Thursday, June 24, 2010

Scenic State Park

Yesterday I packed up my stuff for another solo Eric adventure. I would be heading to McCarthy Beach State Park and Scenic State Park with a stop for a short hike in Superior National Forest. And so at about 10 a.m. I hit the road, passed the Miller Hill Mall and headed up towards the Iron Range.

My first stop was the grocery store in Virginia, Minnesota to get some food for camping. I then got back into the auto and headed into Superior National Forest. I briefly stopped at the Laurentian Divide picnic area for a really short hike along an interpretive trail.
I then headed deeper into the forest for a hike on an overgrown ski trail along side the Sturgeon River. The hike was scenically uninteresting, but on the way back to the car I got buzzed several times by some sort of hawk. That was exciting.

From the Sturgeon River Trail I headed to McCarthy Beach State Park. I hiked the Hiking Club trail there. Other than a walk along Pickerel Lake where I watched a loon dive and resurface a few times, it was another uninspiring hike. I had intended to camp at McCarthy beach, but it was still pretty early when I finished my hike and so I headed farther west to Scenic State Park.

Scenic State Park in appropriately named with a few really pretty lakes. I set up camp alongside Coon Lake, ate dinner, and then went for a hike to the beautiful Chase Point on an ice age relic esker. I was able to catch the sunset from the esker, before returning to my campsite in a thick swarm of mosquitoes.

Today I woke up and laid inside the tent for a while avoiding heading out into the early morning mosquitoes for as long as I could. Eventually I got up and ate breakfast, and then headed over to the park office to rent a kayak.

The paddling out on the lakes was fun. I paddled over to and around a small island. There were a lot of water lillies growing in the shallow areas. I then paddled across Coon Lake to check out a few loons that I saw swimming around. One of the loons dove practically under the kayak! I also saw a curious muskrat swimming around and checking me out. After two hours of paddling I returned the kayak and headed out. I had intended to hike the Hiking Club trail at Schoolcraft State Park, but it started pouring rain on the way there and so I headed home to Duluth.

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