This day on the trail, August 9, 2009, was all about mining history.
For example, at the town of Mountain Iron, this restored Oliver Iron Mining engine was on display.
Take a look at the wheels. Or the lack of wheels. It's an 0-8-0 arrangement, which seemed pretty odd to me. That means the 4 sets in the middle that you can see are all you get. Most engines have smaller leading or following wheels to provide better tracking (less likely for the engine to derail). With all of the weight on the eight driving wheels these engines had great traction. I learned that they were typically used for hauling really heavy loads slowly or for switching. Perfect for iron mining areas. Ore is heavy. This particular one was built by Baldwin Locomotive works in 1910 and used as a switcher until 1955.
On this day the trail followed a portion of the former Great Northern Railway (now BNSF), and was crossed by the route of the Mesabe Southern, a long defunct logging line.
Every town seemed to have some sort of transportation or industry display. How about a steam shovel?
The buckets are pretty big.
Then we were introduced to the tire.
The most memorable natural feature of the day was Amur Maple (Acer ginnala) growing wild. I knew it already, having seen it as an ornamental hedge at the botanical garden in Ann Arbor. It's a really pretty small tree/shrub. What I didn't know, however, is that it can be invasive. It's native to China and Japan. It particularly likes coarse soil. "Perfect" for old mining lands. In Ann Arbor, the fine clay soil keeps it in check. In Minnesota (where it was brought in the early 1900's) it's running rampant.
We moved to a new campsite, spent time playing around all these displays and hiked 14.0 miles from Chisholm to Parkside. Total to date for this trip 97.1 miles.
I mentioned earlier that a problem was developing. I'll get to that.
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