Friday, July 27, 2018

Day 11: The Silver Bay Resupply

June 10: Blueberry and I woke up early and were on the trail and hiking by 6:00. Part of the reason was because the campsite was buggy, drab and depressing, but the other reason was so we'd have plenty of time to hike to the highway leading into Silver Bay, hitch a ride into a town, resupply, and get back on the trail again. We had a full day of hiking scheduled--and a resupply in Silver Bay! It was crazy! But that was the goal, and the earlier we started, the more likely we'd achieve it.

The sun rises over Lake Superior (see the blue "line" near the horizon?) on this beautiful day!

Blueberry got ahead of me, and I caught up with him several miles later at a campsite where he exclaimed that he saw two otters in Beaver River and he was pretty excited about that. I'd seen otters before, and while I'd have loved to see one and get photos, I wasn't too heartbroken over the lack of otters in my life. I, however, got to see some absolutely adorable cute baby geese, but sadly I didn't manage to get my camera out and nab a picture in time before they went into hiding.

The last few miles to the highway into town were frustratingly rugged and slow-going, and I compared them to the White Mountains on the Appalachian Trail--so steep in places that you keep thinking that this couldn't possibly be the trail and surely you took a wrong turn somewhere, but no, that was, in fact, the trail.

Nor did it help that much of the ridgetop had no tall trees so there was no shade to help keep us cool in the bitterly hot sun. On the plus side, however, the views were fabulous! I could see Silver Bay laid out ahead, and I tried to pick out recognizable logos wondering where in town we would go for lunch and to resupply.

Blueberry pulled ahead of me, and I caught up with him laying in the grass next to Highway 5, a.k.a Penn Boulevard, relaxing.

He got up, and I took a photo of him next to a Superior Hiking Trail sign before telling him to turn on the "Blueberry Magic" and get a ride into town.

We stuck out our thumbs and, I kid you not, the very first car to come along pulled over and in about five seconds, we were piling into a vehicle on our way to Silver Bay. Awesome! I was joking about the Blueberry 'magic', but maybe it really existed?!

We were dropped off a few minutes later in a small shopping plaza with a grocery store and a couple of restaurants. We decided to grab lunch first and headed into Northwoods where I ordered a BBQ pulled pork sandwich with fries and Blueberry ordered one of the hamburgers with fries.

The waitress serving us was wonderful, allowing us to use a nearby outlet to charge our devices, log into their wi-fi connection and filled up our water bottles. She didn't even comment on our awful stench, although as she was seating us, I suggested it might be a good idea to sit us away from other diners. Not that it would bother us any, but they might not want to smell us while eating lunch!

Lunch was absolutely delicious. Our devices were still charging, though, and we figured it would be easier and faster to resupply without dragging our backpacks all around, so we took turns shopping. I went first while Blueberry hung out at the restaurant surfing the web on his phone. I probably spent about 15 minutes wandering around the grocery store getting everything I needed for the next segment of our hike--about five days worth of food. While browsing up and down the aisles, I saw a bag of marshmallows and grabbed that. Blueberry had joked earlier about needing marshmallows around one of our campfires, and I figured I'd surprise him this evening with the bag of marshmallows.

I then returned to the restaurant to watch our stuff while Blueberry took his turn grocery shopping. While he was out, I started repacking my newfound food supplies into Ziplock bags and getting everything back in my pack. I also made sure the marshmallows would stay out of view--I wanted to surprise him with it later. =)

Blueberry returned a bit later and with everything charged and packed up, it was time to get back on the trail.

He headed to the highway out of town and I told Blueberry to turn on that Blueberry Magic again--it worked out so well the first time around!

And holy cow! It worked! Again!!! The very first car pulled over and picked us up, and we were cramming ourselves into the vehicle in mere seconds. This vehicle was a bit of a tight fit, though, and we had to hold our large and heavy packs in our laps, but we weren't complaining. The ride to the trailhead was, at most, five minutes away.

