Sunday, May 13, 2018

Superior National Forest: Big Moose Trail

With another day of beautiful spring weather forecast for today, I awoke early and hit the road, headed for the Echo Trail and Big Moose Trail in Superior National Forest. I've really grown to love the Echo Trail. There are lots of interesting lakes that I hope to paddle this summer and quite a few hiking trails as well.

After a stop for gas and a coffee, I had made it to the trailhead just as another vehicle pulled in. I would not have the trail all to myself on this day, but it turned out to be okay. The folks I was sharing with were nice people who even offered some tips about where to take a break at the end of the trail.

The hiking turned out to be very easy. The were not many blowdowns to navigate around and though there were a few wet spots, the trail was mostly dry. The first wildflowers of spring were blooming: trailing arbutus,
trailing arbutus 2
bellwort
bellwort emerging
and violets.
violet
I didn't see much in the way of wildlife and what I did see was mostly unwelcome: ticks!
tick 2
I passed a beaver meadow
beaver meadow
and then entered into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
entering wilderness
Shortly thereafter I found myself at Big Moose Lake.
Big Moose Lake
It is a beautiful spot at the end of the trail, but there is an even better spot at a campsite that you can follow an unofficial trail to reach. I ate a snack there and admired the view.
rocky shoreline
I even spied a pair of red crossbills flying around and landing on the campsite's fire grate.
Red Crossbill

After about 20 minutes I was read for the return hike.
on the trail
I passed by several glacial erratics off to the side of the trail.
gnarled tree and boulder
erratic
I was back to my car in a no time at all, so on the way back to International Falls I did a little bit of exploring. I checked out Meander Lake (Looks like a great place to camp and paddle the canoe!) and the Little Indian Sioux River
Little Indian Sioux River
before heading to Astrid Lake to hike the section of trail I had missed on my hike there 2 weeks ago.

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