Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Voyageurs National Park: Kab Ash Trail Salmi Road to Ash River Trail

This was a section of the Kab Ash Trail that lived up to its billing as "the place where hikers go to get lost." I made the short drive down to Salmi Road and promptly hit the trail
entering a maze of old logging roads. Surprisingly, there were a few asters still in bloom.
Overall, its starting to look like the start of our long, northern Minnesota winter.

Though there were lots of roads leading in every which direction, I discovered that if I looked hard enough I would find a blue Kab Ash Trail marker to point the way.
trail marker
Soon I headed into some of the thickest, darkest forest I'd been into in a long time. It reminded me of some of the forests I would see up in the mountains of North Carolina. Then, I left the deep mossy forest and entered into a bright, grassy beaver meadow.
beaver meadow
From there the trail led into a cedar glade.
hiking through cedars
I crossed the Arrowhead Trail,
arrowhead trail
a snowmobile trail and then into a recently logged area.

Finding the trail through the logged area was simply a guessing game on my part, but soon I found a gate across an old road. The gate was marked with National Park Service boundary signs. I would finally cross into the park and immediately found a rusty stove
old stove
and some debris alongside the trail. Perhaps, this was what was left of an old logging camp or hunting camp. I headed back into some cedars
between cedars
and then the trail got really swampy. Just like during yesterday's hike at Franz Jevne State Park, lots of colorful fungi decorated the forest floor.
colorful fungi
mushroom on log

Soon I came to the most interesting part of the hike. It was a large, active beaver pond.
beaver pond 1
There were chomped down trees everywhere near the trail
beaver chewed tree
massive chewed down tree
and one of the most massive beaver lodges I've ever seen.
beaver dam and lodge
A lot of the fallen trees had fresh piles of wood chips alongside, but I never did see any of the resident beavers. As I headed further east the trail soon reached a long section of boardwalk.
boardwalk again
A lot of time and effort went into this trail, yet the trail was in terrible shape. It was very overgrown.

After splashing through more wet areas, I found myself at a stream, Daley Brook.
daley Brook 2
The trail followed along the banks of Daley Brook, crossed it on a snowmobile bridge and then followed the banks again on the other side.
Daley Brook from bridge
I knew I was nearing the park boundary when I saw a sign that said "No hunting or trapping". Sure enough, I soon found myself outside the park
park boundary
and followed a trail to the parking lot on Ash River Trail. I did not have a fun experience on this section of the Kab Ash Trail and decided that I did not want to walk it back to the car. Instead I walked a portion of the Ash River Trail past some golden tamaracks,
and then turned right onto the Arrowhead Trail
trail view
(which wasn't nearly as swampy as the Kab Ash Trail) to make my way back to the car.

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