The Ultimate Triathlon: Hike, Bike, and Pay Off Mortgage

It finally dawned on me to start creating a blog post for every hike my son and I take as we slowly push through our project of hiking the entire 310-mile Superior Hiking Trail (SHT), which runs from the Minnesota – Wisconsin border all the way up to Canada, in chunks. Not only could it prove useful or inspiring to some of you, this will serve as a simple way to post memories for us to refer back to later in life. I wish I had thought of this from the get-go, but the second best time to embark on a good idea is right now. I promise this won’t devolve into solely a hiking blog. We’ll weave other things into the stories, as occurred with today’s momentous triathlon. You can see some past hikes under the Superior Hiking Trail Project category.

Today we hiked the short 3.5 mile section of the SHT from Kingsbury Creek to Skyline Parkway at Highland Street. Our bikes were waiting for us at the end of our one-way hike, which is so easy to do for all the stretches within the city of Duluth, thanks to over 100 miles of mountain bike trails that often run quite near to the SHT. Hike/bike is definitely the way to go in town.

The hiking portion of today’s adventure began near the Lake Superior Zoo’s parking lot, where we almost immediately encountered the most incredible dust devil I’ve ever seen. It displayed as a full funnel that stretched a full 100 yards into the air! It looked like a small tornado. An auspicious start for a stretch of trail that is unlikely to receive too many accolades. This set our observational skills on high alert, and got me totally jazzed for what else we might discover. It wasn’t even a windy day, with a light 6 mph breeze. I remarked on the unlikelihood of seeing something like this on such a calm day, and Joey had the best answer from science, “It’s cuz of that thing with the wind.” Love it. Cut! No further explanation required. Magical.

A half-mile later we came across this impressive wolf kill (an unfortunate deer)
The trail soon opens up with expansive views. The trees are small and scrubby. DO NOT FORGET SUNSCREEN. Also, those are Blue Blockers I’m wearing over my glasses like an old man. Love ’em!

The trail soon comes rather close to the freeway. It was oddly encouraging to see industry carrying on through the COVID-era.

The next mile of trail is rather unremarkable. Don’t attempt during a hot summer day!

It gets crappy before and after passing beneath the freeway, but I’m thankful this corridor exists through what must have been a challenging segment of the city to piece things together.

Push through this and life gets better soon enough.


We road the bike trail on the left back down the hill. It was fast, and took maybe 10% of the total time. It’s so easy to hike the city one-way!

Further up Keene Creek we came across thousands of round taconite pellets (processed iron ore from the Iron Range). These will work great in the slingshot!


The local drunks seem to have incredible aesthetic taste. We enjoyed the bench immensely, but the bonfire pit (perhaps 6 feet across) and all this rock work was pieced together masterfully. They even mortared a bunch of it together. Too far away to see, so you’ll have to step across the river yourself. Heat up a piece of meat right here, about a hundred yards north of the train bridge.
This tri was fueled by Clif Bar. Perhaps a sponsorship could be arranged for our hiking project? These were originally donated to the local marathon that was cancelled, so we will put them to good use on the trail.

Our bikes were waiting for us at the top of the hill, following the 3.5 mile saunter. It’s a steep descent. Very quick. Use caution! Our total time came in at just 2 hours, but we weren’t done yet!

While we enjoyed the trail, I had the bank calculate our mortgage payoff. Thanks to the handy dandy smart phone, we were afforded the opportunity of knocking off this trail segment instead of sitting around on hold.

At the bank. So exciting!
Final payment going up!

Ok, this was momentous, but not completely epic. We merely paid off our primary mortgage. I have moved a portion over to a home equity line of credit (HELOC) at a crazy low interest rate. We have trimmed our remaining mortgage debt by 75% in just two months. We’ve aimed all our available artillery at knocking this thing out. It has become quite the obsession. So much so, in fact, that I began writing a book about the experience at 2 am a couple weeks ago, in an effort to make sense of it all and get it out of my system. I wasn’t sleeping at night,  developed acid reflux while obsessing, and more. Ultimately, I decided to go with the crazy rather than fight it. These are times when one should be hoarding cash, but I’ve got a huge backstory here, and was incapable of emotionally dealing with this in other, more conventional, ways.

I’m also enjoying the heck out of writing this book, unlike past attempts that have flamed out. I’ve learned that I can only write about what currently obsesses me. Rather than waste energy on what I “should” be writing about (equivalent to pushing a boulder up a hill), I’m channeling this powerful stream of craziness within me, and it feels great! I think this’ll be a great ebook. Money appears to be a unifying theme, but this topic seems to touch just about all aspects of life. Our financial journey feels well-timed to the general zeitgeist. Stay tuned!

A swell place to pee.

6 thoughts on “The Ultimate Triathlon: Hike, Bike, and Pay Off Mortgage

  1. Enjoyed this post, Eddy. The one thing that really struck me was when you said you’ve learned that you can only write about what currently obsesses you. I think I understand exactly what that means, as there are times when certain things or topics totally obsess my thinking and I feel as though the only way to get rid of that feeling is to write about it. I think that is what you call mojo! Anxious to see the finished product.

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