The following is a true story, only the names have been changed, to protect the guilty.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Duluth Fat-Bike Tour

This past weekend Vandy and I headed north to Duluth for the second installment of the Duluth Fat-Bike Tour. We were joined by ArcFlash and the three of us started our adventure on Friday night with a camp-out.
View from my tent  Saturday morning........not bad

Time for some eats

Rolling en masse 

some ride the steep stuff......some walk  

  Saturday morning we grabbed a quick breakfast before meeting the COGGS group at Lester Park a little before 9 am. It was good sized group of about 15, lead by master fat bike rider and route visionary, Rudy O'Brien. In charge of following behind and sweeping the route was ultra distance fat-bike extraordinaire, Eric P.
Break #1

Excellent view of D Town

Yours truly......thanks to EP for snapping this 

EP in a really cool section of ?
  I've spent a fair amount of time in Duluth over the years but I was shocked at the amount of wild places the ride showed us. I knew most of the main trails we rode, but the places in between left me clueless as to my whereabouts. It was nice to just follow the person in front of me and see where the route leader would take us. Along the way we did parts of Lester, Hartley, Piedmont, Brewer and Spirit Mtn all linked together with deer trails, roads, power-line easements and an old railroad grade.....this ride had everything !

Rudy said there would be hike-a-bike, there was in fact hike-a-bike

flood damage 

you lookin' at me ? Punk 

No trains here 
  I'm not sure if it was COGGS, Rudy, or others who supplied sandwiches, drinks, cookies, jerky, and candy at three predetermined stops... Thank You.  The ride ended at Mount Du Lac somewhere in the neighborhood of 37-40 miles over an eight hour period. The ride manifest stated it would be around 50, not a single exhausted soul complained about the discrepancy but was grateful  instead.
My favorite........underground 

there will be mud 

Power lines........too exhausted by the time I got done climbing to take any pics that could represent the severity of the steepness........You'll have to trust me , the power-lines were tough

I'm hoping to ride a third chapter of this outing, and would encourage anyone looking for a challenge to attend.     It was nice to meet all of you, thanks for not giving us twin cities guys too much grief, and if I didn't include you in a photo here I'm sorry.   Thanks COGGS .......D Rider out        

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Isle Royale 2014

 A few weeks ago Super Y and I did a father/son trip to Isle Royale National Park. This trip was similar to the one G Man and I did two years ago but took place on the opposite side of the island. This time we started our short backpack trip from the northeast end at Rock Harbor. Unlike the south end, the north is quite a bit more "settled" with a lodge, store, and restaurant, which we took full advantage of before we headed out on our second day of the trip.
The Sleeping Giant ...Canada

Marsh Marigold is really pretty this time of year

One of the buildings in Rock Harbor was labeled "guest house, public welcome" so we went in and built a fire
3 sided shelters on the island are awesome 

U R Here
  The boat ride from Grand Portage to Rock Harbor takes so long we planned to stay the night there and spend the remainder of our day having a look around. We had a good time exploring around all the buildings, the visitor center, and did short loop hike in search of a moose or wolf. For dinner we ate at one of the two restaurants both under the same roof but divided by a wall with an open entryway. To the left was burger and fries, on the right was fish and steak. We chose the burger and fries side, and enjoyed or last non-dehydrated meal for the next few days. The first night was damn cold somewhere in the high 30's F. I was glad to have my down jacket that I was thinking would just be dead weight while I prepared the for the trip days earlier. I was also glad Super Y's sleeping bag kept him warm enough that I didn't have to give up the jacket in the middle of the night so he could stay warm. My bag was only rated to about 50deg F and I slept with every piece of clothing I had, minus a rain jacket and 1 extra pair of socks and underwear and was still cold.
side trip to Suzi's cave

Fishin' on the big lake at Daisy Farm

strange bugle shaped moss stuff

The sun finally came out before it went down 

 Day 2 was cold and the skies threatened us with rain all day. Somehow we manged to miss all but a few drops about mid day. After talking with others later in the day about how they were drenched with large downpours,  it seams we lucked out. My original plan was to do short hikes between camps, making it easier on my young lad. From Rock Harbor the plan was to camp at Three Mile located right next to Lake Superior the second night. As the name suggests it's only 3 miles from Rock Harbor but when we got there it didn't have a lot to offer other than a shelter and a nice view of the lake along with a stiff wind. Y was really amped to do some fishing on an inland lake but no trail would get us close enough for him to access a lake on this day. He decided  he wanted to keep going to our day three endpoint another 4+ miles down the trail at Daisy Farm so he would have the time to go fishing the next day. I was impressed, two years ago when I went with G Man at age 9, three to four miles was the most he would do for the whole day with a lot of urging on my part. Super Y on the other hand (almost 9) knocked out almost 8 miles like it was nothing, and had the drive to do an additional 2 after dinner the same day.

Lunch on the Green Stone Ridge with a view of The Sleeping Giant 

This area looked so perfect for a moose.....we didn't see any the whole trip

Carnivorous plants  

It was warm out side but the lake was absolutely freezing 
   Day three made all the cold and rain from the previous days a distant memory. It was  picture perfect with a light wind, tons of sun, temps in the high 70's and low humidity. That day we headed north to the Green Stone Ridge and some inland lakes armed with lunch and fishing poles. Unfortunately the fishing did not work out. The lakes we had in mind were either too shallow for fish or surrounded by swamps making access very difficult unless you're a moose. We still had a good time tromping around the woods following moose trails, relaxing on the Green Stone Ridge with a bowl of macaroni and cheese and taking in an amazing view from a fire tower.
Back handspring 

Was running super low on fuel....used candle and pop can to heat up worked 

Home Sweet  Home
  Day 4 was time to head back to Grand Portage. The boat picked us up at about 8:30 am leaving us no time to enjoy what was going to be another perfect day on the island. The boat ride back was nice and smooth and could be enjoyed from the open deck at the stern and bow. We spent the next 5 hours relaxing and talking with others about their experiences on the island before getting in the van and driving home. I have one more father/son trip like this planned for Big D next year when he turns 9 .....looking forward to it.