How Many Licks Does It Take?

     I have no clue how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop since I tend to bite into it after the first lick.  Thanks to US Forest Service employee Donna Hart of the Grand Marais District Ranger Station we now know how many steps it takes to get from Rose Lake into Duncan Lake on the Stairway Portage. 


   Wilderness crews were sent in to repair the famous Stairway Portage earlier this month.  The stairs tend to get used quite often on day trips due to the popularity of the waterfall found there.  Visitors to this area love to explore the falls and relax in the cold, refreshing water. 

     There are a couple of ways to get to Stairway Portage; one is by canoe and the other is by foot.  The latter of the two is most definitely the more difficult and requires a fair amount of time, 6-8 hours is average.  The Caribou Rock Trail meets the Border Route Trail near Stairway Portage and offers excellent views throughout the length of the trail.  I’ve done this hike a couple of times and have enjoyed it but have always been exhausted upon completion.

     By way of the canoe is the most popular way to get to Stairway Portage.  The access is on Bearskin Lake and a quick paddle and short portage finds you in Duncan Lake.  From there it’s another quick paddle and you’re at the Stairway Portage.  The total time it takes to get there is well under two hours for most people.

     While I don’t know how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop I do know there are 119 steps on the Stairway Portage.  Come count them for yourself.