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Thursday, May 7, 2009

About the Kekekabic Trail

Kekekabic Trail map thumbnail

I am going to use our travel days to tell you about the trails we will be hiking. Today is the Kekekabic Trail (KEK), Say KEK-kuh-kah'-bik. The map above is clickable to make it larger.

One piece of the KEK can be traced back to the 1880's, as a wagon road to the Paulson Mines, but was primarily a road for fire management, built in the 1930s. It's hard to believe that it ever was a road though... it's very primitive. It was soon abandoned for that use as airplanes took over fire spotting. In the 1960s it was converted to a hiking trail, and was popular in the 70s. However the Forest Service stopped maintaining it and it nearly disappeared until the Kekekabic Trail Club was formed in 1990. Now volunteers attempt to keep it open.

That is a real challenge. In 1999 a huge straight line wind blowdown occurred. First people said the trail would never re-open. Then they said it would take 5 years to re-open it. Two years later, the KEK was ready for hiking again, but the fire danger was intense. Also, all the ground that hadn't seen sunlight for decades was springing up with brambles and young birch. Keeping the trail clear enough for anyone to find it became a real problem.

In 2007, the Ham Lake Fire burned across several miles of the trail. We are expecting to encounter a number of difficulties on this rugged trail.

See The Blog Plan for the Arrowhead Hike
See Kekekabic Trail Club
See North Country Trail Association

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