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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Minnesota Travel Moments

Jerry Trout on new puncheon
new puncheon (photo by JHY)

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While driving to the annual NCTA Conference in North Dakota, I stopped to see a few of the new bits of trail work that have been accomplished since my last trip to the area. Here, Jerry Trout demonstrates how sturdy the new puncheon is south of Gage Lake. They have plans for a much larger boardwalk to cross an area that is very much wetter than this one.
Jerry Trout on new puncheon
Gage Lake (photo by JHY)


Gage Lake is a small lake, but supports a beaver lodge.
Itasca Lake State Park south entrance
south entrance (photo by JHY)


Just a bit west of there the trail enters Itasca Lake State Park. The trail used to enter the park at the north entrance, but with the hope of off-road trail soon to be connected to the south entrance hikers should now enter there. They will almost immediately find a kiosk with a map of the trail through the park, westward.
NCT kiosk at Itasca Lake State Park
kiosk (photo by JHY)


The NCT follows the "Boy Scout Trail" west to DeSoto Lake, where there still may be some issues getting through when the water is high. Then it leaves the park trails and continues westward to Gardner Lake.
plaque honoring Rod McRae


Also on the kiosk is a plaque honoring Rod McRae. Rod was an early supporter of the North Country Trail. He scouted and helped build many of the first miles of trail in Minnesota, and wrote a guidebook to the trail through the Chippewa National Forest. In 2007 he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for more than 10 years of service to the trail.

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