Daily Miles: 16
Total Miles: 48
We decided to get an early start today, since we would be going into town to resupply and we weren’t sure how long it would take. We set our alarms for 5:30am and were on the trail by 6:30am.
It was pretty clear out this morning and it felt warmer than it did yesterday. We had a few miles before the trail crossed over Highway 61 and then we had a 1.5 mile lake walk. It was really pretty and nice to be down at the water. We’ve had views of the lake each day, but it was cool to be down at the water.
The shoreline was mostly small flat stones. They seemed like perfect rocks for skipping, so we tossed rocks for a bit before continuing. The walking was slow as our feet would sink into the rocks. While we liked being down at the water, the walking became arduous and we were glad when we crossed back over the highway and headed back into the woods.
We saw a couple who are hiking a section of the trail. We passed them this morning as they were packing up camp and then leapfrogged with them during the day. We had lunch with them and are even camped at the same campsite tonight. They are hiking with their two dogs who are very friendly. After seeing no other backpackers yesterday, it was nice to chat with them.
We crossed over several bridges which were quite new and really nice. Some of them went over these cool small canyons. It often means some steep stairs down to the bridge and back up after the bridge, but it was definitely worth it.
SweetPea’s knee was still bothering her today. At a break in the morning, she started to use her green massage ball around her knee. She also changed knee braces and tried using Beardoh’s for the rest of the day. While her knee is still not great, it definitely improved by the afternoon. It gave her some hope that she would be able to manage the pain instead of needing to take a break from the trail.
We got to our access point for Grand Marais, our first resupply point, around 2pm. This probably isn’t the most common point for accessing GM, but for some reason this was the spot we chose. Once we popped out on the dirt road, we had just under a mile to walk before we got to Highway 61 where we could hitch. We had great luck and were picked up after just 5 minutes of waiting.
A local guy, Tim, was coming from GM, but offered to drive us in even though that wasn’t the direction he was headed in. It was really nice of him to go out of his way for us. He dropped us off at the outfitter where we had left a box a few days ago.
The grocery store was just a block and a half away (Qball and JJ are buying their food along the trail) and then we had an early dinner at an Indian food truck across the street from the grocery store. The food was really good and we were able to sort our food for the next section on their picnic tables.
It sprinkled a bit while we were eating, but luckily it didn’t last long. We walked about 150 feet and then tried to hitch back out to the trail. After less than ten minutes, we got an offer for two people, so SweetPea and Beardoh took the ride with a very nice local named Ann. Once we were back to the trail, we just had time to take off our rain jackets before Qball and JJ rolled in with their own hitch. They got a ride from a local woman, True, who is planning to thru-hike the Superior Hiking Trail this October.
We couldn’t believe our hitching luck…and just what a great and efficient town stop it was. We had quick hitches, a compact walkable town, a great dinner…all done in just 1.5 hours. Even less time than our optimistic predictions.
Once back at the trail, we only had two more miles to our campsite for the night. There seemed to be more steep ups and downs than normal, and that looked to be confirmed when we checked out the elevation profile. It definitely felt like we were slower with full bellies.
We made it to the West Devil Track River Campsite around 5:30pm. This campsite is listed as large, which seems a bit generous. There were two parties here when we arrived, but we were able to all get good hangs in the space that was left. We managed to get our hammocks and tarps set up before it started to rain. We knew there was a good chance of rain this evening, and we are just grateful that it held off until we were ready for it.