Sunday, May 1, 2011

The "DWP Trail": Ely's Peak to W Skyline Parkway

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I really wanted to get out and do some hiking today despite the cold May temperatures. Noell, Parker and I grabbed a few things and headed out towards Gary/New Duluth to hike a portion of the old DWP railbed south of the tunnel that runs underneath Ely's Peak. On the way we stopped at the Thompson Hill Rest Area so I could walk Parker a bit while Noelle used the restroom. We then headed to Boundary Ave. to get some gas. Unfortunately, we had some problems getting gas that were unrelated to the high gas prices. The fuel door on my Civic would not open. We tried prying it open with a key and even looked in the owner's manual, but could fine no way to get it open. Sadly, we headed back home without having gone for our walk.
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Once home I looked online and found a way to get the fuel door open by accessing it through the trunk. Still wanting to get out for a bit, I headed out again, but this time by myself. I filled my tank in Morgan Park and then parked at the climber's parking area near Ely's Peak. The trail to the old rail bed was quite muddy from yesterday's rain, but things dried out a bit when I made it to the rail bed. From there I headed south on the trail and soon crossed a scary bridge
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and passed near an active quarry. I found some signs of the railroad days along my walk; some railroad spikes
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and an old sign with a W on it,
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perhaps indicating an old whistle-stop on the rail line.

When I made it to the point where the DWP railway crossed Skyline Parkway I decided to follow the Parkway to the Superior Hiking trail and follow the SHT back to Ely's Peak where I would follow a user trail back to the railroad bed and back to my car. My plan worked well and along my hike I was even treated to some signs of the coming Duluth spring: some catkins in some shrubs
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and some wild leeks.
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