As soon as the book “Guide to the Superior Hiking Trail,” arrived in the mailbox, I began to dream and plot.
My daughter and I first took a short walk on the footpath several years ago. “Some people walk this entire trail,” I told her. Then I added, “We could do that someday.”
That vague suggestion apparently stuck. Late this summer, she said that we should get started. We’ll tackle the 313-mile trail in sections, one day or weekend hike at a time. So not long ago, I went to the website of the Superior Hiking Trail Association and got what any serious Superior Trail hiker needs: the guidebook, which has mile-by-mile descriptions of each of the trails and directions to trailhead parking, plus six detailed maps of the trail.
I figured we’d start at the southernmost section, on a trail that cuts through Jay Cooke State Park — until I cracked the book, checked the association’s website and discovered that much of the trail and several trailhead parking lots in the Duluth area are still recovering from the 2012 flood.
I studied the book and unfurled the first map, until I conceded my own inexperience and decided to let someone more knowledgeable make the decision. I phoned the association headquarters.
I am looking for a nice day hike, I told the woman who answered, one that would encourage rather than discourage a young hiker.
She did not hesitate. “Take the Split Rock River Loop. It’s beautiful in the fall.”
The 5-mile trail starts and ends at the same parking lot, so there’s no worry about getting back to the car. It follows a tree-lined river and ends with majestic views of Lake Superior. That’s pretty encouraging to older hikers, too.
Send your questions or tips to travel editor Kerri Westenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow her on Twitter at @kerriwestenberg.