“We’ve got people calling, wanting to plan a trip for next summer already,” said Wendy Ruberg of the Superior Hiking Trail Association in Two Harbors, Minn.
No doubt, “Wild” has sparked renewed interest in hitting the trail. The memoir-turned-movie details the joys and travails of Cheryl Strayed, who walked the entire length of the rugged and remote Pacific Hiking Trail alone. But the PCT has nothing on the Superior Hiking Trail, except for a few thousand additional miles, an actress who looks beautiful even after a day of sweat-inducing climbs and sudden fame.
People planning a trip to the SHT, which stretches 296 miles along the North Shore, have a treat in store. For starters, there are lots of trees to shade your way and a shuttle service. Add to that majestic views of Lake Superior, enough lodges for a cozy bed each night, and year-round hikes hosted by the Superior Hiking Trail Association, with a guide and a sweep, a person who helps the stragglers.
“People don’t understand that there are a lot of ups and downs,” Ruberg said. “It’s a beautiful trail, but some people are not prepared at all.”
I was an unprepared hiker once. A friend and I hit a trail in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park on a sunny morning and wound up on the verge of hypothermia by late afternoon. We had begun the day ebullient — but oblivious to the weather reports. Rain fell and seeped through our water-resistant jackets. We had waterproof matches, but no rain ponchos.
Ruberg recommends people start with a day hike, check out the Association’s book “Guide to the Superior Hiking Trail,” and log onto the website, at www.shta.org, where there is general information about hiking.
Send your questions or tips to travel editor Kerri Westenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow her on twitter @kerriwestenberg.