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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

More about St Croix

I started writing about this adventure awhile back but got really busy and didn't get a chance to finish it, so hopefully I will now!

We spent sometime getting the camera working again before heading off to Maple Island which was actually mostly underwater. I'm not really sure if there was much to see there but there was the bridge and lots of water!

We then drove back out to Big Eddy which was going to be the starting point of our big adventure for the day! It is a funny name for a scenic destination - there wasn't anyone there named Eddy, but I'm guessing it was named after a water feature which was an Eddy. With all the snow melt and rushing water it is hard to be certain but there was a lot of foam.

There was also a sign stating that the trail crossing was closed, which would have been pretty obvious to anyone walking by! The map actually says that the crossing is only open for a few months each year!

We had a good time hiking along the Kettle River. It took us a few tries to get on the right trail. I must say that the trails were easy to find but the maps were horrible so you didn't really ever know which trail you were on for sure or if it was just a deer trail or something!

Since we were hiking on the bluff we figured the trails would be pretty dry, not the case at all! The trails were pretty much flooded with several inches of standing water in places. We were able to circumvent the first few fairly easily but at some point we realized we just had to keep forging forward because it couldn't get too much worse and we'd have to backtrack around all the other "puddles".

If you look closely at a couple of the pictures you can see what we had to go through! The one shows a bridge out in a swampy area. We had to scamper across some fallen trees to make it across that one! Another place we had to leap a creek that was swollen out of its banks. We each got our feet a little wet, but nothing too bad. The bottom-left picture is our stop for lunch. Like I mentioned the map wasn't very good and so we somehow ended up guessing which way to go at some of the trail junctions. We ended up finishing the loop on a horse trail - which was very dry. Gaining the dryness though meant we didn't have as much scenery. I'd take scenery over dryness anytime! Well, at least for a day hike!

We finally made it back to our car and knocked off a few more of the "scenic attractions" along the way back to the campground. The only one worth noting was the Firetower. It was pretty windy and cold at the top but worth the climb. It was kinda dull up there since the trees were missing their outer layers (leaves) but it meant you could actually see the ground. It was a quick detour and my quads hurt a little bit after the climb down!

We finally made it back to the campsite, quite happy with our decision to just car-camp instead of backpacking in. Our detours would have been quite difficult with our packs on! We bought some firewood - thanks to the Emerald Ash Bore you can't bring firewood from anywhere outside the local vicinity. We made a fire, walked around the campgrounds and enjoyed our evening together!

We made it through another chilly night and took a couple of short hikes along the St Croix River to top off the weekend. We had a lot of fun!

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