Intro/StatsEagle Mtn, MN (2301')-highest point in Minnesota
~7 miles RT, 600' gain
via standard route (south approach)
Participants: Laina Stensvold, Laina's friend Karen Brown, Kevin and Jenni Baker
Eagle Mtn, the highpoint of Minnesota, is located deep in the heart of the Boundary Waters Wilderness clear up in the far n.e. corner of the state just north of majestic Lake Superior. It is hard to combine other state highpoints with this one as we couldn't squeeze it in with MI & WI, so it was the last one to do in the Midwest and the last easy one. We invited Laina Stensvold, a MN resident who we met on Wheeler in NM on a snowy day in Sept last year.
We did Eagle before heading to the state highpointers convention in Wausau, WI, and it worked out well. We met Laina and her friend Karen at the trailhead which is pretty much in the middle of nowhere. We took CR-4 (aka Caribou Trail) from the town of Lutsen on Lake Superior to CR-170. The roads were in great shape. A storm from the night before kept the temps down, and it turned out to be a fairly pleasant hike despite horror stories of the nasty mosquitoes here. 100% DEET must have done the trick, because I only got a few bites. We set off at 9:24am with a temp of 69.
Our Last Easy OneKaren set a nice pace up the trail as it gently climbed to Whale Lake. There were boardwalks over the boggy areas of the trail, which avoided most of the mud. From Whale Lake, the trail skirts the west side and affords the only view of our goal.
A well marked trail junction at the n.w. side of the lake led us up a steeper section to the top. Near the summit, we had great views of the wilderness area to the west at a cool glade. We saw the cairns heading right to the marker and topped out at 10:47. It was 79 muggy degrees on the summit. The views are pretty much non-existent from the summit during the summer, so we took official summit pics and headed back to the overlook.
Eagle may be the last state highpoint for Jenni, although she may go back to try Borah when there is no snow on Chicken Out Ridge to deal with. The 4 she lacks that I have done are Borah, Rainier, Hood, and Kings, although she did 99.9% of Kings! This was Karen's first highpoint and Laina's 2nd.
After a nice snack break, we headed down. There were quite a few people out enjoying this hike, which surprised me. A few didn't appear to be having much fun. One guy was lugging a cooler up! We probably saw at least 15 people, a few of which were highpointers. We took our time on the way down, enjoying the views again at Whale Lake. We made it back to the cars at 1:05, enjoying our day with Laina and Karen.
The next day Jenni and I did 3 driveup county highpoints in Wisconsin during the convention (Taylor, Clark, and Marathon), the highlight of which was the dramatic summit of Rib Mtn, which affords a cool, airy class 3 climb up a 20' summit block. Class 3 in Wisconsin!