Stream in the middle of greenery.
On today’s agenda: hiking from Biwabik to Mountain Iron. Last night, I camped at Lake Vermilion Campground in Biwabik. The manager put me in touch with Dave, a local taxi driver. Dave was driving a bunch of golfers this morning, so we arranged an afternoon shuttle from Mountain Iron back to my car in Biwabik.

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But first, a quick recap of last night. Last night was a pleasant one at camp. I had another one of my homemade freeze-dried meals (pasta with veggies) and relaxed.

Once again, I heard rain in the middle of the night, although rain was not in the forecast. Luckily, this time it was just a few sprinkles that ended soon. My tent was essentially dry in the morning.

Heading for Mountain Iron

I’d planned to sleep in a little, since I could start whenever I wished. And the start in Biwabik was just a few minutes away. But it’s light so early in the morning (5 a.m.) that I was up earlier than planned. So I started walking at 7:40 a.m.Smiley face hanging from side of a rock.

The first several miles out of town are along the highway, as they’re just finishing up this missing chunk of the Mesabi Trail. It was cool and sunny, with little traffic and a wide shoulder, so the road walk was fine.

When I picked up the Mesabi Trail again, it was a lovely walk that was mostly shaded. A wealth of bright-yellow birds-foot trefoil grew along the path – almost the entire way, it seemed. Some sections passed between rocky walls where people once chipped an opening in the rock for a transportation corridor. 

Exploring the Quad Cities

I noticed a sign along the way that welcomed me to Minnesota’s version of the Quad Cities: Eveleth, Gilbert, Virginia and View of old mine pit filled with water.Mountain Iron. The NCT passes through just Virginia and Mountain Iron. The former city features a spacious park and the tallest bridge in Minnesota, which I crossed. The views were cool.

Mountain Iron, as its name implies, has a long history of iron ore extraction. I ended the day near a park with an old steam engine and other mining equipment on display. 

Once I finished, Dave came to shuttle me back to my car in Biwabik. Then I turned around and drove to my campsite in Chisholm, which is to the north of Mountain Iron. Once again, my campsite is sans electricity, so I’m charging my devices in the laundromat, where I’m also doing laundry.


MN NCT miles today: 19 (30.6 km)
MN NCT miles to date: 520.1 (837 km)
Total NCT miles to date: 2,538.6 (4,085.5 km) 
Total NCT miles to go: 2,061.4 (3,317.5 km)

My most useful gear today (although it’s not really gear) are these Tide packets. I buy them in bulk on Amazon for hiking/traveling.


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