More Scenes From The Willard Munger Trail (Coen Brothers Version) - The Man Who Biked To Canada (With No Complaints) - CycleBlaze

June 4, 2016

More Scenes From The Willard Munger Trail (Coen Brothers Version)

Duluth, Minnesota

A wool cap and full-fingered gloves kind of morning transformed into a rain jacket and rain pants kind of afternoon.  While that transformation took place, I was back on my bike bound for Duluth.

Most of my day was spent on the same 70-mile long trail I was on yesterday--The Willard Munger Trail.

It looks much like it did yesterday.
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Ah yes, a tunnel for some diversity.
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There was some more diversity a little later when I startled a deer.  Actually, we startled each other.  I nearly jumped off of my seat.  I swerved sharply and the deer leaped and bounded in the same direction as I was pedaling.  I tried to race her as we proceeded side-by-side, but she kicked my ass even though I only had smooth pavement to negotiate and she had to plow through dense weeds and woodlands.  Wild animals never cease to impress me.

I'm not so easily impressed by trees and plants (except for saquaros and other cacti) and, let me tell you, this trail displays an abundance of pine, oak, birch and maple trees, wild roses, various grasses, reeds, and ferns.  Those are the only things I can identify without some kind of botanical field guide.  There are at least a few thousand trees and plants I cannot name.

I had been looking forward to riding through Jay Cooke State Park.  It is considered a Minnesota gem by some unbiased Minnesota travel brochures, so how could it not be incredibly beautiful?

And it DID start out pretty well.

There was this . . .
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. . . and then this.
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Not too shabby, and also not very characteristic of the Minnesota I am familiar with.  I was excited to see more awesome scenes of the St. Louis River cascading through rocky canyons.  Alas, it was not meant to be.

"Yeah, those falls were nice, but I've seen nothing but rain and view-blocking trees for about ten miles now."
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"I'm sorry about that, G-2, but I'm confident things will get better soon."
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I was right.  After a couple more miles of nothing but trees and increasingly heavy rain . . .

. . . there was this . . .
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. . . and then this.
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When the Willard Munger Trail deposited me in the City of Duluth, in pouring rain, I began my search for a motel.

I rewarded myself with a Duluth-brewed beer while hard at work in the spartan comfort the the Motel 6 . . .
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. . . where I watched a few episodes of Season 2 of the FX series, "Fargo." (Hey! That's Sam Malone from Cheers.)
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Today's ride: 44 miles (71 km)
Total: 193 miles (311 km)

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Scott AndersonHey, I remember this trail! You’re right, just a bit on the dull side.
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9 months ago
Gregory GarceauI had forgotten that you rode the Munger Trail on the way back from your Superior Ride. I just re-read your account of the Duluth-Moose Lake day. Then I had to go ahead re-read the rest of that journal too. Whenever I think of some of the most interesting wildlife encounters I've experienced, that deer falling down on the trail right in front of us always comes to mind.
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9 months ago