlke, a long time ago. Never thought I’d end up being this involved with them.