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Superior Trail Day 3 – Favorite Campsite | Average Hiker

Superior Trail beach walk.

September 29, 2022
13.6 Miles

Last night, I learned the weather was volatile on this trail. My weather App. had indicated clear weather, so I was startled awake in the middle of the night by a downpour. I pulled out my phone, and it showed clear skies. Lake Superior makes her weather much like the mountains.

It was cold again this morning, so I bundled up in all my clothes and puffy before starting my hike to the lake shore. Today would include a three-mile hike along Lake Superior beach, and I was looking forward to the morning beach walk.

Walking out onto the rocky beach was like stepping into another world. I stopped to look in both directions, and there was not a person in sight. In the distance, I could see a small house on a rocky promontory, but no people were walking on the shore, and not a single boat was on the water. As I looked out over the powerful body of water with no land in sight, I was reminded of the ocean – fierce, brutal power. Many people find the ocean calming, but I never have. My visceral reaction has always been to something brutal, unforgiving, and crushing.

The next three miles wore my calves out! The beach was covered in a thick blanket of smooth round pebbles and sand, and my legs burned as I sunk in with every step over the next three miles. The signals from my burning muscles quickly overshadowed the beauty of the landscape before me as I pushed towards the turn-off that would take me back into the Sawtooth range. This was going to be my first strenuous hiking day.

On my ride up to Grand Marais, my guides had proudly pointed out the Sawtooth Range, their very own Minnesota mountain range. This range is actually formed by lava flows that have eroded over time and, in some cases, angle down up to 20 degrees towards Lake Superior, forming jagged saw tooths. These eroded flows form the dramatic landscape that makes up the North Shore of Lake Superior with its cliff, crags, and tributaries. While not offering the dramatic scenery of the Rockies, the Sawtooths offer their own beautiful scenery.

Campsite on Woods Creek
Highest elevation on the Superior Trail

After climbing up along the Kadunce River, the hiking got noticeably harder between the river and Durfee Creek, with numerous steep ups and downs. The Sawtooths were taking their toll, and I could see the slide marks of other hikers. This would not be fun in the rain or just after a storm.

This type of hiking continued for about a half mile after Durfee Creek, but it was not long before I turned south and hiked down to where I would camp for the night at Woods Creek. This would be one of my favorite campsites on this trip. It was a large site, but my private campsite was tucked into the trees at the far back of the creek.

The site was along the creek, perfectly flat, and had a big log to sit on while I had dinner. Even though Woods Creek was a large campsite with room for many tents, I felt as if I had my own private space. The only negative was that Lindskog Road was close, and I generally try to stay a couple of miles from road crossings. In this case, there was not a lot of traffic on the dirt road, and it was a weekday, so I decided to stay.

There was one other oddity, and I ran into it at several locations on the Superior Trail. The toilet seat was within sight of the trail. This was the case with several of the toilets I used, so I would try to use them after dark. I’m not sure why they were located so close to the campsites, and in one instance, I think the seat may have been within site itself, which was a shocker for this modest southerner.

I arrived at camp early, so I could relax and hang out by the creek. My mileage was ahead of schedule for Cascade Lodge, where I had made a reservation, so I needed to slow down. That is the only disadvantage of making reservations ahead of time, but it was peak season, and if I wanted a room, I needed a reservation about a month in advance.

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