Local view: Fellow Duluthians, take a hike!Take a hike! Seriously. Duluth is a hiking Mecca. Yet how many of us are aware of this and utilize this treasure?
By: Thomas B. Wheeler, Duluth News Tribune
Take a hike! Seriously. Duluth is a hiking Mecca. Yet how many of us are aware of this and utilize this treasure?
I write this after having just completed a walk from my condo in Canal Park to Enger Tower via the old Incline Railway stairway and then returning via the Superior Hiking Trail. It’s a 1½-hour trek when done briskly.
Consider Duluth’s geography: Hills, forests and creeks are bountiful, providing unmatched scenery. I know this to be true after hiking all over the world, including in Hawaii, Alaska, South America, Europe, Africa and Japan. Duluth’s varied terrain is further enhanced by fascinating neighborhoods. How familiar are you with Goat Hill, Morgan Park, Norton Park, Smithville, Piedmont Heights, Endion, Congdon Park and elsewhere? And Duluth’s architectural heritage always prompts me to ask: What stories could these homes and buildings tell?
Hikes can be solo or social. The pace can be fast, moderate or slow. The price is always right.
The exercise, fresh air and sunshine (although the latter is not always guaranteed) are unquestionably healthy. I recently read that “motion is lotion.” With obesity a growing concern, with our increasingly wired lifestyles, and with a continuing generation gap, does not hiking, humankind’s fundamental source of mobility, provide attractive alternatives?
The oft-quoted New York Yankees catcher and baseball manager Yogi Berra once reportedly said: “You can observe a lot just by watching.”
In addition to terrain and the architecture, during a hike in Duluth, you will see others walking, children playing, birds and animals, vegetation and landscaping. And again, it’s all free.
The North Shore and Douglas County have even more pristine hiking outlets. The Superior Hiking Trail is now complete, running from Fond du Lac through Duluth to Two Harbors, Silver Bay and on up to Otter Lake, just shy of the Canadian border; it runs approximately 300 miles.
So what are my favorite Duluth hikes? They include Canal Park to Enger Tower; the Lakewalk; the Western Waterfront Trail; Congdon Park; Chester Park; Park Point; any of the Superior Hiking trail segments, particularly those in Duluth; exploring Duluth’s diverse neighborhoods; and anywhere on the Duluth hillside. What are your favorites?
In recent years I urged various local media outlets to consider a feature called “Take a Hike.” The idea was for readers and others to submit their own favorite hikes. The feature would be largely self-directed. While favorably acknowledged, nothing has come of the idea. I still think it’s worth considering.
With people coming from all over the U.S. to hike our trails and to admire our architecture and our quaint neighborhoods (yes, the streets need some work), should not we be setting an example by taking a hike ourselves?
Thomas B. Wheeler of Duluth is president of an independent, family-owned employee-benefit and financial-planning firm and is a regular contributor to the News Tribune Opinion page.