Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ely's Peak and Tunnel

Not to sound like a broken record, but it was another beautiful day in northern Minnesota. Today Noelle and I planned on hiking with Parker a little bit closer to home. We decided to make the ascent of Ely's Peak on the Superior Hiking Trail. I'd hiked up Ely's before in October of last year. I thought it would be nice to hike up again with Noelle.

We drove to the trail-head off of Beck's Road and were soon hiking along the Munger Trail. Then the Superior Hiking Trail diverged to the left and we steadily climbed up to the summit. The views were really nice and we even saw a large fire in the distance which was quickly extinguished. We surmised that the fire was probably a training exercise at Lake Superior College. I had read about a tunnel going through the peak which was part of the old, abandoned DWP (Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific Railway), but we saw no signs of it on our way up.

We decided that a user trail which diverged to the left of the Munger Trail at just about the same point as the Superior Hiking Trail would probably lead us to the tunnel, and so we decided to follow it. Our intuition turned out to be correct. After following the user trail for about a quarter mile we found ourselves on the old DWP grade and just to the left was the east end of the tunnel.
Ely's Peak Tunnel Silhouette
We walked into the tunnel and through to the other side. The walls were of course covered in graffiti and there was a lot of rock rubble and beer cans littering the ground, but it was still an interesting experience. After a short time we retraced our steps to the car.

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