After we got Boscoe out of Hell Ditch and back into the truck, we did what any self-respecting and traumatized hikers would do: We drove down Lake County Road 7 to the Trestle Inn, ordered a couple of Molsons, and had lunch.
The Trestle Inn is a homey, back-woodsy place on a dirt road outside of Finland. It has great Trestle Burgers, Canadian beer on tap, and a steady and devoted clientele who are mostly clad in camouflage and ballcaps (and, in the winter, snowmobile helmets).
After that, we went back to the cabin, took a nap, and started the vacation afresh the next day.
Other highlights from the week, as recorded in our journal:
A much better hike. We went back to George Crosby Manitou and took the Yellow Birch Trail--flatter and less rocky. Boscoe did fine. It was a beautiful day for hiking--diffused sunlight, a slight breeze, maybe 55 degrees.
The boys like their new purple collapsible water dish.
Doug has a tick embedded in his thigh. Ouch. Off to Zup's in Silver Bay, for tweezers.
It's a beautiful morning, warmer than what we've had--clear skies, brilliant blue lake, gentle breeze. The tops of the tall thin birch trees outside the cabin are just beginning to glow with an early spring green.
Not much wildlife around this cabin. Just that odd rabbit we saw the first night, which might not have been a rabbit (it was very dark out, so it was hard to tell--it looked bigger than a rabbit, but it ran like one), and usually a deer or two along the road. But no squirrels or chipmunks, and not even many birds, outside of the brilliant white, screeching gulls that soar over the water. It's odd to have it so quiet. ...
A very good hike this afternoon, about six miles, the Britton Peak Trail off the Sawbill. Boscoe did great. Riley chased three deer but came back quickly each time. Two and a half hours, all told.
The sky over the lake is pale blue, lightening almost to white and then to pale pink at the horizon. The lake is calm and sparkling. Another beautiful day. We gave the dogs a break from hiking--well, we gave Boscoe a break. Riley probably wanted to hike.
Instead, we drove to Ely. A pretty drive, out of Silver Bay and along Lax Lake Road (where we saw deer, and the boys barked) over to Highway 1, and up through Finland and Isabella to Ely.
Only 50 miles, but the road is so twisty it took two hours.
Very similar to the Gunflint Trail in some areas--tall pines pressing close on either side of the road, and occasional glimpses of blue, blue inland lakes. But much windy-er and twisty-er.
Riley does not relax in the car--he stands the whole way and leans his head against Doug's arm, or on my shoulder or, if he can sneak halfway into the front seat, my chest, and needs to be petted. For two hours. ...
After lunch in Ely, we stopped at a tall piney forest outside of Babbitt and walked the boys for a half hour. A sign there said that the area had been devastated by forest fire years ago and was replanted by locals in 1916. The thousands of seedlings were transported seven miles by horse and wagon, and then another eleven miles by canoe.
After the hike, we got back on Highway 1 and came home--Riley standing the whole time.
A couple of deer on the trail, at the start. We've seen more deer on the trail this year than ever, and they all look thin and patchy. Maybe the cold, late spring makes it hard for them to find food. Things are still not yet greened up deep in the forest, and it's almost June.
Time for tea.
Big ol' 1000-footer gliding past, heading out. A fishing boat was perched off Palisade Head earlier this morning, probably pulling in herring. Overcast and blustery today.
Another terrific hike. We drove out Cook County 7 to the trailhead that goes toward Bally Creek Road. Just as we got there, an old beater car careened into the parking area and a woman got out. She was wearing sunglasses and jeweled flip-flops and had a fussy little purse and two tiny miniature pinschers on a double leash.
Clearly, she was not there to hike.
The dogs had rhinestone collars, and a few minutes later one of them apparently got free and came out of the brush and sniffed hello to Riley and Boscoe. They took one look at the rhinestones, and they were not impressed.