Saturday, May 21, 2016

Superior National Forest: Vermilion Gorge Trail

Today Noelle, Sierra and I made the drive down south to Crane Lake to hike the Vermilion Gorge. We stopped at Subway in International Falls to grab a sandwich for a picnic lunch, which we ate along the shores of Pelican Lake in Orr.
Pelican Lake
picnic at Pelican Lake
Then we headed through the wilds of Northern Minnesota through the small town of Buyck (Bike)
and over to Crane Lake.

The trailhead for this hike is very confusing. The hike starts among the houseboats of the Voyageaire houseboat rental company. At the back of the houseboat storage lot is a snowmobile trail that we followed for a bit. However, the swampy snowmobile trail is not the Vermilion Gorge Trail. There is a sign marked "hiking trail" in the lot, but it was blocked by a houseboat and so we did not see it. I'm sure the workers there knew we were headed to the Vermilion River Gorge, but they did not help orient us in the correct direction when they saw us start our hike.

Once we made it to the actual trail,
Vermillion Gorge Trailhead
the hiking was pleasant.
Noelle on Trail
There were some wildflowers in bloom, including wood anemone
wood anemone
and marsh marigold.
marsh marigold
We crossed a few small bridges
Noelle on bridge
over swampy areas and then started to make our way into the spruce and firs. We found a clump of feathers that we are guessing came from a grouse.
Soon views opened up into a bay of Crane Lake.
Crane Lake view
There were lots of fishermen on their boats in the bay.
fishing down below
We climbed a rough, rocky section of the trail and could soon look down into our destination: the Vermilion River Gorge.
on the trail above gorge

The gorge was impressive. It seemed a bit out of place in Northern Minnesota. We held onto Sierra's hand tightly and got the best views that we could
looking upstream 2 
Vermilion Gorge
before turning around
girls on trail
hiking down 2
to make our way past the mouth of the Vermilion River
mouth of Vermilion River
and back to the trailhead.

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