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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Loon Trail and Lake Run

Highland Trail

Dropping into the swamp on the Highland Trail

Loon Lake with its scenic high cliffs

Following the well marked Beargrease Trail

Heading towards Loon Lake landing to jump back on the Highland Trail

The spectacular cliffs on the landing road

In preparation for a scheduled Loon Trail and Lake Run with guests on Saturday, I took a dog team out today to make certain there were no spots in the new trail that needed attention.

An eleven foot toboggan sled was taken with a straw bale for extra weight. A five dog team pulled me and the lot. In hindsight, a heavier load would have made it easier to navigate around some tight turns but all in all, the run went well.

This run begins in the dog yard and goes around our Highland Trail Loops then cuts across to the Loon Lake landing road and down on to the lake. The total mileage of this run is 14. The GPS reading from my route today indicated it was exactly 14 miles from start to finish and it took us 1 hour and 55 minutes with a couple of short stops. This adventure with clients, should take roughly 2 1/2 hours which includes time for teaching how to harness and getting to know the dogs.

The Loon Trail and Lake Experience is the most diverse of any adventure offered at Gunflint Lodge. The wooded Highland Trails are absolutely beautiful with the fir trees weighted down with snow. The trails are windy and narrow and the dogs just can't wait to see what's around the corner! Once we drop on to the landing road then onto the lake, guests are welcome to hop back on the runners and run the team. We have a wonderful trail down the south shore of the lake that was recently used for the John Beargrease Marathon. The scent of other dog teams that have recently gone down the lake gets our dogs excited to go even faster during this portion of the run!

Loon Lake is narrow with high cliffs on the south shore. Once at the end of the lake, a little island is our turn-a-round point and we return the same way we came in and head back 4 miles down the lake to the wooded trails; six miles of wooded trails in all.

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