Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Harbor Run

Since I am still training for the Fargo Marathon, and because I needed to work off that slab of beautiful, rare, mouthwatering prime rib of beef that Mom and Dad served for dinner the previous evening, Saturday's long run took me from the suburbs of Lutsen into the town of Grand Marais.

Dad offered to pick me up in town, as he wanted to check out the harbor in case there were any birds to photograph. This way, I could also do a point-to-point run without having to turn around.

When I started out, the temperature was a balmy 19 degrees (welcome to spring on the North Shore!), but it was sunny and calm. And the temperature warmed to around freezing by the time I finished. Really, this made for incredibly comfortable running.

The sights and sounds were amazing. My entire run paralleled Lake Superior, and the lake was almost still. A rare sight. Running along side of the cliffs near the roadside, you could hear icicles crashing down as the sun melted them. The creeks and rivers were flowing rapidly into the big lake, so the waterfalls were roaring.

I saw three bald eagles along the route, two of which were adults and the other a very large immature. I also saw three merlins. Dad said they just returned this week, so it was a treat to see these small, noisy falcons.

It was a most enjoyable journey with some fantastic views at the mouth of the Cascade River, Cut Face Creek, and the big downhill leading right to Grand Marais harbor. Dad met me in the parking lot next to the Coast Guard station.

Yours truly at the Grand Marais harbor following my run

Dad was smart. He showed up with Coke Zero and Gatorade...the purple colored Gatorade Tiger "Focus", to be precise...tastes exactly like focus, by the way :)...even though I had forgotten to ask for him to bring liquid refreshments. Dad was a good runner back in the day, so he knew what was going on!

And it was such a nice day that we stuck around to wander out on Artists' Point. There was some open water on the east side of the point where we found a couple of common mergansers and a small flock of common goldeneyes (their wings make a funny whistling sound when they fly!). Also, the ring-billed gulls were out in full force, taking up residence in the harbor for the season. Not a great variety of birds, as the harbor itself was frozen over, but it was enough to keep us entertained.

On the rocky shore of Lake Superior at Artists' Point in Grand Marais

Not a bad way to spend a Saturday morning. My run itself was very good. I clipped along at a steady pace, only stopping once to look at one of the merlins. It was a great workout. I remarked to Dad that I wished my marathon would have been today.

The rest of the day involved a trip over to my brother and sister-in-law's place, and a couple of short hikes into the woods, so I really didn't get to sit down until late in the day. A cold beer tasted mighty good at that point.

Until next time,

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