All told, we were off the trail for about two hours. Maybe two-and-a-half. It was certainly one of the fastest turnarounds I had for a resupply run--especially considering it required a hitch both to and from town. Thank You Minnesota!!

We got dropped off back on the trail and continued the day's hike. Blueberry, who hikes faster than me, took the lead and I didn't see him again until the end of the day at the campsite we had agreed to stop at.

The next section of trail had steep areas, but the views were the best of the entire trail so far! It passed by on a ridge overlooking Bean and Bear Lakes that could take your breath away with occasional views back toward Silver Bay and Lake Superior. Absolutely stupendous!

I reached our designated campsite at the East Palisade Creek camp at about 4:30 in the afternoon--shockingly early considering that we covered a full 15 miles today and completed that resupply run into Silver Bay. When I woke up in the morning, I'd been hoping we could reach this distance before dark. I never imagined we'd have completed it by 4:30 in the afternoon!

Blueberry was already in camp when I arrived, and already had a campfire started. I swear his campfire-building skills are first class. He'll arrive in camp and have a campfire going within five minutes. I don't know how he does it.

This time, however, Blueberry was a bit melancholy when I arrived, explaining that he had lost his hat. He thought it was back at the previous campsite several miles back but certainly had no plans to go back and look for it. I gave him my sympathies.

"Well," I told him, "I've got something that will cheer you up."

I pulled out the bag of marshmallows from my pack.


"Oh!" he exclaimed. "Green Tortuga! That's awesome! I've got something for you too!"


He pulled out a bar of chocolate. "Chocolate! It'll go perfect with the marshmallows!"

Indeed. Too bad neither of us thought to get graham crackers so we could make some proper smores. =)

The lost hat was forgotten. For now, at least....

Blueberry found a couple of good sticks to roast the marshmallows with, and we spent the rest of the evening chatting away. I got the idea to set my camera down on a bench on the other side of the fire and record our conversation, and we recorded about 12 1/2 minutes worth of our conversation before my camera shut off. Even worse, we didn't realize it had shut off so kept on talking for an hour thinking it was being recorded, but vast majority of the conversation wasn't recorded at all. Oh, well....

But it is fun watching our non-scripted discussion and a few burnt marshmallows, so enjoy the first episode of the Campfire Chronicles.... (at the end of this post)

There are a lot of problems with bridges on this trail. For instance, it would be really helpful if there was a bridge so I could reach the bridge on the other side of the pond!
Or, take for instance, this bridge, which didn't feel particularly safe or sturdy....

These trekking poles were just hanging here. Were they meant to be borrowed by day hikers who forgot to bring their own and returned? Were they meant to be kept by anyone who wanted a cute little trekking pole? No idea! =)

Blueberry was excited to spot two otters in the Beaver River.
I didn't see the otters, but I did catch this deer and even got my camera out in time for this horrible photo!

The SHT overlaps this bike path only long enough to cross under this railroad. We were on the bike path for just a minute or two.

Passing by Pipe Line Road. I wonder how it got that name? Hmm... =)

Gorgeous, gorgeous views of Lake Superior! Is that a hint of Wisconsin I see on the other side?
Overlooking Silver Bay. Blueberry and I will be resupplying there!

That's the highway below that leads into Silver Bay--our resupply point.
Blueberry waits for my arrival at the trailhead....
It's time to hitch a ride into Silver Bay!
Now that's what I call a ride! It wasn't our ride--just a vehicle I noticed in the parking lot of the shopping plaza that looked particularly unusual.
Blueberry has the time of his life at Northwoods, where we stopped for lunch.
Lunch is ready!
Looking back towards Silver Bay.

The views along Bean Lake were some of the best of the entire trail!

The views on the ridge over Bear Lake were nothing to sneeze at either! (That smaller lake in the background is Bean Lake.)

Marshmallows! With chocolate inside! =)
Blueberry: The Master Fire Starter =)
Episode 1 of the Campfire Chronicles!

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