Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Voyageurs National Park: Hiking the Echo Bay Trail

This hike ended up being more interesting than I had anticipated. It wasn't the wildlife or scenery that made it interesting, but something else altogether. After a windy and drizzly start to the day, I decided that I had to get out of the house. With a late start I didn't have a lot of time for a hike and so I opted to head over to the Echo Bay Trail because it is not too long and not too far away.

The hike began on the wide grassy trail which is groomed for skiing once the snow accumulates.
start of Echo Bay Tr
It was a bit wet like I had expected, but not too bad. Soon I found a side trail that led to an overlook of a beaver pond and heron rookery.
overlook sign
The heron nests were high up in the trees and pretty far away, so one doesn't get the best view of the rookery from the overlook. After a short time admiring the view
view from overlook
I returned to the trail intersection and got the Hike to Health rubbing which was, appropriately, a great blue heron.
hike to health rubbing

My trail today was a figure-8 section of trail. I continued through the forest of firs and bare aspens
hiking Eric
to a section of trail that is open only to skiers. I took the hiker portion
directional sign
and soon enough found myself at the junction with the middle part of the figure-8. Now I had a decision to make. Should I walk the short section of trail that I had previously skipped, or simply finish my hike by continuing on the the parking lot? I opted to explore the middle section of trail and I'm glad I did. It turned out to be the most interesting part of the hike.

The trail quickly got swampy and it was obvious why. A beaver was in the process of building a new dam and inundating a new section of forest with water. There were beaver-felled trees everywhere.
beaver chew
I soon came to a view of the beaver pond and could again see the heron rookery in the distance.
beaver pond
There was a pretty substantial beaver lodge as well.
beaver lodge
As I continued along the trail something caught my attention just off to the side of path. It was a car and it was in pretty rough shape with all the windows blasted out of it and bullets holes decorating the doors.
old car
I continued on and saw an unusual object on the trail ahead. It was an old Hoover vacuum cleaner.
While the trail made a sharp right turn at the vacuum, it looked like an old, overgrown road continued straight ahead. It led to a huge dump site filled with, among other things, lots of beer cans.
beer cans
Falstaff can

After checking out the dump site I returned to the trail and soon found myself at the first junction. I retraced my steps back to the last junction and walked a section of trail that crossed over a substantial bridge.
Soon enough I was back at the parking area where I had started.


luksky said...

The "dump site" looked like a flashback into the '70's. Wonder what the story was on all of that..

Eric and Noelle Grunwald said...

Yeah, I'm curious about the story behind this stuff too. Voyageurs didn't become a national park until 1975, so I'm sure the "junk" predates the establishment of the park.