I chose late May to complete this FKT as the weather should be relatively mild and the bugs shouldn't be too terrible yet. As it turns out, I couldn't have picked a better day weather wise. Temps were 50F at Lake Superior and 75 F at the summit, with some breezes once out of the woods. Humidity was 17%.
I chose to complete this route via the Superior Hiking Trail. Starting on the shores of Lake Superior near Cascade River and running up the west side of the river on the SHT spur to the main trail, then following the main SHT to the spur to Sundling Creek and that trailhead on Bally Creek Rd. From there I ran Bally Creek Rd approximately 9.5 miles to the Eagle Mountain Trailhead. May 27th also happened to the be the day of Le Grand du Nord gravel cycle race so I encountered a lot of cyclists (some of whom I knew) on Bally Creek Rd as well as Erik from Embark Maple (I am a member of their ambassador team - though didn't expect to run into him today).
Between miles 6-7 there were 19 trees down across the trail which required a detour off trail or a significant stop to step over. I didn't count the trees easily hopped over. The first 5 miles of trail had been cleared by myself with a hand saw the prior weekend, and by a contracted SHT trail crew a few days before my attempt.
This variation of the route is possibly one of the longest, and most certainly the hardest, way to get from Minnesota's Lowest to Highest Point. Especially this year with the significant numbers of trees down from our record breaking snow and winter storms. Total Mileage and ascent per Garmin: 21.99/3,422 ft and per Ride with GPS: 22/3,358 ft
I met my crew person at several trailheads, refilling with water and Embark at one, and he ran out to meet me three times and joined me for the final ascent up Eagle Mountain. It is thanks to him I have the photos and videos posted here (and many more).
Nathan Hydration pack with 2 L bladder
Black Diamond Distance Carbon FLZ (left with crew for gravel road section)
Embark Maple: Salted Coffee and Salted Maple (about 1/2 pouch of each per 1200 mls water = 200 KCals) (brand ambassador)
Inov8 Trail Talon 290 shoes
RMGear trail gaiters
Squirrel's Nut Butter Anti-chafe Salve (brand ambassador - adventure team)
Farm Sweetland Tick and Bug Repellent
Medjool dates stuffed with pumpkin seed butter and generously sprinkled with pink himalayan sea salt - 2