94 Campsites – Aspen Knob to Penn Creek

Aspen Knob Campsite
June 3, 2005
May 20, 2019


2005: I go to sleep thinking that tomorrow I’ll make it to Crystal Creek or beyond. Little do I know that in 24 hours my grandfather will have passed and I’ll have been whisked off the SHT via the west side, currently nonexistent spur trail to Caribou Wayside.

Blesener Creek Campsite
May 15, 2018


I use this site as the halfway point of a loop I’m doing with the North Shore State Trail. After miles of mucky NSST, I’m so happy to step foot onto the Superior Hiking Trail.

East Branch Baptism River Campsite
August 12, 2016 – with Phil


It’s raining and I’m tired, but I haven’t camped with Phil for years, so we are here, laughing and remembering our hundred other camping nights together. In the morning I’ll bring him out to Sonju Lake.

North Sonju Lake Campsite
October 22, 2016 with Elliott


There isn’t a single good tent pad at North Sonju and all the terrible ones are taken. Elliott and I find the least heinous location for a tent and join the group at the fire ring. It’s freezing and I soon retreat to read a memoir by Patti Smith. Elliott likes the group at the fire ring so he stays out till all hours and is frozen completely solid when he finally does come to bed.

South Sonju Lake Campsite
June 30, 2008
October 4, 2011
July 8, 2017


2008: I swim and wash the day off of me. I pushed hard to get here. It was worth it.

North Egge Lake Campsite
April 16, 2016


Despite the date, the snow is knee-deep. I set up my tent on a bed of ice. The lake is still frozen and so am I.

South Egge Lake Campsite
September 9, 2016


I knew it was the weekend of the big races, but I wanted to be here, so I came. I set up my tent and hear runners all night. They’re not quiet, but they’re happily enjoying the trail. I just wish I wasn’t camping with about 30 kids.

Leskinen Creek Campsite
June 2, 2005

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I had no intention of camping here. I had unpacked my tent at Section 13, but I felt inspired to push myself. It turns out I can go farther than I think. I have no idea that in 3.5 years I’ll be guiding people to this campsite.

Section 13 Campsite
October 2, 2011
May 12, 2019

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2011: It’s my farewell tour of Minnesota, and I watch the sunset from the cliffs and walk back to my tent in the dark. Goodbye, Minnesota.

East Kennedy Creek Campsite
Summer 2010 with Phil
July 16, 2018


2018: I can’t remember if I camped at East or West with Phil, so I err on the side of caution and hike out after work. Seeing it in real life, I know 100% that we shared this spot. In the morning I hike out to a flaming sunrise.

West Kennedy Creek Campsite
June 1, 2005

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I should have pulled over at the last stream to get water but I didn’t, and I regret it. I throw my backpack down and race to the stream. I’ve never filtered water faster in my life.

East Palisade Creek Campsite
May 31, 2005
May 5, 2009

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2009: Atop Mount Trudee thunder rumbles. I rumble down to the campsite and breathe a sigh of relief.

West Palisade Creek Campsite
October 19, 2018


It’s my third-to-last campsite and because it’s Friday, there are several parties set up. I find a corner of solitude and shiver. In the middle of the night, I realize I’m too warm, so I unzip my sleeping bag. In the morning, I realize why: overnight it had snowed, and the snow was a blanket of warmth. It’s the first real snow of the year, and the ground is white. It’s so gorgeous and I’m so excited for winter to begin.

Round Mountain Beaver Pond Campsite
April 15, 2017


It’s thundering and a frog crawls up my tent and sits atop it for most of the night.

Bear Lake Campsite
Summer 2010 with Phil


It’s hot so we swim despite the fact that the lake smells funny.

Penn Creek Campsite
May 29, 2018
July 25, 2019
July 26, 2019


2019: My third night at this site, and the third time there’s been a world-shaking storm. I have half an inch of water under my tent.

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