Superior Hiking Trail – Day 3
Monday September 25, 2017
Starting Point: Fund du Lac Campground
Ending Point: Spirit Mountain Campground
Trail Miles Hiked: 9.3
The rain has stopped by the time I get up this morning. I pack up my gear and head out for the trail. Checking my phone for the weather, it appears I have about an hour and a half before the rain will start. As I started walking the road back to the Fond du Lac trailhead it began to sprinkle on me and eventually turns into a full-out rain – so much for an hour and a half of dry weather. As I approach the trailhead I began the “steep and dangerous” hike back up the unofficial trail. When I reach the main trail I make a right and continue north on the Superior Hiking Trail. The trail travels through the woods and across the 50 foot long Sargent Creek bridge.
Once I get to Becks Road trailhead the trail joins the Willard Munger Trail again for about 1/2 mile on pavement. Before the trail enters a large cut in the rocks, the Superior Hiking Trails climbs the left up towards Ely’s Peak. The trail to Ely’s Peak is a combination of scrambling and hiking and there are several nice look out points on the way to the top. Once on the top I stop, eat a snack, take my shoes off to ease my blisters, and take a few minutes to rest. The views from the top are fantastic despite the overcast skies. I can see well into Superior Wisconsin.
From the peak the trail obviously descends through the woods eventually I come out on the Skyline Parkway. At this point the Skyline Parkway is a gravel road and crosses a very old rock bridge over Stewart creek. The bridge has a spring beside it and a nice pool the capture the water from the spring. The trail continued shortly along the Skyline Parkway and eventually dropped off to the right and back into the woods. Soon after the trail comes alongside an old foundation on Stewart Creek.
The trail continues into the Spirit Mountain recreation area and I soon come across a spur to the campground. I go ahead and pass this spur up with the intent of hiking around the loop and catching the spur to the ski chalet on the north side of the park. The day is wet and rainy and the rocks and boardwalks are slick and in several instances I find myself on my butt, unhurt but frustrated. As I continue around the loop of Spirit Mountain I can see the ski lifts off to the left and eventually the trail opens up onto the Grand Avenue Chalet at the bottom of the ski run. It’s closed on this Monday so I continue across the ski run and look for the trail markers on the other side.
The trail crosses the access road and continues up along Knowlton Creek for about another mile. Soon I come to the Knowlton Creek bridge which is the end of my trip for the day. I take the spur trail to the ski chalet and walk a bicycle trail to the campground. I walk into the middle of the campground and spend some time looking for the office eventually finding it near the entrance. I grab a Pepsi and some sour kids snacks, check in with the campground office, and hike back down to my campsite.
The walk in campsites are all well spaced and provide plenty of privacy from other campsites – Although not necessary as I am the only camper here tonight. There is a restroom with showers and fresh water in the campground. I set up camp, make my dinner, head to the shower house for a quick shower before hitting the bed tonight.
My feet are sore, I’m totally exhausted, but I’m loving every minute of it out here!