Monday, June 6, 2016

Voyageurs National Park: Kab Ash East Loop and Park Highpoint

I took advantage of my day off today by heading out for a solo hike to the highest point in Voyageurs National Park. I hit the road at about 10 am and arrived at the trailhead for the Beaver Pond Overlook and Kab Ash Trail a little bit before 11 am. It was relatively cool and windy this morning, but the trees of the boreal forest blocked most of the wind and allowed me to hike in short sleeves.
hiking in woods
As an added bonus there were virtually no bugs!

The section of the Kab Ash Trail that I hiked today is seldom hiked. In fact, judging by the copious amount of scat lining the trail, I would say it is used by wolves more often than people. There is not always a dirt treadway.
the path
Instead, the trail is often marked by flagging
flagging
and cairns,
cairn 2
and less often by trail markers nailed into the trees.
trail sign
The trail followed close to the park boundary
boundary marker
and passed by a survey benchmark,
benchmark
then climbed the wet slippery rock through scattered blueberry bushes
unripe blueberries
to the vicinity of a communications tower.
tower
As I approached the tower, I knew to leave the official trail and bushwhack to the tower site where the highest point in Voyageurs National Park is located. I wandered around a bit and eventually found a cairn
summit cairn
with the summit register located inside.
highpoint paper
I signed the register and posed for a photo
on VOYA highpoint
before heading back to the trail to complete the loop.

The second half of the hike was filled with wildflowers. There were lots of bunchberry,
bunchberry
bunch of bunchberry
starflowers,
starflower
Canada mayflower,
Canada mayflower
and pink lady's slippers which are also known as moccasin flower.
lady slipper 3
(I couldn't help but photograph each one I saw.)
twinsies
another lady slipper (2)
I also saw lots of blue bead lily or Clintonia, but only found one with flowers in bloom.
lily flowers
blue bead lily
Besides flowers, the wintergreen had berries on it.
winterberry
Soon enough I found a signpost marking the end of my loop. It had the Hike to Health rubbing plate on it.
rubber
It was a short walk from that point back to my car.

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