We made our hike count on Saturday, by doubling it up with one of our favorite yearly traditions, Chester Bowl Fall Fest. We always like to hit up the craft fair booths and snag some buttered corn on the cob, apple cider from a local orchard, and eat fair food like cheese curds and corn dogs.

I knew we were planning to head out to Fall Fest on Saturday, but I wanted to be sure we fit a hike into our day, too. So, I figured this would be the perfect time to revisit the trail alongside Chester Creek! I first discovered Chester Park when a friend brought me there at the very end of my freshman year of college. I was awed that such a picturesque waterfall and rugged trail existed so close to school and in the heart of the city. I was lucky to rent near Chester all the rest of the years I was in school, so I took advantage of the close proximity of hiking trails whenever I could.

We entered the trail at a trailhead where 6th Street dead ends into the park. There’s a very long and somewhat treacherous old stone stairway that descends down to the trail, which skirts either side of the ravine that frames the creek. At the bottom of the stairs, there’s a bridge, so you can choose which side of the creek you’d like to walk along. We crossed the bridge and headed up toward Chester Bowl.

One thing I love about the trail along Chester Creek is how one minute it takes you high above the creek, looking down on the rushing rapids from jagged rocks, then the next it dips down and follows right alongside the water, inviting you to dip your toes in.

It took us about a half hour to hike all the way up to Fall Fest, and when we got to the top, Chris realized that he’d left his wallet in the car, along with the cash we’d gotten just for our fair food. I had twelve dollars in cash, though, so we were able to prioritize our wants and needs. We each got an ear of buttered corn, and then we bought a bag of kettle corn.

Gru, our wooly siberian husky, came along with us on the hike and to the fair, and he was kind of a celebrity, I have to admit. Kids in Duluth know huskies when they see them, and Gru’s friendly personality attracted many friends to pet him. Astrid rode on my back in our Tula carrier, and she waved to friendly people, but most of all she waved at all the dogs she saw.

When we’d had our fill of crowds and running into people we knew (because Duluth is like that), we headed back down the trail, downhill on the way home. Astrid was getting pretty tired by this time, and halfway down the trail, she fell asleep in the carrier leaning her head against my back.

Here are more photos from the hike, apparently in reverse chronological order.

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