When the sun shines, you just gotta get out there and enjoy it. And when the temps are far warmer than they should be in November, there is no excuse for staying inside. So although I have not been out hiking around Duluth for ages, I’ve logged four straight days of blissful rambles through our local woods. I have to credit the weather for that.
My first foray was down Congdon Creek and back with my sister, Susie. This was our backyard growing up. We’d play in the woods and follow the creek on a regular basis. I walked over the huge pipe every day going to Ordean Jr. High. (You could never do that now!) And yet, we were amazed by the beauty and extreme scenery that day as we meandered along the creek. It was flowing faster than could be expected for late fall, and the high rock canyons and waterfalls left us in awe as we crossed and recrossed the river on the new bridges.
I followed that with the trails just below Hawk Ridge, with their outstanding views of Lakeside. I still can’t quite work out which streets are which from that height, but it doesn’t matter. The lake stretched out in the distance, and the sun brilliantly illuminated the entire scene. Even closer to home, I walked the Lester-Amity ski trails, delighting in seeing them now free of trees and ready for that first snowfall that signals the start of cross-country ski season.
Those were just warm-ups compared with yesterday’s hike on the Superior Hiking Trail with friend, Beth. She took me on her favorite hike across West Duluth, which she calls the “greatest hits” for its wide array of natural scenery. Starting from Highland and Skyline Parkway, we made our way on the Superior Hiking Trail across the ridges high above the St. Louis Bay to Lincoln Park. For six miles, we walked through beautiful woods, kicked up leaves, scrambled over rocks and embraced the fall scene surrounding us. Nature had retreated to its pre-winter state, brown and brittle with dry wispy remembrances of blooms past their glory days. Beautiful in its own way.
Once up on the ridge line, there was more. Each opening of the trees brought stunning views of the city and shipping lanes below. It wasn’t hard to marvel over the beauty of the city where we live, and our good fortune in choosing it.We started late enough in the afternoon that sunset crept up on us mid-hike. The blue sky began to pale and the city glowed in the low angle of the sun.I was anxious to see the rise of the Super Moon, which is one of the reasons we chose this hike. We began searching for its debut, peering out over the lake at every opportunity. It was Beth who first spotted it, low and pink, still reflecting the colors of the sunset in the opposite direction.That part of the hike was magical. Every view of the moon was different. Framed by new scenery. Taking on more vivid colors. Peering out at us from its perch in the sky. I didn’t even care that my good camera and tripod were in the car. I preferred to see it all live, and snap the occasional haphazard picture with my pocket camera.All were great hikes. Restorative and soul enhancing. But that last bit was extra special. It’s not every day that you can hike with the Super Moon.