Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Moose Mountain

View from the top of Moose Mountain, Lake Superior in the background

After the crushing crowds of the day before at Gooseberry Falls, we decided to get away from civilization for a time if possible. That wasn't too hard as it turned out. We simply had to get off the paved paths that people could drive too and 99% of them were too lazy or disinterested to go beyond them. Housing up along the North Shore area was expensive, much more than it used to be, namely because they had the demand on a limited supply. We ended up renting a condo that was built mainly to support the nearby ski mountain during the winter and because it was up the mountain a few miles from Lake Superior, we got a bit of a discount. We also got a discount to use the ski lifts for the alpine slides, which we didn't do, and also a discount for the gondola up to the top of Moose Mountain, which we did use.

Photo through very dirty gondola glass on the way up to Moose Mountain

We actually had round trip passes but we only used the upward half of the pass because we had another motive. We wanted to get away from the masses and we also wanted to do a shakedown cruise of sorts. Back when our oldest daughter was born, we were gifted a backpack meant to haul babies up to toddlers. We actually carried our daughter about four miles down a mountain in it and then she threw the mother of all fits (at six months old) that we had to carry her up the mountain in our arms, all four miles, all uphill... a mountain. Needless to say, we opted to not do that again. Now with a nearly three year old, we were tempted to give it another try. We made sure the three year old fit and seemed happy in it at home and she was, so we brought the pack along. From some old hiking books I brought, we saw that from the top of Moose Mountain, we could hike a spur to the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT), which runs the entire length of the North Shore, and follow the SHT 3.5 miles back to another spur that ran to the base of the gondola, a quarter mile from our condo. All in all it would be a one way hike of four miles and perfect to test out how trail happy our youngest daughter would be.

Passing over the Poplar River in the gondola

At nearly three years old, our youngest daughter is already quite the walker and often times will walk with my wife and I as we walk from our house to her place of employment and then walks with me the long way back home. It is about a three mile hike and she can walk it entirely, albeit it is mostly paved except for a half mile shortcut through some meadows and woods. At the top of Moose Mountain we started her off walking but soon found out that walking on pavement and walking on a mountain path are two different levels of coordination. She made it about a 100 yards before frustration and a skinned knee meant that she got to ride in our backpack. She seemed content and rode in it much of the way down Moose Mountain, up another mountain, down that mountain and down the spur trail after it crossed the Poplar river and made its way back to the gondola.

Poplar River where we crossed it on Superior Hiking Trail
Our nine year old did excellent and even carried a small backpack with her water and lunch in it for part of the way. Our nearly three year old grew to accept riding in her backpack without much complaint except for a later hike in the week when it got really hot riding sandwiched in a pack. There were loads of wild raspberries along the trail and the only time we saw others were when we were on the spur trails on either end. Other than that, we had the entire place to ourselves and had a great time. It was the first time we had been on a "real" hike since our oldest daughter was six months old and the horrible hike up the mountain with a screaming baby incident. I am now able to see that family hikes are going to be more of a reality than a dream in our future and in fact, we decided to plan another longer hike later in the week. More on that later.


ErinFromIowa said...

Gorgeous views! Love reading about your vacations. So descriptive. :)

sage said...

Beautiful! I love Lake Superior (although I've only spent time along the Michigan side of the lake.

Ed said...

Erin - Thank you.

Sage - I've been on the other side of Superior only once and that was a long time ago. Someday I would love to spend some time driving around the Great Lakes as well as hiking along the shores.