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Anything outdoors!  Tornadoes, eagles, blizzards, or auroras.  If it is in the sky, running through the woods or swimming in the water, I'm there!


Saturday, November 15, 2014

2014 Superior National Forest / BWCAW Trip - Eagle Mountain

After several years of wet, cold, and muddy weather, 2014 rewarded us with dry, cold, and not so muddy weather. After the usual scheduling conflict with our saddle club events, we settled on October 9th through October 12th for our annual off the grid trip. The major focus would be the 7 mile round trip hike to the highest point in Minnesota, Eagle Mountain. After being the the Rockies in August, it is hard to compare anything in Minnesota but it was on the "to do" list for 2014.

On the way up we stopped by Gooseberry Falls. This place is a lot more fun without a gazillion goofy tourists running around like in the summer.

Home for a few days. One advantage to going really late in the season is you can stay at one of the national forest campgrounds on the edge of the BWCAW and no one else will be there. No crazy portaging. Drive right up to your campsite.

The lake access right behind our campsite.

A few shots from Thursday evening at camp. We have stayed on this same lake for years and it looks different for every sunset.

The only rain we saw in 4 days. Friday the forecast was for partly cloudy to mostly sunny skies but as usual the arrowhead area does what it wants. For the record I am a little rusty at grouse hunting!

Heading into the BWCAW and Eagle Mountain. The walk from the trail head to the BWCAW is pretty easy...just uneven footing. Make sure you have a good pair of hiking shoes or boots! Hiking sandals would be ok too in warm weather.

Bridge over a creek on the Eagle Mountain trail.

And a creek. We could hear a moose off to our right in there but couldn't see it.

There it is! Actually there were 2 young bulls traveling together. I wish I had better pics but I was so excited for Melinda to see a wild moose I didn't even think of it and when the second one came out, I realized I had the 11-16 superwide lens on. Oh well. At least we got a shot of some sorts. The moose is maybe 50 feet away.

Anyhow, back to the trail on our way to Eagle Mountain.

Out of the forest at Whale Lake. Eagle Mountain is in the background over my right shoulder.

Snack break on the northwest corner of Whale Lake before we begin the ascent up the "mountain". After being in Glacier NP in August, we thought the climb would be easy. The vertical gain isn't bad...but the footing is. Honestly, the footing on the Highline trail is better with the mountain goats.

Made it to the top...kind of. The actual "summit" is quite mundane. Not a whole lots of views from the highest point, but a long the way man oh man is it spectacular.

The actual summit of Eagle Mountain and the highest point in Minnesota at 2,301 feet. The fun thing is the lowest point, Lake Superior (, is only about 13 miles away to the south.

Sorry about the shadow. Not like I could turn the plaque around.

The official marker.

More scenic views from the top looking southeast to northwest.

Pic of a little stream on our way back down. Oh, by the way, that stream IS the trail. See previous comments about the bad footing. All in all the 7 mile round trip is extremely enjoyable and I will make this hike again.

A couple of eagles on our way out.

Cooking breakfast Saturday morning. It was in the mid 20's and we watched our main water jug freeze up while we were eating.

Ice on the lake by our camp.

We spent the early part of the day snaking our way over to the Lake Superior shore and Judge CR Magney State Park.

Took a short hike up the Brule River to the upper falls and of course the Devil's Kettle.

Saturday afternoon left some time to explore via kayak in the lakes along 4 mile grade. What a perfect afternoon.

A couple of eagles near the access on Toohey Lake.

Twilight on our final night.

The milky way along with the bow of the kayak.

What would a trip to the north woods be without a star trail image?

On our way out on Sunday. Baptism River / Blesner Creek north of Finland.

Our final stop on the way out was in Tofte to visit with some family. While the fall colors inland were well past peak, along the shore of Lake Superior there were still some vibrant pockets.

The road home...until our next adventure.

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