Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Superior Hiking Trail: Sucker River Trailhead to Fox Farm Trailhead

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Noelle and I had a chance to do some local hiking today. We drove north towards Two Harbors, turned up Homestead Road and eventually made our way to Fox Farm Road and the Fox Farm West Trailhead. It was at this point almost a year ago that I finished my thru-hike of the Superior Hiking Trail. A new section of the trail has been constructed since then, and although it is not yet officially open, we decided to hike this 5 mile long section of trail and return to the car via a road walk on Fox Farm Road.

The hike started out with some pleasant, if unspectacular, scenery. We passed several small vernal ponds and crossed a few small streams.
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This section of trail has not been blazed yet, but it was easy to follow due to the pink flagging that was tied to trees and shrubs along the route. Spring is coming to northern Minnesota a bit late this year, and as a result we did not see many wildflowers in bloom. We did see a little bit of wildlife though in the form of some birds and herps.
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The first of the herps that we saw, a toad hunkered down in the leaves and mud, Noelle found when traversing one of the many blowdowns that blocked the trail.
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Later on our hike we found one of the largest garter snakes that I've ever seen.
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Noelle's good eyes didn't just find a hidden toad though. She found the largest, most ornately banded agate we've collected right on the trail.
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Eventually we made it to a spur trail that led to a new campsite and Fox Farm Pond. We took the spur and were pleasantly surprised by what we found. There was a nice campsite there with plenty of firewood, and a wonderful beaver pond.
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There was plenty of evidence of the resident beavers all around the campsite.
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In addition, there was a nice picnic table there where we ate a snack.
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Beavers are not the only animals we saw evidence of on our hike. We saw lots of moose tracks and droppings and quite a bit of wolf scat as well. Unfortunately, we found some ticks as well.
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Soon after leaving the Fox Farm campsite we descended to the Sucker River which we crossed on a beautiful new footbridge. Soon after we made it to Fox Farm Road which we followed back to the car. A great hike on a beautiful spring day!

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