Currents is a feature about outdoors people and their current interests. Today: Jo Swanson is the trail development director of the Superior Hiking Trail Association, which is gearing up for the spring hiking season. The trail courses 300 miles from Carlton, Minn., paralleling Lake Superior, to the Canadian border. More at


I just finished Astrid Lindgren’s “War Diaries.” She felt such dismay throughout the war, yet it was during this scary time when her playful character Pippi Longstocking was born. I admire that Lindgren was able to channel her sadness into books which continue to bring joy to children (and adults!).

I am now reading “Not Without Peril: 150 Years of Misadventure on the Presidential Range of New Hampshire” by Nicholas Howe. I’ve been homesick for the eastern mountains and reading about them helps. Plus this book has maps — any book is better with maps!


I’m always following progress on the North Country Trail’s Arrowhead Reroute. This would make the Superior Hiking Trail an official part of the North Country Trail. The SHT would still be the SHT, it would simply carry an additional designation. It will take approval from Congress to make this official.

Outside of the trail world, I’m following Friends of the Edna G, a new group that is trying to save Two Harbors’ historic tugboat from sinking. Edna G is the heart of Agate Bay and I can’t imagine the North Shore without her.


Lake Superior has been putting on quite a show this winter. Watching the ice form, recede, and pile up has been a daily joy.


When I miss being on-trail, I sometimes listen to The Trail Show podcast. I appreciate their motto: “Less gear, more beer!” I’ve also been digging Katherine Parent’s album “The Wait for Green.” Its earthy vibe is helping me get through the last snow-covered months while I, too, wait for green.


I’m preparing for a very busy trail season. April and May are a lot of fun and a lot of work, both on-trail and behind the scenes. Working for a trail organization changes how one sees and experiences that trail: I get to witness awe-inspiring volunteerism and passion for the trail, but when I hike it I sometimes see my looming to-do list. I need to be reminded that every trail has maintenance challenges, whether it’s mud, brush, outdated signs, or all of the above. So, this summer I’m planning to get away and hike the 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail. I just realized that this means I’ll be taking a break from a trail above a lake to go hike a different trail above a different lake. Sounds about right.