Wednesday, July 19th, 2017
I'm happy to be leaving the tent and half my gear in place today at the campsite while I go hiking. The ranger I talked to yesterday recommended hiking Eagle Mountain so off I go. The trailhead is only a couple of miles of gravel road to the north of my campsite. Halfway there I see a great big bull moose up ahead on the side of the road. He's a magnificent beast; his black rack splayed out like a medusa against the backdrop of the pine forest. He's staring at me... probably trying to determine what I am and if I represent a threat. My camera is in my backpack, I stop short and try to dig it out as quickly as I can. I'm still fumbling with the pack when the moose spooks and runs across the road to disappear into the forest. I'm bummed I couldn't bring the camera to bear in time. I move up to where he disappeared, park the bike, and poke around in the woods by the side of the road a bit; but he's gone.
I park the motorcycle at the trailhead and start hiking. The trail is pretty flat except for the end where it climbs up to what is the highest elevation in Minnesota. Conclusion: Minnesota doesn't have very tall mountains. More like hills actually.
I pass a guy who is limping along with two trekking poles. He asks if there are any more in my party, says he's moving real slow.
I eat lunch at the top. The slow guy with the trekking poles shows up; well not that slow after all. He says he has a pinched nerve in his back. Kudos for getting out and hiking, he looks like he's in pain.
On the way down I run into the father-son pair that stayed last night in the campsite across the road from me. We stop to chat for a few minutes. The kid is as black as a frijol and the father is white like Sean Spicer -- but the kid is calling him dad and I'm not going to ask any uncomfortable questions.
In the evening I go bushwacking looking for the moose. No luck finding him; just a bunch of scrapes, bug bites, and a good workout hacking through the thick pine forest to show for my efforts.
Stats for hike:
Distance hiked: 9.4 miles
Elevation gain: 841 feet
Moving time: 2:37:16