I went up a hill

A view of a mountain from the mountain on a section of the Superior Hiking Trail located north of Little Marias, Minnesota. I’d really like to get to that other mountain sometime. It looks interesting.

Or maybe a mountain. Hard to say but there was at least one point where the elevation above the surrounding terrain was just a little bit above 1,000 feet or 1,613 feet above sea level and so 1,010 feet above Lake Superior if Google Earth is to be believed. I don’t even know if this hill or mountain is named. I’m sure that somewhere it is on a map with a name. This mountain is on a part of the Superior Hiking Trail, a 310-mile long trail that stretches from the Minnesota-Wisconsin border southwest of Duluth to the US-Canada border in northern Minnesota. This trail section is known as Section 13.

I’d been planning this day hike for several weeks intending to get to that other mountain in the above photo. Google Earth showed a spur from the main trail going to it. So early one morning in July I parked my vehicle in the trailhead lot and began my ascent. I got as far as the top of the mountain that day but turned back since my plans were only to do a little reconnaissance and get a feel for what this place was like. The next day I came back and continued past my first stop.

This is where I made my first stop. It’s a long way down. The rocks are almost entirely anorthosite which is a very hard plagioclase feldspar. The hardness of this rock resisted glacial scouring better than the relatively softer rocks overlaying it resulting in a series of peaks known as the Sawtooth Mountains because of their sharp profiles.

The climb is very steep in most places but doable in ordinary hiking boots. I got to where I made my first stop the day before and took a short break for some lunch and water. Then I continued on towards Camp 13 and then beyond it to where the trail descended into a deep gorge. According to the map near the bottom of the trail in the gorge is a spur that loops around the other mountain. Well, I looked for it as I hiked along the trail but never saw it. Maybe the map is wrong? I think so. The rest of the trail followed pretty much where the map said it would. When it opened up onto an expansive marsh crossed by a rickety footbridge I figured it was time to turn back. Besides, I had homemade pizza and some cold IPA back at the national forest campsite where I was staying and felt I could really use those. And there was that sci-fi book I was working my way through, too.

So, I didn’t get to the other mountain that day. I’ll give it try next year. In any event, I had an interesting and pleasant two days time trekking up and down the hill (or is it a mountain?), saw fantastic scenery, and found some interesting insect and plant life, too.

Above are few examples of plants and insects found in a small marshy woodland vernal pool just off the trail. The clustered bur-reed (Sparganium glomeratum) is an odd bur-reed that often grows in woodland vernal pools rather than lakeshores and rivers.

In the gorge I found several caves that had formed when huge fallen boulders had crashed upon each other. Some were almost big enough to stand in.

And I found insects, too. All of these were on one big-leaf aster flower. There are two moths (Scythris? and Landryia?), a bug (Plagiognathus obscurus), and a bee (Family Halictidae).

And, finally this plant, Actaea rubra (red baneberry) but with white instead of the usual red berries. It was common along the trail.

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