Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Superior National Forest: Herriman Lake Trail

Herriman Lake Loop

I just needed to get out of the house. Even though the forecast called for rain, I decided to get out and go for a hike. My destination was the Herriman Lake Trail System in the Superior National Forest near Crane Lake. I saw three bald eagles on the drive to the trailhead and arrived ready to hike in the rain.

The trail was pretty swampy, like I had expected.
wet trail
On the first short section of trail I found a deer skull in the leaves off to the side of the path.
deer skull
I crossed the Echo River on a footbridge
bridge over Echo River
and continued on a section of trail I had hiked last June. For a while, my path ran parallel to the Echo River.
Echo River
There were lots of ferns unfurling their fronds
emergent ferns
and a few scattered piles of wolf scat, unmistakable with large chunks of bone embedded in fur.
wolf scat
I soon came to a turn off for the Herriman Lake Loop
downed trail sign
where, last time I had hiked on the Echo River Loop.

The trail ascended a ridge and then quickly descended to a beaver dam and pond.
beaver dam
On the other side of the dam the trail ascended another ridge
trail sign
and followed that ridge for a pretty long distance. Along the way were lots of blooming wildflowers.
samll flower
wet flower
bellwort
The trail entered the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
wilderness
and soon there were scattered views through the trees down to Herriman Lake. The map I printed off the Forest Service website showed a view point, but I never did catch a clear view of the lake.

I then descended off the ridge above Herriman Lake and down into the swampy lowlands,
sloshing along
filled with marsh marigold.
marsh marigold
On the exposed rock ledges the trail was marked with cairns.
cairn
I spied a float plane overhead
float plane overhead
and then made my way down to Knute Lake.
Knute Lake
There is a nice secluded campsite on Knute Lake and I relaxed there and ate a snack. The view was beautiful and there was plenty of leatherleaf
leatherleaf
and blueberry
blueberry flowers
in bloom along the water's edge. Eventually, I parted ways with the serene scene at Knute Lake and made my way past a few more beaver ponds
small stream from above
to the trailhead and my car.

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