Hiking the Kek
The bus driver got a big surprise when he came around a corner and saw a person jumping up and down in the middle of the road this morning. He relayed his shock to me when he picked up Abby and Josh, "They scared the bejeezuz out of me!"
I knew what was going on since a past employee of mine had stopped over late yesterday afternoon to clue us in. Another Voyageur Crew member and a couple of his friends decided to thru-hike the Kekekabik Trail over the weekend. They didn’t start on the west end of the trail until Friday afternoon and planned to be at the Gunflint Trail yesterday afternoon. It was after dark when our past employee came to tell us they weren’t there and he had to head back to Duluth to be at work in the morning.
We figured we would go check the Kek Trailhead around noon to see if they had made it out yet. We didn’t have to do that since they had hiked out around 11pm last night and were ready to roll this morning when the bus came by. Instead of going for my run I went for a drive to pick them up and bring them back to Voyageur where they spent a couple of hours trying to find a ride to Duluth.
They were a bit hungry, a little sore and had blisters on their feet but were in great spirits knowing they had thru-hiked a challenging wilderness trail. Without any signs or markings along the 40 mile trail hikers sometimes have difficulties following the Kekekabik Trail. It winds through areas affected by the Blowdown of 1999 as well as spots that were burned over during wildfires. It’s a challenging trek that tests even the most in-shape hikers as one man describes at this website.
It’s been a number of years since I’ve thru-hiked the Kekekabik Trail but it’s something I want to do again. For today I’ll have to be content with my delayed run on the Gunflint Trail and look forward to the future when I can hike it again.