Friday, June 7, 2013

Wanless Road

Kawishiwi River, Minnesota (Jun 5, 2013)

Yesterday Kero and I went for another road trip. The idea was to drive all the way to Lake Superior (to Grand Marais), then take the Gunflint Trail north to Trails End on Sea Gull lake. The only problem with that was that I seriously underestimated the excess army time for the drive, and when I arrived at Grand Marais after following route 1 (always nice) and the costal road (route 61, boring and trafficked) I was sick of driving. Reaching the end of the Gunflint trail would have required another couple of hours at least, so I figured that by the time I was back to Grand Marais I would have been way too tired to get back along the faster, more trafficked, and more boring coastal road. 

A bald eagle on Kawishiwi River
I needed a backup plan. That came in the form of the forest roads 170 and 172 (the Wanless road). From Grand Marais one can take the Gunflint Trail for just a few miles (confirming, btw, that the Gunflint Trial seems indeed a nice place for a scenic road trip), and the aptly named Devil Track Road just after crossing the Little Devil Track river. That's where the Grand Marais airport (airstrip?) is. Then take the route 27 to the Two Island lake campsite, where you will cross route 170. We are talking gravel roads, here. Route 170 goes all the way through the forest, crossing many rivers and lakes. All other cross roads are smaller forest roads, so it is difficult to get lost (yeah, no signal here for your GPS Internet based maps). The only tricky part is near Wanless, where you leave route 170 to briefly take route 7 North (Windy lake road) turning left after just a few miles to finally turn right on route 172 (Wanless Road) that after 40 miles or so connects back to route 1. Overall the whole trip took about 7 hours, at least half of which Kero did with his head stuck out of the window, basking in the wind and the drizzling rain that accompanied us for most of the trip.

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