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Ascent of Eagle Mountain on 2011-07-30

Climber: Gustav Sexauer

Others in Party:Greg and Artski
Date:Saturday, July 30, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Eagle Mountain
    Location:USA-Minnesota
    Elevation:2301 ft / 701 m

Ascent Trip Report

We camped in the Eckbeck State Forest where we met up with Greg and his Camry. Thankful for not having to do tens of miles on our motorcycles on questionable roads, we were teaming up and going in the car. I made a bet with Greg that we would see a group of other state highpointers, he thought we wouldn't. The road into the interior goes for a few miles off of 61 before turning to gravel, however, when it does go unpaved, its in pretty good shape. We took 21 to the end and eventually hit " The Grade", which is much more menacing than it sounds. The road is good, and it's a short distance to the trailhead on the left. There were six cars already there from a variety of states, so my highpointer claim was looking good already. At the sign in box I filled out our information and Greg picked up a walking stick that someone had left over from there hike. We wondered how many times it had highpointed Minnesota and the whole Great Lakes region. In case you are wondering about the rules, you can't hike in a group of more than nine people, and you can't have more than four watercraft with your group. Don't go thinking that you can highpoint with five of your best canoes. Finally we were started and used a bit of bugspray like all of the horror trip reports warn. The mosquitos were actually not impressively bad. The backwaters of the Mississippi River still take the cake for those. The trail is easy, but feels a bit longer than 3.5 miles. Trail running seemed quite dangerous due to a high amount of slippery rocks all over the trail. In a few places there are boardwalks built over no current streams and wetlands. I kept singing the lyric "Boardwalk" as we walked on them, and it wasn't until a week later that I remembered that it was from the song "Under the Boardwalk" by the Drifters. It's a must listen to in regards to this highpoint. We eventually met a man from Tennessee who was on his own and had completed his 39th or so state. He wasn't a group though, so I hadn't won yet. The next group of five we met was not so sure in their answer to if they were highpointing, so I was out of luck again. We passed Whale Lake which was beautiful and had a tiny island with a stacked rock monument on it like the one from the Vancouver Olympics. Then starts the real hike, the road switchbacks and begins uphill. Finally, we ran into two guys who were indeed state highpointers. One was on his 35th or so and the other on his 4th I believe. They were planning on getting down to Mt. Arvon and highpointing Michigan tonight! That's quite the trip, and they must have been on a short vacation. As the trail gets less steep eventually you will get to a vista somewhat facing south, but keep going, as in about three minutes you will get to a much wider vista on a sloped rock slab that had kept the trees from growing on it. You aren't at the highpoint yet though; follow the cairn markers back northeast, cross some ant hills, and finally you will find the large plaque at the top giving the history of the discovery of Eagle Mountain, and the surveying by President Grant's son. We took our obligatory pictures and headed back for a snack on the vista. We aw a few groups of people rounding that corner as we were there. I don't know when I have seen as many trees as I could out that was. A few hills and a few pristine lakes, but almost entirely trees. As we gaped, storm clouds were rolling in from the west. We took this as a cue to leave, and headed back down. We saw two illegal groups of size 11 and 15, and a few legal groups as well. Some women were hiking in flip flops, and I would not recommend that. When we were about a mile from the car the rain began. We were partially covered by the canopy, so it wasn't too bad at first, and we picked up our pace, watching out for the even more slippery rocks. While back at the trailhead, I had counted 39 people and five dogs that were up hill in the rain. Not a good place to be, although it was much worse when Artski and I were on Timm's Hill in the first stages of a lightning storm. Getting back in the car, we realized Greg had left some bait in his car for over a day, and it was one of the most horrendously smelly rides of my life. Finally we made it to Lutsen where our motorbikes were parked, and we convinced Greg to de-bait. This one came in second place for the best of my 5 (6 while I am writing about this) state highpoints just behind Harney Peak as my favorite.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:714 ft / 217 m
    Extra Gain:80 ft / 24 m
    Distance:7 mi / 11.3 km
    Trailhead:Trailhead on the Grade  1747 ft / 532 m
    Grade/Class:Class 1
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Weather:Drizzle, Pleasant, Calm, Partly Cloudy
It rained only the last mile on the way back.
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:1 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:1 Hours 30 Minutes



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