Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Bass Lake Trail

Bass lake, Minnesota (Jun 4, 2013)

On Tuesday we (Kero and I) went for a hike. The Bass lake trail loops around four lakes (Bass lake proper, Low lake, Dry lake and Little Dry lake) off the Echo trail, just a few miles from Ely. It crosses an forested hilly area, with several scenic overlooks on the lakes. In between the Bass and the Low lake it passes on a narrow land bridge where a beaver created a pool by damming built the river connecting the lakes.

Kero barking at his echo
Near that area there is a nice sandy beach, covered with lichens in between sparse birch trees. That is the place Kero likes most: he jumps in the water of the lake and barks at the waves he makes. Then he hears the echo from his barking and starts howling back to the imaginary dog (or wolf) on the far shore. I have been in that place twice over the years, and Kero never fails to do this routine (see inset photo on the left). The trail is actually two separate loops: in between the Bass and Dry lakes it bifurcates: one option is turning right for an extra 2 miles around the Dry (and Little Dry) lake, the other is to head back to the parking lot. We chose this second option as it passes through the Dry falls, where the river from the Dry lake empties in the Bass lake. More scenic overlooks there. All in all we walked for about 6.5 miles.

The nice part of this area is that, while protected as part of the Superior National Forest, it still allows dogs on trails. This is not true for the trails manages by the National Park Service, where not even leashed dogs are allowed (they can only be walked where cars can go, e.g. Parking lots or the road side, no more than 100 ft from the car). While I understand the reasons for this policy (yes even dogs on leash are noisy and can be disruptive for the wildlife) I am pretty sure the National Parks could easily set aside short trails (just a few miles) along the main roads, in the most touristic area, where dogs can be walked on leash. I don't see why in those areas a dog on leash would be more disruptive than a busload of tourists.

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