Pete's Stuff

The "Devil Track"

What a great name for a river! It's up on the north shore of Lake Superior, starting in the swampy headwaters of Minnesota's northeasternmost county, flowing south and east until it reaches a choke point in the coastal hills near Sawtooth Bluff and backs up as Devil Track Lake. The next four miles downstream from the lake, the river cuts a deep gorge through the Proterozoan rock and finally lets out into Lake Superior a few miles east of Grand Marais. In spring melt it becomes a completely wild river, full of twists, bends, cascades, occasional waterfalls, and very few places to climb out of the gorge that's often filled wall to wall. By late summer, however, the flow diminishes enough to expose much of the canyon floor, and the river becomes an attractive target for a little bit of "canyoneering". A few days ago, I just so happened to be in Grand Marais, and took that opportunity on a cloudless Sunday morning.


A Dose of Humility

Last week the Gnome Hunters headed out to New Hampshire to race in the Untamed New England expedition race. We fielded a four-man open team; me, Brian, Rick and Dave. Liz and Chris came out as well, but since it was an unsupported race, they could treat it as a real vacation.

Let's just say that our performance was a bit of a disappointment. And it all started with the portage wheels. (Depending on who you ask, it might have started even earlier.) I also navigated too conservatively at times, and that meant we lost time to most of the rest of the field.

That's not to say we didn't have a good time and see some beautiful sights while navigating through the wilds along the Canadian border. We didn't get to see as much of it as we hoped, but at least we did keep plugging away and finish a short course. Many of the teams didn't make it through the second night (always the black night of despair) and in the end, 12 of 41 teams dropped out or went unranked. Brian has a detailed writeup on Facebook that describes it all - the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Sunrise from the summit of Magalloway Mountain.