I first camped on the Superior Hiking Trail in 2004. Crow Valley Campsite taught me that I had absolutely no clue what I was doing. The entire trip was self-inflicted misery, yet somehow joyous. I was hooked.
My next SHT adventures were a similar mix of joy and misery. Every day I continued hiking long after I wanted to be done. (I’ve never ascertained if I truly like hiking or if I just like reading good books in interesting places!) I daydreamed about a three-month trip starting at one terminus of the SHT and proceeding to the first campsite each day, even if the next campsite was only half a mile away.
When I moved to Two Harbors in 2015 to work for the Superior Hiking Trail Association, I had camped at thirty SHT campsites. My dream of a campsite-to-campsite journey was long extinct. But that first autumn, reading reports from SHTA’s incredible campsite adopters, I realized I could picture reported problems more clearly for the campsites I had stayed at. With this realization, my old dream rumbled back to life and evolved.
In January 2016, plodding through knee-deep snow under a full moon on my way to Ferguson Campsite, I began my new goal of camping at each SHT campsite. This wouldn’t be a consecutive trip like I’d once dreamed of, but I hoped it would be all of the joy with less of the misery. That has, at least mostly, been the case.
All the memories I now carry with me I owe to so many: the original trailbuilders, the countless volunteers who have dedicated their time to keeping the trail open and enjoyable, and the campsite volunteers who return season after season to ensure that these spaces are cared for. To each volunteer, thank you for this journey.